In this article we will explore how blues music has influenced rising rock group Greta Van Fleet.
Greta Van Fleet consists of the three brothers, Josh Kiszka – vocals, Jake Kiszka – guitar, Sam Kiszka – bass/keyboards, and Danny Wagner – drums. They’re from a small rural town in Michigan which limited their exposure to music. Growing up, the Kiska brothers’ main influence was their parents’ vinyl record collection which consisted of blues and folk music. The fact that their dad is also a musician – a blues harmonica player and vocalist, paved a natural pathway for the brothers to become musicians themselves.
The Kiska brothers listened to artists like Taj Mahal, Buddy Guy, Elmore James, Willie Dixon, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, and “all the kings” – (B.B. King, Freddy King, and Albert King).
Interestingly, by following the same blues path as the British blues rock groups had before them, they had already arrived at a 70’s blues rock sound before even discovering groups like Led Zeppelin, Cream, and the Rolling Stones in high school.
Jake lists his blues guitar influences as John Lee Hooker, Elmore James, Son House, and Lead Belly, along with blues based rock artists Eric Clapton (Cream) and Keith Richards (The Rolling Stones), Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin), Pete Townshend (The Who), Jimi Hendrix, and Chuck Berry.
Newer blues based rock such as the Black Keys “Magic Potion” album has also been an influence for the group.
“Evil” – Greta Van Fleet Reinterprets Howlin’ Wolf
Here is an example of the classic Howlin’ Wolf blues song “Evil”, reinvented by Greta Van Fleet, followed by the original version for comparison. Howling Wolf (aka Chester Burnett), was a Chicago blues musician who recorded for Chess Records.
Greta Van Fleet – “Evil”
Howlin’ Wolf – “Evil”
In an era of contrived and overproduced electronic music, Greta Van Fleet is a breath of fresh air. The group’s goal is respect for the roots music of the past, but also reinventing it and reinterpreting it for a new generation. They feel that guitar rock is more truthful and emotional than much of today’s music.
We hope you enjoyed exploring Greta Van Fleet’s blues influences, and encourage you to check out the other blues influence articles on our site.
- Wikipedia – Greta Van Fleet https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greta_Van_Fleet
- Q1043 – Greta Van Fleet Talk Classic Rock Influences, The Woman Behind The Band Name, More – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpG8kgspBGQ&t=228s
- 102.1 The Edge – Greta Van Fleet’s Jake Kiszka On Their Childhood Upbringing And The Renaissance Of Guitar Rock – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Ap5SF41E_k
- Bullet Music – Greta Van Fleet Shed Light On Their Surprise Success And Life On The Road – https://web.archive.org/web/20210202060525/http://www.bulletmusic.net/features-1/2017/greta-van-fleet-interview
- Rolling Stone – Greta Van Fleet’s Misty Mountain Revival – https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/greta-van-fleets-misty-mountain-revival-117108/
- Go Venue Magazine – Interview: Jake Kiszka And Danny Wagner Of Greta Van Fleet – https://www.govenuemagazine.com/interview-jake-kiszka-and-danny-wagner-of-greta-van-fleet/