Is Greta Van Fleet a Led Zeppelin clone?

Jordan Boyer, Photo Editor

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A fairly new musical group called Greta Van Fleet has received some mixed publicity after their recent Saturday Night Live performance. For those who are unaware, Greta Van Fleet is a rock band that has recently hit the music scene with some controversial music.

The controversy stems from the band’s similarity to classic rock bands like Led Zeppelin and early Rush. There is no denying the similarities between Fleet’s music and these classic rock and roll bands. Greta Van Fleet front man Josh Kiszka, has a similar voice to Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant, and it is not only his voice and tone, he also can pull off the iconic scream/howl Plant is well known for. Also, Jake Kiszka, the guitarist for Greta Van Fleet, plays similar riffs to Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page.

In order to fully understand what I am saying you have to listen to Great Van Fleet’s music, and you can certainly put two and two together. I have seen two main schools of thought when it comes to Greta Van Fleet’s music. One: people think they are just Zeppelin rip-offs or clones. Two: people are glad to see the old classic rock sound come back to life in the modern day music scene that is over saturated by hip-hop. 

A notable instance of the disapproval of Fleet’s music was a review done by Jeremy D. Larson, the senior editor at Pitchfork. Larson tore apart Fleet’s music and demeanor in this review. He started off the review with this statement, “Greta Van Fleet sound like they did weed exactly once, called the cops, and tried to record a Led Zeppelin album before they arrested themselves. The poor kids from Frankenmuth, Michigan don’t even realize they’re more of an algorithmic fever dream than an actual rock band.”

Josh Kizska addressed this in Rolling Stone to a certain degree, because he claims that he did not read the Pitchfork review, but he addressed what he heard about it. “It’s unfortunate they’d be putting that energy out into the world, but it’s their prerogative, I guess,” he says. “Ultimately, I’d like to think that there’s substance to what we’re doing.” He goes onto explain the Zeppelin controversy. “Obviously we hear the similarity,” he says. “That’s one of the influences of ours. But at this point it’s like, ‘OK, we’ve acknowledged that. Let’s move on.’”

The problem with singling out Greta Van Fleet as rip-offs, who steal other musicians’ music, is the ignorance to every other musician who has stolen or drawn influence from past musicians. Sometimes it is easier to discern then others. For example, it is easy to tell that the band Nirvana has drawn a lot of influence from the band Sonic Youth; they both have that melodic punk sound that Sonic Youth is known for. However, there are many other cases of influence or in some cases theft of other people’s music. In fact, Led Zeppelin themselves has been accused of stealing music in the past.

I support what Greta Van Fleet is currently doing with their music. Yes the similarity is there, but musicians grow and refine their music over time. Every album should not sound the same from an artist that would make the music dull and redundant.

I am predicting good things to come for Greta Van Fleet once they release more music. In fact things are already going great for the band, and according to Rolling Stone, they have been nominated for four Grammys, all from their 2017 EPs Black Smoke Rising and From the Fires.

Led Zeppelin is one of my top 10 favorite classic rock bands of all time, so I welcome a new variation of the genre in the modern day music scene. Alternative music is still in many aspects rock music; it is just rock music for a different generation, and it is nowhere near as popular as rock and roll was back in the day. Greta Van Fleet is bringing back the roots of rock and roll and trying to make it big currently. If you are a rock and roll fan, or you are just curious, I suggest you check out their music. Who knows, maybe this could set a precedent for more bands like this in the near future.

Jordan Boyer can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].