Rock and Roll is dead. How many times has that been declared? It was seemingly on life support during the disco craze, and has had a few near-death experiences since then. Recently even Gene Simmons of KISS stated so. But as we have seen, music can be cyclical in nature. Heck we even had a “Swing Band ” resurgence in the 90’s. But often when a genre appears gone and forgotten, it really just moves underground, where it continues to simmer.
At some point that simmer reaches a boiling point and the hottest (read most interesting) segments break through to the light of day. Enter Greta Van Fleet. These young men consist of brothers Josh, Jake, and Sam Kiszka, and Danny Wagner. Formed in 2012 the members are barely out of high school. The interesting part of this band is the influences they cite. Guitarist Jake points to blues legends like John Lee Hooker, while Bassist Sam points out Motown four string stalwart James Jamerson. Look up their first single from 2017, “Highway Tune”. Close your eyes, and hit play, I’ll wait…
Yep,I know what you are thinking. Is this a lost B-side from Led Zeppelin’s first album? Nope. It’s from a bunch of guys whose parents were probably too young to have seen Zeppelin in concert! Vocalist Josh insists this is just how he found his voice naturally. But as a whole they have that Led Zeppelin vibe. The guitars have that mildly distorted Gibson sound, and solid rock drumming. Greta Van Fleet have released two EPS to date, while stating new material should be coming soon. I for one am excited to see where this group goes. The music is impressive, and not in a “look how young they are” way. They are impressive period. They represent a rare commodity these days, a genuine Blues/Rock band that formed independent of outside influences. By this I mean this isn’t a case of “so and so’s father was the Bassist for X”. They just found what they liked, and melded it into a sound. What they liked, and that melded sound just happen to be more reminiscent of 1970 than anything this century.
The band has deservedly found success, and already have major shows under their belt as a touring act. Who knows, there may be a 14 year old right now listening to Greta Van Fleet thinking “I wanna do that“. Rock and Roll isn’t dead.