“Fashion goes in cycles,” is a comment that I heard in high school right when 90’s chokers were making a reappearance. That statement isn’t shocking to many of us, as we are buying or thrifting mom jeans and stealing old clothes from the back of our parents’ closets. But is this the case for music as well?
After listening to Greta Van Fleet’s last album, Anthem of the Peaceful Army, you may be inclined to say yes. Their vocalist, Josh Kiszka’s singing is reminiscent of the shrilling, rich voices brought to life in the 1970s. Josh’s twin brother, Jake, the guitarist, brings back powerful instrumentals that are often missing from today’s top tunes. Sam Kiska, the twins’ younger brother, is on bass and keys, and drummer Danny Wagner seals the deal bringing together a literal band of brothers.
Like many of music’s most iconic figures, these guys come from humble beginnings. Hailing from Frankenmuth, Michigan, they were raised on music from their parent’s past, inspiring the style of music they perform today. This influence of the 70s goes beyond just the music but also impacts their fashion. The band members almost bare it all with vests, feathers, fringe and everything in between.
Their rebirth of rock is experiencing success with sold out concerts across the globe. Their fans from all around the world have even developed a name. They dubbed themselves the Peaceful Army, a tribute to the band’s mission to spread peace and love and yet another ode to the early 70s.
Even with all of this success, Greta Van Fleet has received a lot of hate. The band has frequently been compared to the iconic rock band, Led Zeppelin. While these comparisons are grounded in reality, the band receives a lot of criticism. For instance, the Pitchfork reviewed their latest album, Anthem of the Peaceful Army, and it was scathing with a 1.6 rating (Read the review here). Pitchfork editor and writer Jeremy Larson says the band is a group of young posers trying to leech from the remnants classic rock. Larson isn’t the only to think this, if you read the comments on their YouTube videos, it reveals the admiration of their fans, but also a deep repulsion for their alleged musical plagiarism. However, Rolling Stone magazine recalls a time almost fifty years ago when their magazine said Led Zeppelin had a “rabid fan devotion coupled with accusations of musical plagiarism (Zeppelin copped from the blues masters, now Greta are swiping second-hand).” Another similarity between Led Zeppelin and Greta Van Fleet, but this comparison validates that the band’s classic rock style may be successful and not thievery.
Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant gave a shout-out to the band says Rolling Stone. In a 2018 interview, Plant says “They are Led Zeppelin I … Beautiful little singer — I hate him!” which Rolling Stone calls the “playful verbal equivalent of a big-brother noogie.” With that in mind, calling Greta Van Fleet musical plagiarism may be a little radical especially considering they have a stamp of approval from Plant himself. It is always worth noting that this band is still young. All members are between 19-22 years old, and the band only has two full-length albums. So, it would not be absurd to say that Greta Van Fleet is stilling searching for its independent voice.
This band may be the next thing that die-hard rock fans will love to hate but give them some time. Our generation has made outstanding transformations to rap, pop, and other genres of music and it did not happen overnight. Greta Van Fleet has the potential to transform the rock genre to bring it to the masses of the 21st century.
Check out some of their tunes here: