GRETA VAN FLEET
Interview – with drummer Danny Wagner
“We capture ROCK N ROLL at its most intense angle”
Interview by TIM AMOROSO written by SILVIE MIETZEKATZE
Tim: How do you feel about your success? You guys really got the music world buzzing….
Danny: It’s pretty incredible. It is not a feeling I can relate to, because it is so new. It’s pretty remarkable and there are not many things in this world that can give you this kind of feeling and that I was able to experience this at the age of 19 is pretty mind-blowing.
Tim: Tell me about your new album
Danny: We took some time off and got some songs selected for this one.
People will also find out now that actually some of the songs that we put on there came together while we were recording them. This was beautiful studio magic.
Our goal with this new album is to capture rock n roll at it’s most intense angle and it will be marketed as our debut album.
Tim: I have heard that you do it all. You play piano, you play drums , guitar, bass…how did the journey begin for you as a musician?
Danny: Well, my first love was the electric guitar. I had this obsession since I was 4/5 years old and my grandparents bought me my first electric guitar when I was 6 and it went uphill from there. My mom got me lessons but it wasn’t really my thing and then I got a bass guitar when I mowed my neighbor’s lawn as payment!
And then when my cousins were moving, they had a drum kit they didn’t need anymore so my parents were the ones that actually set them up for me in our garage with all the other instruments I already had. My sister took piano lessons and I looked over her shoulder and learned some things there.
Tim: Do you pick other instruments up when you’re in the studio?
Danny: Yes, I actually did the guitar solo in “Flower Power” not too many people know that I also play guitar so that was cool. When we find ourselves in writing blocks we don’t take breaks we just have another approach and I’m not the only one who can play more instruments. Jake can play every string instrument and Sam is picking up the guitar and bass. My favorite way of writing is to sit around with a bunch of acoustic guitars it’s fun.
Tim: You were on the sideline for a while and I have you were a big fan of the band before you joined?
Danny: That music thing was getting to me, I was in the same class as Sam and I always wanted to join his band. Yeah I always hung out with the rest of the band. We are all friends but it wasn’t until the previous drummer showed signs of lack of confidence. I gave the band space. And then things happened and Jake messaged me on facebook one day and asked me if I was willing to try it out! I was super excited but also very nervous and I didn’t know what to tell my parents. I mean telling them I would join a band. I wasn’t sure how they would react, but I was lucky they were super supportive!
Tim: Didn’t that happen to the Beatles too?
Danny: Yeah it was very similar; there was a swap early on in their career.
Tim: Do you still search for new music? I am asking you this because most artists that I interview and ask this exact question usually mention GRETA VAN FLEET. I think a lot of people are hoping you guys are the saviors of Rock n Roll. People compare you guys to Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Guns n Roses….Which is so cool…but do you feel the pressure that you guys are supposed to save Rock N Roll?
Danny: To me this is motivation not pressure. There is a direction. WE are all new. We didn’t have the slightest clue. There is a response from people and it adds to the momentum. I do not suffer from stage fright. I take it and use it as strength and it is very exciting.
Tim: Which artists have reached out to you that you personally respect?
Danny: Patrick the drummer of the Black Keys reached out to us and invited us over to his house actually tonight. They are the greatest rock band of the twentieth century. He wants to get to know us. Throughout High school we would always hang out with musicians. We weren’t really popular kids, maybe to ourselves. But when we go out to LA a bunch of older acts reached out to us ELTON JOHN for example – he asked us to play his Oscar party. I have said before that I don’t get nervous very often but when he called us I was petrified and shaking. The other person I would like to meet is Paul McCartney and Eric Clapton.
Tim: What are your personal interests?
Danny: I grew up in the country with the along with the other guys. If I get bored I go on hikes. Climb rocks. I love hiking. I mainly stick with outdoor activities. I can tell you more the things I dislike. Like tv, video games …but aside from music I like writing, photography – a lot of visual things hands on activities.
Tim: What do you watch on Netflix?
Danny: I was into superhero kind of films. Comedies, but I go on Netflix when I search something but I am the type of guy who never finishes anything on there, especially when we are on tour.
We had a chance to sit down with Josh and Danny from Greta Van Fleet and aside from there great music we found out how great they are as humans. They are a group of rock and roll nerds with a passion for music and life, what surprised me the most was the musical knowledge they possess and how overall intelligent they are for young men. The new album comes out next month be sure to help support these guys and pick this gem up.
Tim: How does this Journey start?
Josh: It’s like early early on before Sam was even born, my father was taking Jake and I to Blues concerts. We were raised in a play ground of vinyl and listening soul music and funk. Three of us are Brothers Sam, Jake, and I. We had this intriguing back bone, it wasn’t until high school that any of us knew what rock and roll even was, it was the personification of all of that early stuff we were listening to and we thought if we can take the music and make it bigger why aren’t we doing this? Jake was playing guitar before he can walk, and I was always singing and in theater. We gigged the hell out of bars at 16 and 17 years old, we are just a bunch of rock nerds.
Tim: Who is your favorite artist of all time
Josh: That’s a damn hard question, hmmmmm I like Wilson Picket, I love John Denver who is more bad ass than given credit for. I like Demis Roussos who is this Greek singer who is absolutely unbelievable if you ever heard his stuff, and I love the Fleet Foxes. There is a lot of great shit out there.
Tim: You have a new album coming out right?
Tim: Is this a collection of things you wrote 3 to 4 years ago? Or are there any new tracks on this?
Josh: This is a collection of stuff that spans between 3 years ago and a month ago. When we begin recording it’s almost impossible not to write new shit, especially given the opportunity and flow of things.
Tim: What is the underlined theme of the new album? What are the songs about?
Josh: A lot of the album is about the world were living in now, a lot of human themes and element of philosophy about lessons of history and about conservation of natural habitats.
Tim: People expect Greta Van Fleet to save rock n roll, as a young man how does that make you feel? Is that a big weight to bear? Or are you guys just doing your thing
Josh: The whole Idea about playing rock n roll is to go with the flow and not concern yourself with how you are doing it, but more what you’re doing. For us there are moments where you’re dealing with the pressure of what people expect, you have to meditate and process this. In the long run the more you become enlightened about what’s happening the easier it becomes to just do it.
Tim: In my heart there has to be a connection between the creator and music
Josh: Yes!!!! Look at all of that tribal stuff; go back to early cultures in that primitive way and the evolution of music. All these tribes are expressing these notes to their god, there is a bit of this in our music. Listen to Edge of Darkness or Flower Power