What does a day in the life of rockstar look like in 2017? Well, it is practical yet fun all at the same time. The day began with a hurried load in due to a late arrival as Josh Kiszka, Jake Kiszka, Sam Kiszka, and Danny Wagner – widely known as Greta Van Fleet – took their first steps into the venue just minutes before soundcheck began. Casual fans who are only familiar with their recent ‘Black Smoke Rising EP; might be shocked to learn band of brothers and close friend formed the band in 2012 and have actually worked on a decent amount of music before that EP was released.
The band started to break into the east coast scene late last year following some dates with The Struts but as their EP has grown in popularity it was only a matter of time before their headline tour was announced. Pennsylvania scored two dates on the solo run and like all the other dates on the tour both quickly sold out. Readers who don’t know about Greta Van Fleet and consider themselves fans of rock music need to get caught up with the times and be sure to check them out immediately. We’ll even make it easy for you, watch below before continuing on :
Up to speed? Good. Soundcheck was casual at first as Jake, Sam and Danny started things off with the usual sounds of guitar riffs, drum beats and the ever popular “check, check” in the microphones. The real magic happened once everyone came together on the tiny Chameleon Club stage, Josh Kiszka grabbed the microphone and led the band through a rowdy 3 song soundcheck that came off as effortless yet brimming to the edge with raw rock potential. It seemed like the band could have kicked around on stage longer as they had started to loosen up and joke about new material when soundcheck was cut off as the opening act for the show had to get their time in as well.
From there we hit the streets of Lancaster in search of Thai Food, drum sticks and maybe even a shop for two (after being stopped for a few photos with excited fans on the way). The vibe of the Greta Van Fleet is core to who they are as a band, obviously they are a rock band but there is something more under the surface and spending time with them shows that. The group is family of friends, from the crew to the band members, and the level of intellect they all share is worn on their sleeves.
Greta Van Fleet isn’t four kids who are making music, they are really putting in the time and thought behind every song. As we walked the streets of Lancaster Josh Kiszka led us into a dingy store all the while explaining how the band worked to form their sound and how so much of it is drawn from the vinyl era. As we settled down for a pre-show meal a level of appreciation of their cynicism for modern music became clear, something well beyond their years and a quality more artists should value. There is nothing wrong with saying you thing a particular music is bad, it is art and not all art is good to the consumer but to hear the conversation over a table full of food helped put Greta Van Fleet in context with the music scene. These four don’t want to be the next Zeppelin as so many compare them to, they want to be the first Greta Van Fleet and they are well on their way to doing so.
After dinner it was time to get serious and prepare for the show, sort of. The energy in the green room was electric with everyone having their own pre-show routines before hitting the stage. Whether it was laying on the couch, lugging around ice, drinking some whiskey, tuning the guitars or digging through a suitcase for the perfect accessory to go with the stage outfit everyone was getting hyped for the sold out show to come.
The green room of the Chameleon Club is four stories up and it overlooks the entire venue with a tiny window, periodically you would see Jake, Josh, Sam or Danny look out to the crowd and stage below as the opener played. Each time this happened a roar would happen as many fans could see up to the window as well. As an hour until stage time dwindled down to just a few minutes the band came together for the long walk down to the stage below. As they round the last set their intro music had begun to play to cheering crowd and one by one they walked on stage to show 800 people what the first Greta Van Fleet was going to be. At their core the group reminds me a lot of Halestorm in the early days as they were a musical family on the road and that is something I hope they are able to keep as they move forward in their career.
From here Greta Van Fleet can go anywhere as very few artists have sold out the Chameleon Club and those who have quickly went on to selling out venues as large as arenas. The hunger is there for music that the band is producing and the show they delivered is only going to help grow their reputation as a band. Just like soundcheck it came across effortless and full of talent – there were moments that were so iconic during the set it was incredible as you very well knew you could be watching rock history unfold right in front of you.
Greta Van Fleet returns to Pennsylvania in one month as part of the Rock Allegiance Festival – this year they are towards the bottom of the bill but there is no doubt that they will be headlining it soon enough.