Frankenmuth, MI is not a town generally associated with rock & roll music. Home to one of the biggest Christmas-themed stores in the country and an overall Germanic vibe, Frankenmuth is famous for its fried chicken, German polka music and Santa. Now, we can add Greta Van Fleet to that illustrious list.
The band, composed of three brothers and one of their best friends, really came together as a working unit in 2013, the three Kiszkas going through a couple of drummers before eventually settling on Danny Wagner. Bassist Sam Kiszka says that he was inspired by his father to pick up the bass and join in the family jams.
“We never thought it would go anywhere.”
“We never thought it would go anywhere––it was just a fun thing. We loved jamming.” Eventually, they got noticed by highly respected Detroit- area producer Al Sutton of Rustbelt Studios, known for his work with Kid Rock, Sponge, Pop Evil and many, many more.
Says Sam, “He’s a fantastic producer and a great mentor. He taught us how to be studio musicians and make really good recordings. We were in the studio for probably two years, until we finally got the whole concept of the album and EP’s and singles together. From there, Al is well-connected so he got us into the scene.”
Under Sutton’s wing, Greta Van Fleet attracted the attention of Aaron Frank of ABI management, which then turned the head of Jason Flom at Lava/Republic, hence the five-album record deal. Flom believes the band to be the “future of rock & roll.” It’s certainly easy to see why he’s excited about his new charges; Greta Van Fleet plays a brand of bluesy classic rock (Led Zep is a common comparison) with garage elements that defies their age. Indeed, Sam and Wagner are still attending school in Frankenmuth.
“We’d play in bars for four hours and we loved it so much,” Sam says. “Eventually, we started writing our own songs and stuff. We’ve always just done what we’ve wanted. Cover and originals. It’s just a Greta Van Fleet show.”
Greta Van Fleet’s debut EP for Lava/Republic, Black Smoke Rising, is out now.