“We were being shot with arrows and stabbed in the back from every angle” Greta Van Fleet on how they felt about being called ‘derivative’

The retro-rockers have faced widespread criticism for their similarity to Led Zeppelin from the start, and have opened up about how it felt to be bombarded with it early doors.

Greta Van Fleet on stage in Los Angeles, December 2022. (Image: Christopher Polk/Variety via Getty Images)

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Greta Van Fleet have opened up about the criticism the band received when starting out, not least the accusations that they were derivative and copying classic rock bands such as Led Zeppelin. However, the band feel they have since worked hard to earn the respect of music fans that once slated them.

The American rock band have been around since 2012, releasing their debut studio EP, Black Smoke Rising, in 2017. However, it was their second EP, From the Fires, that won the 2019 Grammy Award for Best Rock Album garnering them plenty of attention.

In a new interview with Classic Rock, guitarist Jake Kiszka was asked about becoming a popular target of some critics after their 2018 debut.

“Early on we were being shot with arrows and stabbed in the back from every angle,” Kiszka said in response to being reminded of a time they were referred to as ‘derivative’ and ‘vampiric’ amongst other less favourable labels.

“But we’d meet people and they’d get where we were coming from,” says lead vocalist Josh Kiszka. “They’d understand how important it is for us to be part of the lineage.”

“But we had to earn their respect,” the band’s bassist, Sam Kiszka adds. No doubt aware that ‘the undeniable misty mountain Zeppelin-isms on their first album’ were the root cause of the unfavourable labels.

“There’s a great amount of responsibility in honouring the musicianship of our heroes,” drummer Daniel Wagner adds. “Bottom line is that we stand on the shoulders of giants that came before us,” says the drummer.

Greta Van Fleet tours Europe and the UK in November and their latest record Starcatcher is out now via Lava/Republic.

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