‘Greta Van Fleet have not ripped off Led Zeppelin,’ says Tracii Guns
Not many modern American bands have caused such a polarising opinion of their music as Greta Van Fleet have done in recent years.
The incessant comparisons to Led Zeppelin have dominated interviews, perfections and album reviews. In a particularly harsh take on their album, a review in Pitchfork said: “The poor kids from Frankenmuth, Michigan, don’t even realise they’re more of an algorithmic fever dream than an actual rock band,” in reference to their similarities to Zeppelin. The growing debate led to Robert Plant himself joking that Josh Kiszka’s voice reminds him of “someone I know very well,” before adding: “They are Led Zeppelin I.”
Greta Van Fleet lead singer Kiszka tried to accept Plant’s comments as praise, responding by simply saying: “That’s lovely,” in regards to the compliment. “You can’t put that more Robert Plant than that,” he added. While the comparisons are there, the band themselves have admitted to Zeppelin being a huge influence them while growing up, guitarist Jake Kiszka once saying he “went through a year of really intensely studying what [Jimmy] Page.”
Despite the relentless conversation, L.A. Guns guitarist Tracii Guns has defended the Kiszka brothers by saying: “I think, first of all, the singer sounds more like Geddy Lee than Robert Plant,” in a new interview with AL.com. “It’s difficult when you go into comparing things to Led Zeppelin, because Led Zeppelin’s mastery of music and that chemistry is very special. So, you can say a lot of great things about Greta Van Fleet, but they in no shape or form rival or compare to the use of Eastern influence and folk music of Led Zeppelin.”
Tracii added: “Beyond that, they’re [Greta Van Fleet] a really cool band, there’s lots of room for growth. And let’s face it: Robert Plant and Jimmy Page upfront, maybe Axl and Slash, maybe David Lee Roth and Eddie Van Halen, that’s some pretty sacred territory when you’re trying to make comparisons. Like, ‘Hey you should come see this band Greta Van Fleet they’re like Led Zeppelin.’ And then you go and — and I get the maple drums, I get the cool shirts and the singer sings in a high falsetto — but there’s nowhere near the danger of ‘these guys are going to beat my ass after they fuck my girlfriend.’ And Led Zeppelin had that.
“And that’s the thing about rock and roll — it’s psychological; it’s about the stories; it’s about things that are attractive,” Tracii added. “The things Greta Van Fleet has going for them, they’re good-looking guys, they sound cool, they’ve got a rough, vintage-y sound. But there’s another band out there called The Darbies that is even a little bit younger than Greta Van Fleet and these guys will scare they shit out of you.
“I tend to lean more towards extreme metal and black metal and stuff like that when I’m listening to my hard rock these days because I really need that danger. Those bands have more danger, in the same way Jimi Hendrix had danger then the so-called ‘rock’ bands of today. The rock bands of today they’re very safe. It’s not … Nothing flips me out. But The Darbies really do. And Greta Van Fleet, that’s a great success story for rock and roll and that benefits everybody. But people should be careful with their comparisons.”