June 12, 2024

Whole Community News

From Kalapuya lands in the Willamette watershed

Greta Van Fleet coming to Portland August 5

14 min read
Alpha, Abby, and Jinx talk about lanes and lore, jumpsuits and tambourines, and the Sacramento incident.

Alpha: We’re here to talk about Greta Van Fleet, which is a band that I discovered in the early pandemic and then proceeded to get these two really into. So I’m Alpha, I use she/her pronouns.

[00:00:13] Abby: I’m Abby. I use she/her pronouns as well. Their first, very first single, and is it still their most popular song? Or was it—

[00:00:19] Alpha: It’s still their most popular song.

[00:00:20] Abby: It’s Highway Tune. It was the very first single release, also the first track on their first album, which is From The Fires.

(excerpt from Highway Tune)

[00:00:41] Alpha: Yeah, that single is kind of what shot them to fame.

[00:00:44] Abby: It’s very good.

[00:00:46] Alpha: Their songs and their music are really story driven, so there’s a lot of things we can actually get into with like dissecting songs and things, and that’s one of the things that drew me to them.

[00:00:57] And Jinx our other admin who uses they/them pronouns.

[00:01:01] Jinx: It’s basically lore. It’s like a band with lore. (Yeah.)

[00:01:03] Alpha: If you want to hear more of our, like, ramblings and theories you should go follow ‘dreamsingvf’ on Instagram.

[00:01:12] Josh and Jake are twins. Sam is also their brother, and then Danny isn’t related, but three of them are brothers.

[00:01:19] Abby: Sam and Jake look more alike than Josh and Jake.

[00:01:22] Alpha: Yes, Sam and Jake look more alike, but Josh and Jake are the twins.

[00:01:25] Abby: We have Josh, who’s the lead singer, with all the jumpsuits. We have Sammy who plays bass and piano. And technically organ too.

[00:01:36] Alpha: Technically, organ, yes.

[00:01:37] Abby: Josh plays the tambourine. Yes, Josh plays tambourine (that’s very key), that’s very important. Also Jake, who’s the lead guitarist, and (He plays harmonica.) Also plays harmonica. Yep. Very rarely has a shirt on. Yep. And Danny, the drummer with the hair.

[00:01:53] Alpha: Just with the hair. (Yes.) Best hair.

[00:01:57] Jinx: Very valid. (Best hair.) Very valid.

[00:01:59] Alpha: And actually, they’re on their second drummer. Their first drummer, Kyle Hawk, was one of their childhood friends, but he did not stick around for very long. They’re now obviously on their second drummer, Danny. But they started in Frankenmuth, Michigan, which is where they were born.

[00:02:18] And they started when they were like, I think the youngest of them was Danny, and I think he was around 15 when he joined. They’re in their early twenties.

[00:02:27] They got their name from another musician and resident of Frankenmuth. Her name is Gretna Van Fleet. And they heard about her from their first drummer because his grandpa ended up with tickets to one of her shows at one point. She was a bluegrass musician. And they for some reason really liked the name Gretna Van Fleet. So they took the ‘N’ out of ‘Gretna’ and changed it to ‘Greta,’ and she gave them her full blessing to use it.

[00:02:55] She didn’t think it would stick, but when they started getting bigger, she was like, ‘Yeah, this is all right. I know them. That’s cool. Go for it.’ And so they’ve been using their name.

[00:03:02] Jinx: She heard about them performing?

[00:03:04] Alpha: Yeah. She heard about them performing and she went to one of their sold-out shows. She had no idea beforehand that they were using the name Greta Van Fleet.

[00:03:11] And she, direct quote, ‘Their music isn’t for me, but I support what they’re doing. And I think the boys are doing a good job.’

[00:03:20] Jinx: The band’s like main aesthetic is they’re really into like flashy, like outfits, typically a lack of shirts. (Yep.) Josh, the singer, likes to wear jumpsuits. In fact, he actually has, one of the songs is actually about Josh’s jumpsuits. It’s called Sacred the Thread, and good song, very different than the regular music.

(excerpt from Sacred The Thread)

[00:04:04] But overall the aesthetic is a lot of sparkles, a lot of glitter, lots of really flashy things. And it’s very like glam rock meets like a boho aesthetic. And yeah, (lots of feather boas), especially during the their last tour there, there’s been a lot of boas.

[00:04:20] Yeah. It’s kind of become a tradition for like fans to bring boas to shows and if you’re up close enough to the stage they’ll take them from you and wear them, which I don’t actually know when that started. But then they’ll hand them back.

[00:04:31] Abby: The hat.

[00:04:32] Alpha: Oh yeah, the hat.

