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From their breakthrough onto the rock ’n’ roll scene, Greta Van Fleet has been garnering comparisons to the legendary Led Zeppelin. Now, there are definitely worse things to be linked to but it doesn’t help that from the moment they started to be recognizable, they were dubbed “the band that sounds like Led Zeppelin.”
Greta Van Fleet consists of three brothers and their close friend, all between the ages of 19-22. It’s safe to assume the music from their first two EPs would draw influence from their favourite musicians growing up. They’ve moulded their sound after not only rock bands from the 60s and 70s but the rhythm and blues musicians from eras before them.
The noticeably similar trait between the two bands is that lead singer Josh Kiszka’s voice sounds eerily like Robert Plant’s. They have the same husky howl that plagued music throughout the 1970s. Josh isn’t trying to sound like Plant, that’s simply just his natural singing voice. How should that be seen as “stealing someone's sound” when he never asked for it? He’s also not the only person who’s ever sounded like Plant. In an age where rock music is sparse, it’s common that some tend to relate to music from their past.
There have been other qualms about the guitarist, Jake Kiszka, expressing his interest towards Jimmy Page’s playing. Drummer Danny Wagner uses a drum kit that’s almost identical to John Bonham’s and bassist Sam Kiszka also has the ability to play the organ like John Paul Jones. Add anything you want to this minuscule list but the real comparison should be how they perform onstage every night.
Led Zeppelin were masters of improvisation. They could effortlessly take one of their songs and transform it into something completely different than the studio version. “Dazed and Confused” live is a perfect example. They turned a six-minute melodic piece of music into a near thirty-minute ethereal masterpiece.
With extended live versions of "Edge of Darkness," “Black Smoke Rising” and “Safari Song,” Greta Van Fleet have the makings of this incredible talent. These Michigan-born rockers can improvise with each other onstage with ease. They know exactly when enough is enough or when to take their sound up to another decibel. For a group that’s so young, it’s impressive they know the ins and outs of each other extremely well already.
Of course, to some this may again seem like they’re ripping off this age-old band as if that same band didn’t do some stealing of their own. Let’s not forget that Led Zeppelin replicated their sound and stole music from blues musicians they grew up listening to. What made them so entirely unique was their ability to change that music into something that could transcend time.
And it did. Everyone still loves Led Zeppelin 50 years later and they too had their start by “copying” other musicians.
Greta Van Fleet isn’t the next Led Zeppelin simply because they’re the next Greta Van Fleet. This is the beginnings of a new era of rock ’n’ roll, a generation that they could possibly hold in the palms of their hands. That sounds like a lot of pressure, but with the music that they’ve put out at their age and the new direction of their latest single, the only way to go is up. It’s as if you can hear them finding their own sound with small hints of their influences spread throughout.
Greta Van Fleet is not “copying” Led Zeppelin; they never were “copying” Led Zeppelin. They were growing into their own sound in the only way they know how — with influence. Instead, it’s time to start giving this young band the credit they deserve and accepting them as talented musicians in their own right.