Greta Van Fleet's rockstar dreams come to life

Published: Jan. 10, 2019 at 10:22 AM EST
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By now you've probably heard of Greta Van Fleet, the rock band is selling out shows across the world from Paris to Japan.

But they originated in Frankenmuth.

The four young men, recently returned home to a crowd of fans and many familiar faces.

"Probably 10 or 11 and I remember coming to see the Lion King here, and I was sitting there like, some day I'm going to play here," says Jake Kiszka, the guitarist for Greta Van Fleet.

Playing at the Fox Theater is a dream venue for many musicians, but for Michigan native's Greta Van Fleet, 3 sold out shows in Detroit was more than they every could have imagined.

"Coming home and having the response, there's a bit more expected but we're like maybe it will sell out over a period of time, but when it happens within minutes, it's overwhelming," he says. "It's good to be home."

The band made up of 3 brothers; Jake, Josh and Sam Kiszka along with close friend Danny Wagner, began playing together while attending Frankenmuth high school.

Just a few years later, they've released their first album, gone on a world tour, and even been nominated for not just 1 but 4 Grammys.

"We've grown up playing together really and we've probably been a band for about 6 years," says Kiszka. "There has been no rest for how quickly, I think things have gone. It's all happened in within under a year and a half."

The band's EP, 'From the Fires' was released in November of 2017.

Kiszka says the response was overwhelming, not just from fans, but from artists they had been inspired by growing up.

"We're in a situation within the industry, and within the musical world, where people now associate us and talk about us and that's a bizarre thing right off the top," he says. "It's still is a bit weird because you don't know how to interpret that."

Even though just a few months after the EP release they were invited personally by Sir Elton John to perform at his Academy Awards after party, Kiszka says hes still just a kid from Frankenmuth.

"I think that's the lovely thing about going home," Kiszka says. "To them, you're just the kid that grew up that still, so it's nice."

Those not from the area find the town fascinating, often asking one simple question.

"Tell me about Bronner's, what about Bronner's? And its like, its a Christmas store. That's all you need to know, it's the biggest in the world, next question," he laughs. "But yeah, its that or the small town of Frankenmuth, people seem to be fascinated with that as well."

Just a few weeks ago, Frankenmuth found themselves honored as the hometown of 4 now Grammy nominated musicians.

"It was an explosion of people reaching out, that's kind of how I found out. It was just like, hey congratulations, congrats, and I was like on what? Oh, four Grammys. Nice," he says. "It was great, it was more shocking because it was so unexpected."

It may not have been expected from the band members, but according to dozens of fan twitter pages, seeing them live just once can have anyone understanding why they have received the honor.

"For me, it entirely takes me to a different world," Kiszka says. "It's completely transcending. Its like that's the best feeling in the world, so you keep coming back to it."

He's not the only one, fans keep coming back for that special feeling too.

"Its a very emotional personal thing, when you're looking at someone in the audience. Sometimes they cry, sometimes they get a big beam and they blush or they smile or wave," he says. "It's such an intimate thing that I'm sharing with someone else and they're sharing with me."

With the success of their first official album release in October, Greta Van Fleet says, fans can rest assured, 2019 will be a big year for them too.

"We want to focus on our music and our craft. We want to focus on our ability to be good writers and to effect people and touch people," says Kiszka. "I think that's about as many goals as we need to set, you know?"

For Kiszka and the rest of Greta Van Fleet, 2019 will bring a new world tour, a new album, and of course new memories.