Greta Van Fleet’s Jake Kiszka Addresses Band’s Public Image and What They’re Doing for Rock ’n’ Roll Music Today

Jake Kiszka, guitarist of Greta Van Fleet, discussed his band’s latest album, “Starcatcher,” and reflected on how people are reacting to their music.

Ever since their earliest release, 2017 single “Highway Tune,” Greta Van Fleet faced some criticisms for allegedly sounding too much like Led Zeppelin. This sentiment only grew over the years and it’s become somewhat of a running joke among rock music listeners.

But as Jake told Total Guitar in a recently published interview, there seems to be a shift in the public perception of the band’s work.

Greta Van Fleet - Meeting The Master (Visualizer)

“I think one major thing has culturally shifted in the journalistic approach to what we’re doing,” said Kiszka when asked about the critic and fan response to the “Starcatcher” album. “One major factor of this being that we’ve stood our ground. We were going to do what we were going to do regardless.”

Further elaborating on what this is, Jake responded:

“It’s not like we’re going to deviate from our approach, based on a few mere words that are brittle and fickle.”

Furthermore, the guitarist adds that their work is important for the current generation and rock ‘n’ roll music in general.

“I think people have realized that we’re sticking around, and this is who we are,” he added, “so they now need to take a second crack at exploring the depth of what us guys are actually doing for our generation and for rock ‘n’ roll music.”

Greta Van Fleet - The Archer (Visualizer)

When asked to elaborate more on this, Kiszka replied:

“We are creating something that is authentic to us. Artistically, this is who we are, and this is what we sound like. We’re not hiding anything from anyone.”

Greta Van Fleet’s “Starcatcher” came out on July 21, 2023. Bearing a total of ten songs and clocking in just under 43 minutes, had its reviews all across the board — some liked it, some didn’t. Whatever may be the case, Jake is sure that the band will continue doing what they’re doing.  

When asked what is “the most powerful element” of this album, Jake replied:

“I believe that there is maybe one more level of chemistry to what we’re doing than what most groups are dealing with. One thing is the fact that you’ve all grown up together, so there’s a collective language, if you will – a form of unspoken word – and that’s a nuance of the live performance but also of the creative element in terms of writing music.”

“We grew up together but also we’re bound by blood, so there’s a bit of chemistry there that I don’t necessarily think other groups might have. I don’t really know how to explain it. All I know is that form of communication. If it wasn’t there, it’d be strange…”

As Jake also revealed in another interview from a few months ago, the “Starcatcher” album showcases their old-school blues roots.

60th Anniversary ’61 Les Paul SG with Jake Kiszka of Greta Van Fleet

“Foundationally, many of our influences go back to the blues,” Jake admitted. “I needed to get back to the basics of players like Lightnin’ Hopkins, Elmore James, Robert Johnson, Lead Belly, Muddy Waters, and Albert King.”

“So I think ‘Starcatcher’ is very foundational in ways that maybe our previous records weren’t. I think we’ve gone in directions I’d call ‘cinematic,’ and I think the mindset this time was, ‘Let’s dial it back, get out of the city, go back into the country, and put some of those types of songs together.'”

“The result is what I’d say is a pretty heavy record,” Kiszka said in conclusion.

Rockin' Out with @GretaVanFleet at Carter Vintage Guitars

“If you listen, there are tons of primitive aspects that are undeniably human, powerful, and visceral,” Jake replied when the interviewer noticed some of these “primal nature” elements.

“I think we went in wanting to elicit those types of sounds. And, again, that’s us harkening back to our blues influences. It’s a genuine evolution of all the sounds that brought us here.”

“Kind of like those that came before us, this is us staking our claim to our contribution to our generation. It’s a love letter to the echoes of the power of rock music, which I think the world always needs more of,” he added with a laugh.

My First Gibson: Jake Kiszka of Greta Van Fleet

Photo: Stefan Brending (2018 RiP – Greta Van Fleet – by 2eight – 3SC7091)

Author

  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.