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Greta Van Fleet’s Jake Kiszka says he uses classical music to prevent his playing from becoming derivative

“I’m always searching to break up rhythm, looking at different genres.”

Jake Kiszka on stage. He is playing guitar and his hair is swished to the side.

Image: Rich Fury / Getty

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Greta Van Fleet guitarist Jake Kiszka has said he looks to classical music to provide him with inspiration and prevent his playing from becoming derivative.

The rock outfit – which also consists of his brothers Josh and Sam alongside their longtime friend Danny Wagner – released their third studio album, Starcatcher, back in July. It has been nominated for the Best Rock Album ahead of the 2024 Grammy awards.

In the new print issue of Guitarist, Kiszka shared why he looks to the classical genre in particular when in need of fresh ideas: “I’m always searching to break up rhythm, looking at different genres. Truthfully, if I’m having an issue, being stuck in territory that I’ve been in before, I might go to classical music.

“I’ve legitimately used, like, Mussorgsky’s Night On Bald Mountain to get me out of sticky situations. Or Chopin. Or Bach. A romantic way of looking at it is that it’s kinda like sculpting. It’s like, if you’re in a situation where you’re thinking a riff has been played, there’s tons of ways to shape it into something more interesting,” he states.

GVF’s musical style certainly brings a classic feel to the modern stage. The band have often been compared to the likes of Led Zeppelin, which they have grown tired of. Back in 2023, Kiszka stated during an interview that they did not grow up listening to music within the classic rock genre.

“As for Led Zeppelin – we weren’t listening to rock music growing up; that happened in high school,” he explained. “So we’re talking about the originations of the genres that we now consider to be folk music, like Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan. We had Alan Lomax records laying around. It was roots of the Great American South and the Blue Hills – bluegrass music and banjo playing.”

View all of Greta Van Fleet’s upcoming live dates via their official website.

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