Why it’s okay to find your footing by copying other bands
by Iryna Byelyayeva
From the first note Josh Kiszka belts out in ‘Safari Song’ we know that Greta Van Fleet are doing the Led Zeppelin thing. Whether this passion for the majestic, bodacious concoction that is Plant-Page-Jones-Bonham will come to bite the boys from Greta Van Fleet later down the track when they want to shy away from comparisons isn’t certain—but it’s likely. But for now, all conversations about originality aside, I love what they’re doing.
Some will bemoan these boys for copying an iconic sound without actually bringing their own personality or creativity. Sure, their sound is very perfectly prog, they’re so prog I guessed exactly what they looked like live—down to the bare feet. But not everyone can be King Krule or James Blake and express their youthful anger through electronics. These guys express themselves through this genre not because they think they’re discovering something new, but because speaks to them in a way others maybe don’t.
Personally, I get it. Led Zeppelin and all the bands they inspired were my life-line when I was a teenager, and still play a huge role in this next step of my life. They helped me deal with a lot, not really by addressing things like Stevie Nicks did, but by sweeping me away with crazy guitar riffs, lyrics about The Lord of the Rings and Robert Plant’s general wailing. I love Led Zeppelin but the biggest problem with bands who have a set discography to obsess over is that at some you run out of music to discover. I recently did a form of meditation where you have to close your eyes, regulate your breathing and listen to a song you know very very well—listen intently and try to notice five new things you hadn’t noticed before. I chose to meditate to ‘Going to California’ and while it was a wonderfully calming experience (which I absolutely recommend) I didn’t notice that many new aspects of it.
Greta Van Fleet are giving me the experience of hearing this music for the first time again. And it totally counts because genre shouldn’t be confined to a decade, it’s allowed to live on and delight for as long as people feel a need to hear it. There is something so uplifting about prog rock, about the gravel in the voice and the intricacies in the instrumentals. It may all be about the same stuff, but it makes me feel inspired and like something good is going to happen.
I loved hearing Greta Van Fleet in a very pure way—they just made me smile. It was a sound I recognised, it was a voice I recognised (seriously, dude is lucky to have that talent), it was an experience and feeling I hadn’t felt in a long time.
Greta Van Fleet are a young band—meaning they are new to the scene and the guys behind the sound aren’t exactly ancient either. They have their whole musical career ahead of them and, judging by their skill and talent, it’s going to be a good one. I’m excited to see what they do next.
Iryna is a creative lady living in Melbourne, Australia. She is the editor of The Wall Mag and gets published here and there. She can be followed on twitter @irynabyel