Over the years, classic rock revivalists Greta Van Fleet have been highly criticised for their similarities to Led Zeppelin, causing a tidal wave of reactions ranging from unadulterated adoration to full-on dismissal. In a new video uploaded onto his YouTube channel Justin Hawkins Rides Again, the spandex-sporting frontman has thrown his opinion into the mix to try put an end to the squabbling once and for all.
In the clip, which was released earlier this month, Hawkins admits that initially, he wasn't all that keen on the quartet, and reveals that he had once dismissed them himself as a Led Zeppelin "tribute act".
After playing a snippet of Greta Van Fleet's Highway Tune, Hawkins says, “A lot of people have criticised them because it’s very derivative of a certain period of Led Zeppelin’s career.
"I don’t think they do themselves any favours when the guitarist plays that riff [and] he does this little bit of choreography … which is straight from the Jimmy Page handbook. I think when you’re trying to establish yourself as an original artist you need to have your own little bit of choreography.”
He continued, “I dismissed this band as a tribute act because it seemed to me they only had one influence and it was Led Zeppelin – a certain period of Led Zeppelin. It was the music, obviously the guy’s voice sounds exactly like Robert Plant … and when it’s extended to the way they carry themselves on stage, you really think, ‘Hang on a second, what is the point of this band? … Why wouldn’t I just listen to Led Zeppelin? … There’s enough Led Zeppelin music provided by Led Zeppelin to not need Greta Van Fleet.”
Hawkins states that his main problem with the band – and many others – is that they fail to take influence from a second group, which is a subject he elaborates on in the latest issue of Classic Rock. He explains, "There’s been some stuff that’s been nearly exciting recently, but I find it hard to get into artists who only have one very specific influence – one particular album by one particular band."
Within the video, he adds: "Drawing influence from more than one source is how music progresses.
However, on reflection, the frontman muses that it is impossible to listen to Greta Van Fleet's vocalist Josh Kiszka without being "excited".
"Josh Kiszka’s voice is awesome and I’ve begun to think that’s it’s possibly awesome in its own right. You can’t listen to that guy sing without being excited, unless you’re a little bit dead inside. When you have a singer like that, then you have the possibility to become great – but you do need to draw from more that one source.”
Referring to the outfit's most recent album The Battle At Garden's Gate and their song Heat Above, Hawkins applauds Greta Van Fleet for their "improvement", citing that they have started to look more like Queen.
“They look awesome and I feel like he’s using his voice in a slightly different way,” Hawkins explains. “Now I listen I go, ‘Yeah, okay, these guys are heading somewhere.’ I don’t know what the second influence is – who’s got a hold of them and shaken that faux Led Zep out of them.
"But it’s working. … Hearing him soar and hold a note over several bars – that’s what he wants to be doing. Because those are the things Robert Plant didn’t do."
Finally, he adds: "Good luck, Greta Van Fleet – I hope it works out … live it!"
Watch the video below: