Greta Van Fleet Talks Bob Dylan, ‘Highway Tune’ + More – Interview

Story and photo by Anne Erickson

Greta Van Fleet is on top of the rock world right now. The Frankenmuth, Michigan, guys blast out a sound that can only be described as a modern take on the best of classic rock. They also recently topped the mainstream rock radio charts with their explosive track, “Highway Tune.” Greta Van Fleet bass player Sam Kiszka caught up with Anne Erickson at Louder than Life festival in Louisville, Kentucky, to talk about his love for Bob Dylan, bass playing and, yes, Bronner’s Christmas Store.

Anne Erickson: You’ve having an incredible year. Your song “Highway Tune” is topping the rock radio charts, and you just released a new, double-EP. How does it feel to be No. 1?

Sam Kiszka: Honestly, I’m not sure. It’s been moving really, really fast, and with the support we’ve been getting, it’s crazy, but we’re really honored that people are finding reliability in our music, and we’re glad everyone is enjoying it.

You guys have a very cool, classic rock vibe. Who were some of your favorite artists growing up? Are any of them surprising?

I’m not sure a lot of people would expect it, but for me, at a very young age I found a lot of emotion in Bob Dylan’s music. Jake and I had the essential Bob Dylan CDs, and we’d sit there in the basement and listen all the way through, days on end. It’s timeless music that makes you feel something. It has a lot of meaning and emotion, and he has a fantastic way of writing something about humanity. When I was 11, I found something powerful about that, and I wanted to make other people feel the way Bob Dylan’s music made me feel.

You’re a bass player, and I’m a bass player, as well! So, I have to ask, who is your favorite bass player of all time?

James Jamerson. The Motown stuff. That’s where I really learned how to play, listening to Motown. When I first started picking up the bass a little bit, my mom kept saying, “You look like a bass player,” and I was like, “What does that mean?” (Laughs) But it was the long, lanky thing. Definitely James Jamerson- his movement is very swift, and there’s something very sexy and concise about it.

You guys are from Frankinmouth, so I have to ask, how many times have you been to Bronner’s Christmas Store?

(Laughs) Bronner’s Christmas Store! I’ve been there once, or actually I think twice and one wasn’t in my recollection because I was too young. This is a shout-out for everyone who goes out in June and say it’s time for some Christmas ornaments!

Are you guys working on a full-length album right now?

We are! We’re in the studio right now. We’ve been in the studio for a few weeks, and we’re trying to get more material out really soon. It’s been juggling doing live shows and getting out to all the festivals, which is really fun, and today was a great experience. A very energetic crowd and very zealous. But in the near future, you can expect some more material.

Thanks so much for the interview, Sam. 

Absolutely! It was fun. It was a party.

Publication date: November 16, 2017

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