During a conversation on Lipps Service, Great Van Fleet bassist and co-founder Sam Kiszka and drummer Danny Wagner talked about the early days of the band and the challenging times they went through, especially considering their creative differences.
As you know, Greta Van Fleet was formed back in 2012 by twin brothers Josh and Jake Kiszka, their younger brother Sam, and Kyle Hauck. Hauck left the band in 2013 and he was replaced by the brothers’ close friend Danny Wagner. The band released its debut album ‘Anthem of the Peaceful Army‘ in 2018 which was a huge success and became the top-selling album in the United States in its debut week.
In late 2020, the band announced that they’re going to release their second album ‘The Battle at Garden’s Gate‘ on April 16, 2021, and since then they have released three singles. In their recent interview, Sam and Danny talked about the early days of the band, and Sam gave some ‘behind the scenes’ information considering his relationship with his bandmates and brothers.
Sam said that no one remembers the beginning because everything started in a very abstract way, with ‘just a bunch of northern country boys jumping around in the woods all the time.’ Slowly each band member started realizing their potential and exploring their talents. The last one to find his instrument was Sam himself who is the youngest one and was encouraged by their mother to try out bass.
As for the conflicts within the band, Sam said that they definitely exist. He said that they fought a lot in the beginning as they had a lot of creative differences. However, as time progressed, they learned how to understand each other and ‘deal with each other on a more personal level.’ He finished his answer by saying that there will always be frictions as they are the ones that help them improve.
Here’s what Sam said about their earlier days:
“Ah, the beginning. Nobody remembers the beginning. It all started in the humble little Frankenmuth, MI, and I suppose that’s why it’s such an interesting story to a lot of people. Because this is literally nowhere, it’s right between nowhere and nowhere. But yeah, it was very much outdoor living, we were just a bunch of northern country boys jumping around in the woods all the time.
And I know Daniel is simultaneously doing the same thing a few blocks away. Pretty much where it started was – Jake [Kiszka, guitar] always wanted to do something with that electric guitar, I think that’s how he found his identity, and that’s how he found himself within this world. And he started bringing home drummers from jazz bands from high school, and he went through two-three-four of them, and then Josh [Kiszka, vocals] started coming out and singing a little bit.
He [Josh] was always a theater guy, very ready to take that position, the very assuming position of a lead singer. And finally, my mom kind of pressured me to go out and start playing bass because why not. I was, like, 12 years old, I wasn’t doing anything.”
This is what Sam said when he was asked about whether he ever fights with his brothers:
“Oh, we fought. I don’t know, we worked out the creative differences, and we know how to deal with that for the most part. And also we learned how to deal with each other on a more personal level, dealing with that kind of stuff in a more mature way.
But yeah, there’s definitely disagreements and there always will be, and if there were no friction, we’d all be floating above earth right now.”
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