Coachella 2018: Greta Van Fleet Is The Future Of Rock
By Scott Baumgartner.
It takes a lot for an act to stand out among the bloated Coachella lineup of 2018. And yet Detroit’s Greta Van Fleet does it effortlessly. So, what’s their secret? There are other acts on the bill that boast plenty of rock elements, including Fleet Foxes, The War On Drugs and A Perfect Circle. But it’s important to note that the best acts remind us where we’ve been — and hint at where we might go. A quality that is palpable in GVF’s soaring vocals and road-tripping guitar licks.
“It’s not something that has traveled to what is mainstream. You don’t hear rock ‘n’ roll on pop radio anymore,” vocalist Josh Kizska told us on the festival grounds after their blistering set, before adding, “This whole wave of rock ‘n’ roll that you see is the next wave of what people are listening to.”
With regular marches on Washington and a vivid sense of resistance in the American bloodstream, the boys of Greta Van Fleet hint that it might be time for hard rock to once again capture the voice of a generation. After all, at its roots, rock ‘n’ roll is a rebellious war cry.
“There hasn’t been something like for this for our generation,” added brother and the group’s guitarist Jake Kiszka. “You need some reinterpretation of what was being done. That’s a lot of the evolution of hip-hop and rap. The younger generation takes something and excel at moving it forward and that’s what we grew up on,” he added, referring to classic rock that first set them on the path to performing.
Although GVF’s members are definitely on the younger side (their bassist Sam Kiszka just turned 19), they already carry with them a 6-year history of experimenting with various songwriting techniques and know the grind of playing hole-in-the-wall venues throughout the U.S. “We paid our dues in the dives of LA,” Josh said when recounting previous pit-stops in Southern California before finding a following.
It’s this familiar-yet-potent history that imbues their rock anthems with sincerity and a momentum that is rarely seen on the Billboard Hot 100. Make no mistake, Greta Van Fleet’s members have one foot firmly planted in the rock elements that defined the household names of the past – but, for them, all this is just a starting place.
“That’s actually why I think rock has fallen out of the mainstream. Because people have been doing what’s worked in the past,” Josh lamented. “This is about doing something new.”