A few months ago a young new rock band named Greta Van Fleet exploded across the airwaves with their debut single “Highway Tune” and hasn’t looked back since. Comprised of three are brothers and one best friend, GVF band members each possesses stellar musical chops and the vocalist has a jaw-dropping voice. These guys might just be the band to bring Rock music back into the mainstream. Saturday AXS caught up with Sam and Danny from GVF for a quick interview before their concert in Washington, DC. Their performance was absolutely one of the most amazing live music events we have ever witnessed and everyone needs to see this phenomenal band in small clubs now because next time they go on tour it will surely be in much larger venues. With mind-blowing guitar jams, killer bass grooves, one badass drummer and a lead vocalist that was born to sing it’s no wonder crowds of fans are clamoring to see them.
AXS: You guys are blowing up these past few months. Have you been selling out at easily as you did here in DC everywhere you go?
Sam Kiszka: Yeah it has been really great.
Danny Wagner: It’s been pretty cool to walk into a place and see the list of all the bands that will be playing there that month and we will be the only ones that have sold out next to our name. It is kind of a weird feeling.
S.K.: It is great that we are getting that kind of support from everyone. We are trying to take this whole thing very seriously.
AXS: How long have you been together?
S.K.: I guess about five years now.
AXS: Is it true you never listened to contemporary music until middle school?
D.W.: Even later than that really.
AXS: So what were your musical influences?
S.K.: We kind of discovered contemporary music in middle school but never really paid any attention to it till high school. We mainly grew up with Blues and Rock n Roll. R & B, Funk, Soul too.
D.W.: This guy (pointing do Sam) is pretty Jazzy too.
S.K.: Yeah I like it. I think it is the best stuff because it is the most authentic music, the most organic. It seems lately music is created almost mathematically and I don’t think that has any staying power. No shelf life. The stuff that people still listen to 60 years later is proven to be the good sh*t.
S.K.: Influence is probably a strong word, they definitely were part of the collection of bands that pushed us in the direction we are. The radio stations we grew up listening too were classic rock stations so that is the stuff that resonated. It is not like we think about it.
D.W.: Not direct influence. I think when you play music everything you have ever listened to plays a roll. It becomes part of you.
AXS: Who composed your hit single “Highway Song” or was that a group effort?
S.K.: The way we make our songs is someone will bring an idea to the table and we will keep it as much of a concept as we can without trying to write. When we all get into the writing and production of a song it turns out better. We are much stronger as a unit than individually.
AXS: What’s it like working with your twin brother in a band? Everyone get along ok?
S.K.: Well I am the youngest, the two twins are my older brothers. Jake and I get mistaken as the twins all the time, I guess it is the long hair. Josh is the other twin, he’s got short curly hair.
D.W.: I think it adds to the performance.
S.K.: Yeah, they can telepathically communicate on stage.
AXS: As brothers, tonally, vocally, are you similar?
S.K.: No! (laughter) Josh is so good.
D.W.: Probably more so when they were younger.
S.K.: Maybe if I practiced singing for six years. Maybe I would be able to sound like Josh…I don’t know though.
D.W.: Singing is not his job (more laughter)
AXS: What’s next for Greta Van Fleet?
D.W.: In September, after this run, we are heading to Europe. We will be there for about 10 days.
S.K.: We are going to hit a lot of places I have always wanted to visit. Paris, London, Hamburg, Amsterdam, Berlin-all those places.
D.W.: We are really excited about it.
AXS: What is the number one place you can’t wait to visit on your to-do list?
D.W.: I’ve always wanted to go to Paris.
S.K.: I’ve always wanted to see Paris too but I am really looking forward to going to Hamburg, I heard it is a bit party.
D.W.: I am excited to go to London because it was the first city to sell out for us.
AXS: Wow, congratulations! You are selling out over there too?
D.W.: yeah we sold out our first show so they added another one there
S.K.: It really is pretty amazing to be getting that kind of support. When we booked the Troubadour show tickets sold out in five minutes. We were blown away that so many people listen to us over there.
AXS: After playing tonight in DC you will be heading over to Baltimore for a show. Will you guys be in the area for a while?
S.K.: This is our first headlining tour. Usually on runs we have time to go do things pertinent to the area, like go hiking and check out the city. This run it hasn’t really been that way.
AXS: Danny, how did you get started playing the drums?
D.W.: Well it all started when I received my first drum kit in very early middle school. I had to call my neighbor down to help me set it up. He was a musician and I had no idea how to set up a kit. Basically I was given a free drum kit when my cousin moved away. Couldn’t pass that up! It was just sitting in my basement for a couple of years. I finally got old enough where I could participate in a little talent show program in middle school. That was when I really first started considering what I wanted to do. Playing music was my only real talent. That and playing golf.
S.K.: Golf would have been so boring!
D.W.: It was the tail end of eighth grade that I really started playing the drums for real. Then I dragged him in (pointing to Sam) because he had just started playing bass the same year.
AXS: Has it always been the bass for you?
S.K.: Yes. Basically the band started when I began to play bass. The five years I talked about us being together, that is when I started playing. When we first started we had a different drummer but after nine months we made a change. That’s when things started picking up speed. We began getting more and more attention from people. We were just doing it for fun. Well we are still doing it for fun I guess. It is a little bit more work now.
D.W.: Yeah, but it is fun work!
Greta Van Fleet will be playing The EARL in Atlanta, Ga. on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017, click here for tickets, as well as KEGL Freakers' Ball along with Marilyn Manson, Halestorm, In This Moment and Beartooth at the Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie in Grand Prairie, Texas on Oct. 15, tickets available on AXS here. A complete list of tour dates is available on the GVF website.