Guitar Player recently caught up with Jake Kiszka following the release of Greta Van Fleet’s latest album ‘Starcatcher’ in July. With many critics drawing parallels between Van Fleet and Led Zeppelin’s music, the guitarist cleared the air about his band’s influences by explaining:
“It’s pretty broad. The complexity of musical influence and the depth of that is extreme within the group. But it’s really everything – there’s not a lot of music that we dislike. We grew up with roots music. As for Led Zeppelin – we weren’t listening to rock music growing up; that happened in high school.”
Detailing the genres that affected their music, he said:
“So we’re talking about the originations of the genres that we now consider to be folk music, like Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan. We had Alan Lomax records laying around. It was roots of the Great American South and the Blue Hills – bluegrass music and banjo playing. And it goes into blues music and Native American music. People don’t know that we grew up with some Native American music, which was informed by blues.”
Kiszka went on to add more names to the list:
“So you’ve got Robert Johnson and Charley Patton, Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters, Albert King, John Lee Hooker, and Son House – all of these collective blues influences. We saw our way into all kinds of stuff, even classical music like Frederic Chopin and Mussorgsky, Bach and Beethoven. We listened to Peruvian music growing up.”
While the guitarist did not attribute their sound directly to Led Zeppelin, some of their tracks, like ‘Broken Bells’ from ‘The Battle at the Garden’s Gate,’ carried a similar pattern to Led Zepplin songs.
When a Guitar World interviewer pointed that out by saying ‘it was very Jimmy Page’ in a 2021 chat, Kiszka revealed:
“Definitely. There are so many Zeppelin songs that start simply with an acoustic and then work into the heavier electrified sections. It’s folk, and then it’s rock. The whole idea of ‘Broken Bells,’ which was written two and a half three years ago, started with just a phrase on the acoustic guitar. We put some vocals on it, and then when we came back to it and built it up.”
He said the band members realized the song needed a ‘crescendo’ after the build-up and explained:
“So we created this little turnaround with the 12-string, which I actually played on a double-neck acoustic Espana – really interesting guitar. From there, it goes back to the electric. The crescendo comes with the solo and then the outro. It needed the big release.”
Check out Greta Van Fleet’s newest album below.
- Jake Kiszka Doesn’t Consider Led Zeppelin Greta Van Fleet’s Main Influence
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