Rockers Greta Van Fleet do not ask permission

click to enlarge Rockers Greta Van Fleet do not ask permission
(Alysse Gafkjen/Contributor)
Greta Van Fleet performs at Tucson Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 9.

Since Greta Van Fleet formed in 2012, the Michigan rockers have sold more than 2 million albums, performed on late-night TV shows, topped the Billboard U.S. Mainstream Rock and Active Rock charts, and won the 2019 Best Rock Album Grammy.

Bassist/keyboardist Sam Kiszka said via Zoom that he never imagined this type of success while growing up in Frankenmuth, a city nicknamed Michigan’s “Little Bavaria” for its German heritage and architecture.

“I always wanted it, but I never imagined it to be something that could be real or something that was so tangible,” said Kiszka, Zooming from an all-white room with streams of ivy throughout his Nashville home. 

“Thinking back to my eighth-grade self, I think that 14-year-old Sam would be pretty mind blown right now.” 

Greta Van Fleet’s travels take the musicians — which also includes vocalist Josh Kiszka, guitarist Jake Kiszka and drummer Danny Wagner — to Tucson Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 9, in support of its sophomore album “The Battle at Garden’s Gate.” 

Greta Van Fleet puts a “very, very long time” into its stage setup for its tours, Kiszka said. They work with designers to bring their vision to life. 

“It’s something that’s bigger than life, bigger than me or anybody in the band or anybody in the audience,” Kiszka said.

“It’s a religious experience that 10,000 people at a time enjoy, screaming in an arena lit by pyro. That’s something we’ve always wanted to do. It’s been fabulous and very, very exciting. The feedback loop happens and it’s great for everyone.” 

Now that the album cycle for “The Battle at Garden’s Gate” is wrapping up, Greta Van Fleet is acknowledging its roots while staring at the future. 

“(With ‘The Battle at Garden’s Gate,’) we took everything to the max, which is always what we had wanted to do,” he said. “We knew what we wanted it to sound like and we did it with Greg Kurstin and Alex Pasco, the producer and engineer.

“We were like, ‘OK, what do we do now?’ My initial reaction was, ‘Why don’t we go backward and forward at the same time with the songwriting — just keep going in a certain stylized direction and doing things we’ve never done from a songwriting perspective. We wanted to take it almost back to the roots of the garage and create something that’s really raw; something where there are mistakes and fueled by energy rather than something that could be construed as a thought.”

And speaking of thoughts, Greta Van Fleet can handle whatever criticism that’s thrown at it. 

“There’s the four of us,” he said. “If it were Josh’s solo project or something and people are talking shit about his album, he might feel upset and he might get in his head about it. 

“But this is a band. This is all four of us. We used to laugh our asses off. We don’t ask permission. We just go for it. It’s not necessarily a fearlessness. It’s just kind of a ‘no fucks given’ kind of thing.”   

Greta Van Fleet w/special guests

WHEN: 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9

WHERE: Tucson Arena, 260 S. Church Avenue, Tucson

COST: Tickets start at $57.50

INFO: 520-791-4101, tucsonarena.com

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