Over the last few years, there’s been no shortage of voices proclaiming the death of rock n’roll. For a brief moment in time, it appears that rappers and DJs might just be taking over the world. Luckily, some bands have stepped it up. Over the past year, there are a few bands that have caught the heart and soul of music fans from coast-to-coast and around the world. From across the pond, there’s Royal Blood. From this side of the pond, there’s Greta Van Fleet. This band is on an astronomical meteoric rise that we haven’t seen in some time. These two bands lead the way supporting the argument that Rock ‘n’ Roll is alive and well, and living in Michigan! GVF’s uber-hit, “Highway Tune”, is making the rounds on ALT Radio, and mainstream America is taking notice. It’s the lead single from their debut EP, Black Smoke Rising.
They’ve garnered some serious hype for a relatively young band, having garnered critical comparisons to Led Zeppelin. To be fair, they also display a little influence of 1960’s original soul men, Sam & Dave. Despite the comparisons, this band relies on its own distinct talent, and they have original songs that captivate their fans. Despite the comparisons, the band has uniquely positioned themselves to sound like everyone you’ve never heard before. This band simply stands out; out west, best way to get their sense of individuality is consider them like that Punk Rocker with a Mohawk and green hair that plays guitar in your local Mariachi band!
GVF hails from Frankenmuth, Michigan. Frankenmuth; and yes, that’s a real city in Michigan. It has a population of less than 5,000, and GVF will be their biggest musical export in years! They may not be a MoTown sound, but musically speaking, they’re definitely a breath of fresh air. The guys are down to earth, and humble about their success and newfound celebrity. The guys recognize they’re not the center of the music universe. Then again, ask their fans, and they’ll tell you GVF just might be part of something a little bigger. Most bands would kill to be thought of so highly by their fans, and those just getting to know them.
Everyone on the planet is starting to take notice of GVF. So-much-so, they were just nominated for a Loudwire Music Award as Best New Band. The quartet features brothers Josh Kiszka (lead vocals), who sonically has a vocal kinship with Zeppelin’s, Robert Plant, and The Struts, Luke Spiller, in performance and style. Their electric sound comes from Jake Kiszka (lead guitar), Sam Kiszka (bass) and Danny Wagner (drums). Fans sing along to their hits “Flower Power”, “Safari Song”, a wickedly cool Howlin’ Wolf cover, “Evil Is Going On”, and a cool take on an Elvis cover called “That’s Alright (Mama)”. As for “Highway Tune”, this song has exploded. It hit No. 1 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Songs airplay chart in September. They also have some ridiculous online numbers; they already have nearly 3.5 million views on YouTube. This song is so damn cool, it’s even been featured in Showtime’s Series, Shameless! This is how rocket-like their journey has been. Other bands that have hit the meteor shower in the same time line are bands like: Green Day, Foo Fighters, Metallica, Papa Roach, and Seether. Needless to say, the guys are in really good company. The only other band that is on the level of coolness in today’s quasi-ALT music world is Run the Jewels. Put those two bands on any lineup, and concertgoers from everywhere will show up!
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The bottom line is that GVF is a special band, there’s just no way around that opinion. They’re a fresh injection of life in this mundane, social-media-driven industry where only a select few can be considered cool. They’re proving if you’re good enough, and do music for the right reasons, the masses will notice. As a result of the success of their first single, GFV is working on material and they’re selecting songs they are looking to put on their first full-length album. It’s not official, but the targeted release date may be sometime in 2018. So fans have that to look forward to.
It doesn’t matter where you call home, be it Detroit, New York, Miami, L.A. or London, the music world is excited about GVF. With all the excitement, we need to keep in mind and put it all in perspective and context that they’re still young Dudes. It’s tough for anyone to hit the level of success they’re in the midst of, while trying to balance any kind of semblance of a personal life, which includes family, friends and College. The guys know they had to make a decision to be on top of their stuff, or let it suck you under and drown you. Luckily, they’ve learned quickly how to swim and navigate the murky waters of rock stardom. Again, the guys are relatively young Dudes, but if their sound has to be quantified by putting an age on it, let’s just say they’re dead in doggie years. That makes them badass beyond their years. Regardless of their recent chart milestone, the band is thankful they are getting the attention they are getting. Truth-be-told, it’s a weird time we live in. Thankfully, we have bands like GVF out there.
Like most great bands, the best way to capture their essence is to see them live. The truth is, the best music you’ll ever hear can’t be seen or touched, it has to be felt in your heart. GVF’s talent is undeniable, and despite their age, old timers are diggin’ their sound, and for the kids, it’s rock ‘n’ roll for a new generation.
Greta Van Fleet play the Troubadour in Hollywood, tonight, October 19th, and the Moroccan Lounge on the 20th. They circle back on October 29th and 30th to play the Troubadour.