It’s been a long time since I rock and rolled.
But now, with the arrival of Michigan rock and rollers Greta Van Fleet – brothers Sam, Josh, and Jake Kiszka, along with longtime friend Danny Wagner – I have the speakers turned up to eleven.
This pack of youngsters – nobody in the band is older than 21 and two of the members can’t buy a beer at their own shows!! – flat out rock. Playing with a ferocious swagger, Greta Van Fleet possesses a rock and roll soul decades older than their collective youth.
Named for a legendary hometown musician, Greta Van Fleet released From The Fires earlier this month. The double EP is an even split between new songs and a collection of songs the band put out earlier this year. With this new double EP and its wailing vocals, crunching rhythms, and and soaring guitar riffs, the band stakes an undeniable claim as the standard bearer for contemporary rock bands.
Play this one often, and play it loud.
Sam Kiszka recently took some questions from me on plans for the band’s next record, rock bands with brothers, and which of their tunes the band’s namesake really digs.
BRO – You released your second EP this month. Fans are clamoring for a long player. When will you give the people what they want?
SK – We’re expecting to release the full length album sometime in the first half of next year. There will be a certain amount of continuity, but a few different dimensions of Greta Van Fleet. It’s been a long time in the making, being that we’re going to have such a wide range of songs. Some are from five years ago and some will be from that month. We’ll be working on the album as soon as the year turns over. A lot of the songs have already been written. We have some demos and incomplete songs, and it shouldn’t take too long to complete. We’re excited for the release.
BRO – You just wrapped up some songwriting time prior to the holidays. How do you and the band go about putting a song together?
SK – There really is no given way with how putting together a song all starts. It can be sparked by a song progression or a melody, it can come from a riff, but there’s not real formula to it, which gives us more artistic freedom. That’s why it works. Inspiration can really come from anything. We try not to get too boxed in to one writing technique. Otherwise, it would all sound the same.
BRO – You have two brothers in the band. What’s your favorite rock band featuring brothers?
SK – I would say my favorite rock band featuring brothers is The Kinks. They’ve always maintained a certain element of surprise. They’re continuously fresh with their art and have always had cutting edge music. With the British Invasion, they were one of the early inventors of rock & roll. “You Really Got Me” was kind of a big wave of rock music. It was heavier than anyone had heard at that point, but then later in the 70s they were able to make music that was completely different with an American folk kind of feel to it. Having that variety is very impressive.
BRO – We have “Highway Tune” on this month’s Trail Mix. What’s the story behind the song?
SK – The story is interesting because this was the very first song we wrote. Which, I guess, is a good reason it was the single. It was the first thing out of the gate. It’s the epitome of a rock tune. It’s fast, hard hitting, and to the point. The tune started with Jake playing a riff. The rhythm section was quick, and then Josh came right out and wrote how it is today. I was very naturally and organically composed.
BRO – Gretna Van Fleet’s favorite Greta Van Fleet song?
SK – Ha! I would say her favorite track would be “Highway Tune” because she loves good ole fashion rock.
Goodness gracious, folks. This band is white hot. Need proof? Check their tour schedule. Every show from now through the end of December, which includes gigs from New York to Missouri and all points in between, is sold out. Want to catch them live? Well, get to the venues early and pray for a miracle or catch a plane and cross the Atlantic to the Netherlands, where Greta Van Fleet kicks off a run of European dates.
For more information on Greta Van Fleet, how you can grab a copy of From The Fires, or when the band heads to a (sold out!!) stage near you, be sure to check out their website.
Be sure to take a listen to “Highway Tune,” along with brand new tracks from Young Mister, Sweetwater String Band, Matt Patershuk, and many more on this month’s Trail Mix.