The Real Led Zeppelin

Stephanie Gratzel, Staff Writer

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Recently the world of rock music has had a bit of a shakeup. A band called Greta van Fleet is starting to take the world by storm. At first this band just appears to be another dime a dozen band, but that would be the truest form of judging a book by its cover. When you sit down and listen to them you are immediately hit with nostalgia. A very late 60s and 70s nostalgia. Directly after nostalgia comes the realization, this band is Led Zeppelin. They play similar songs and the vocalist sounds exactly like Robert Plant. Other bands have brought classic genres and styles into the modern day such as. Tame Impala brought a psychedelic rock into modern day. The difference is Greta van Fleet sounds exactly like Led Zeppelin. This is the cause of the shakeup. Some people in the community are afraid of what this could mean for the future. Who is this band? Is every classic band going to be copied and forgotten about? Why isn’t everyone up in arms over this band? Greta van Fleet might possibly be a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Greta van Fleet is a relatively new band. The band was formed in 2012 and hails from Frankenmuth, Michigan. The band consists of 4 friends, Josh, Jake, and Sam Kiszka, and Danny Wagner. Greta van Fleet released their first EP, which was recorded live, in 2014. Now fast forward to 2017. After having their song “Highway Tune” appear on an episode of Shameless the previous year, the band blew up. There was a sudden and desperate demand for their music. In April of 2017 they really kicked off. Shortly after the release of  their first studio EP Black Smoke Rising they achieved real recognition. Since April they have released a double EP, From the Fires, and been on tour with the Struts, a relatively well known modern band. This, in and of itself, is not particularly amazing, however, the oldest member of the band is just 21. With talent like that they only have one direction to go, up.

Once Black Smoke Rising was released people were smitten with Greta van Fleet’s Zeppelin-esque sound. It charted in the Top 10 Hard Rock Albums(Billboard) and 30th on the Top Rock Albums(Billboard). Collin Stanley, a junior, says, “Greta van Fleet is continuing the legacy of the Zeppelin sound to the highest degree.”  Now this is obviously fairly high praise, but it does present a thought. Is Greta van Fleet carrying on the legacy of one of the greatest rock bands of all time or are they trying to become them? If so that would be one of, if not the most disrespectful gesture in rock history. No rock fan anywhere on the globe would accept this. This is “once in a generation” talent, it would be a shame for it to go to waste just because they got cocky. In the most extreme and hypothetical case, usurping Led Zeppelin’s place in history could have been their goal from the start. In reality they can market their brand to almost any rock fan because of their uncanny familiar sound. They can market to both young fans and their fans’ parents. It is a sad but possible reality that Greta van Fleet only see their band as a tool for fame and fortune. Of course the most probable theory is that they are a fledgling band that, in a search to find themselves, has unintentionally adopted too many traits of their influence. Connor Haynes, a WVHS student said it best, “It’s great to have an influence and want to be like them, but if you try to become them you’re just a poser.” 

Rock fans are not just worried  about the fate of Greta van Fleet and Led Zeppelin, but the fate of classic rock as a whole. They are afraid this band could set a precedent. If there are people brave enough to take on Led Zeppelin then maybe nothing is sacred. With all of this being said Led Zeppelin is no stranger to plagiarism accusations either. However, the public’s opinion of Led Zeppelin has not changed so, Greta Van Fleet could be treading on very thin ice with the rock community.

Greta van Fleet might be the one of the scariest developments in rock history. They have challenged everything. Uncertainty has been sewn into the rock community. In the middle of 2018 Greta van Fleet plans to release their third EP. That EP could be the key to everything. Will they try to step back and change their style slightly? Or, will we have more of the same? Either way this EP sets a precedent. It will decide when honorable imitation becomes a lack of artistic integrity. Only time will tell the true nature of Greta van Fleet.

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