In Through The Out Door… can swing both ways; especially in music. The most influential band in rock and roll, Led Zeppelin has inspired countless copycats during the past decades – some of whom have taken their Zep worship to brazen (borderline plagiarism) extremes. Call it karmic payback or call it the natural evolution of rock & roll. As long as there are new generations of listeners discovering Led Zeppelin for the first time there will be new bands striving to conjure up some “Zoso” style rock and roll! Many rock bands have drunk copious amounts of the “kool-aid” from the Zeppelin well. Some of them incorporated the lessons learned from the masters into their own style. There are some who could pass for actual Led Zep recordings and most actually sound more like Zeppelin than any of Page or Plant’s post-Zep projects. While many bands have successfully aped Zep’s priapic blues-stomp, at the end of the day it’s mere “burlesque” compared to the original. So if Zeppelin did rip off the beginning riff of “Stairway to Heaven” from Randy California (“Taurus”-Spirit), then it would only be right for Jimmy Page to make lots of money by suing a few of these charlatans.
In 1987 Polygram Records released the first album from the German band, Kingdom Come. The record went gold its first day of release and from the start it was a Goliath; garnering massive airplay and requests at rock radio for weeks… The cry from listeners was, “More Zep You Fuckers”! Nonetheless, as the hype evaporated Kingdom Come soon became a mockery. Even Jimmy Page had words to say about them…
Kingdom Come and Jimmy Page
“Obviously it can get to the point where it gets past being a compliment and it can be rather annoying, when you’ve got things like Kingdom Come, actually ripping riffs right off, that’s a different thing all together.”.. Jimmy Page
Earlier this year a very young quartet (just about high school age) came out of rural Frankenmuth, Michigan… released an astonishing brilliant E.P titled, “Black Smoke Rising”… Their name is Greta Van Fleet.. The name was serendipitously derived from a simple conversation with a relative about chopping wood for a woman named Gretna but dropped the “n” (I guess it’s sort of a Lynyrd Skynyrd/Jethro Tull name thing). GVF is comprised of the three brothers, Kiszka… Sam on bass/keyboards…older twins Josh/vocals … Jake/guitars and finally Danny Wagner/ drums…..They played and played and played until they got it right. Passion, mystery and expertise is their lexicon for success. The press hasn’t connected the dots accurately. Mere Zeppelin comparisons gets old quick!
GVF “cut their teeth” listening to the blues based rock and roll masters… Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton and Alvin Lee who made up the “2nd British Invasion”. GVF’s music is not radically different from that epoch. Its most like a Déjà vu from the gilded age of rock and roll when the bluesman of the Chess/Sun era seemed all but forgotten in American music.
Greta Van Fleet
In a previous interview guitarist, Jake Kiszka talked about how his musical muses influenced him, “We liked to see how the English bands had reinterpreted the blues, and we wanted to interpret it again – Y’know, wouldn’t it be interesting if an American band came right back and reinterpreted the reinterpretation that the English did?” the guitarist explains. “I thought there was something there that needed to be created.”
The song, “Highway Tune” since its release has made rock and roll lovers quiver. It currently is receiving massive rock radio airplay and their first American tour sold out in minutes. Millennials are rejoicing that there’s finally a young rock and roll band their parents aren’t familiar with. They can call it their own!
GVF’s sonic assault extends well beyond a fret board and composition. It happened in the studio. The band went to Detroit and through a association with Kid Rock they were offered the production services of Marlon Young and Al Sutton of Rust Belt Studios. The production duo applied old engineer’s axioms.. tube amps, tape recordings.All this distanced itself from the more common DIY styles that can allow anyone to record themselves. In a previous interview Sutton recapped his early thoughts on GVF..
“There’s a young band called Greta Van Fleet from Frankenmuth, that place up past Flint where all the chickens come from. They’re these little kids, like 16, 18, in that range. They have this big Zeppelin influence and are really into it. We’ve been working on an EP. It’s coming out really great — they’re super excited. They’re not in here like ‘We gotta make this record so we can make a deal.’ I’m not 100 percent sure what their end game is, but it’s obvious that the first and foremost thing is not ‘we gotta be famous.’ It’s refreshing!”
Marlon Young and Al Sutton
Greta Van Fleet believes in rock and roll.. in its mythology.. its romance.. its subversion.. its individualism and its ability to save. These are the words of devotion; where the winds rise and falls. The torch of rock and roll has been toiled by believers who think rock and roll is dead! WRONG! We welcome Greta Van Fleet..
A big thanks goes out to Ms. Taylor Vaughn and Ms. Heidi Robinson-Fitzgerald..
Here’s GVF’s website and tour plans…(Oh.. their American tour already sold out)