[00:04:34] Jinx: There’s been a couple times things have gotten thrown into the audience. somebody got (Tambourine!) hit by one of Josh’s—

[00:04:39] Alpha: Josh actually dropped his tambourine and it went flying off the end of the pit.

[00:04:43] Abby: Dropped? more like thrown. He was wiggling it and it just went flying.

[00:04:47] Alpha: Somebody got hit in the head, in the pit by the tambourine and then just handed it back.

[00:04:52] Abby: I would not have given it back. I would’ve kept that forever. (I must say.)

[00:04:56] Jinx: Jealous of that person though.

[00:04:59] Alpha: Jealous of getting smashed by a tambourine.

[00:05:02] Abby: So during the pandemic they couldn’t do like live shows or anything, so they did like mock masterclass type of things.

[00:05:09] Alpha: They are known for doing silly videos in character. They started during the pandemic when they weren’t able to do live stuff, and it’s become a much bigger thing.

[00:05:22] Abby: So we have Jake, the guitarist who did a masterclass, ‘Oliver Reed teaches decorum and refinement.’ We have Josh, who does ‘Dr. J.M.K. teaches spiritual psychology.’ Sammy is ‘Cal A. Bungah teaches the art of plant-based cooking,’ and Danny did ‘Chip Bunker teaches the art of golf.’

[00:05:43] Alpha: They’re all very satirical and don’t actually really teach you the things—

[00:05:48] Abby: They’re hilarious.

[00:05:49] Alpha: —they’re supposed to be teaching you. The fandom kind of they took the master classes a little too seriously and so now it’s one of their biggest things.

[00:05:57] Most recently the fandom has been making like merch, like shirts and buttons, of a quote from their drummer. After a show, they were coming back and the quote is, ‘Oh my God, he just deleted that White Claw.’ And the fandom for some reason decided that that was just the funniest thing.

[00:06:15] And so now if you go on Etsy and you’re looking for Greta Van Fleet merch, it’s one of the top things you’ll see printed on their stuff.

[00:06:22] Another one of their top quotes is ‘Do It Jakey,’ in which Josh screams at Jake during the leadup to Jake’s longest solo, which actually he recently won an award for.

[00:06:34] Abby: Best guitar solo of the 21st century.

[00:06:37] Alpha: Yeah. Like somewhere during their last tour, he started screaming, ‘Do it, Jakey’ really loudly into the mic.

(Do it Jakey!)

[00:06:52] Alpha: And now all the fans will scream it for him at concerts before that solo.

[00:06:57] Abby: They better do that solo in Starcatcher.

[00:07:00] Alpha: I have a little pin, by the way, that says ‘Do it Jakey’ that I’m going to put on my bag.

[00:07:05] The fandom itself is called ‘The Peaceful Army. ‘And the reason that the fans took that to heart and made it like the fandom name is because that’s what they are. Like the band, like they’ve said many times, like their main goal is just spread a message of like love and togetherness and all that.

[00:07:24] Jinx: One of the nicest fandoms I am a part of.

[00:07:26] Alpha: Yeah, there’s so many fandoms out there with just so much toxic (toxic) people and like people going to war over their opinions. But honestly, The Peaceful Army is one of the nicest—most opinionated but nicest—fandoms I’ve ever been a part of. Everybody’s respectful of each other.

[00:07:43] And I think that’s another one of the things that made me, like, get into them as much as I have, because—

[00:07:49] Abby: In the end, we all love the same band.

[00:07:51] Alpha: Truly. Yeah. Exactly. I think Greta and their fans, that’s something that they do really well.

[00:07:57] But yeah, Anthem of The Peaceful Army came out and I think one of the reasons it’s not as popular is it’s because the songs on it are so different. Yeah. From all of the stuff on From The Fires and so different from their third album, honestly.

[00:08:11] Jinx: Completely different vibes for all of their different albums.

[00:08:13] Alpha: They really have, like all their albums. But then their third and most recent full album was the Battle at Garden’s Gate, and it’s a 12-song album. And it’s been hailed for doing a lot of unexpected things musically, the way they produce it, that it’s been like, honored. It’s a masterpiece.

(excerpt from Battle at Garden’s Gate)

[00:09:17] Abby: Very, very, very good. It really is.

[00:09:18] Jinx: I have a little lore thing. This is more of a like fandom-based thing, but there’s been some discussion. I’m on a Greta Discord. I saw this thing talking about how like From The Fires is like their like, like story basis, like their becoming of a band. Anthem of The Peaceful Army is more of like them gathering their followers, fans.

[00:09:39] Alpha: It was like the rallying cry.

Jinx: The Battle at Garden’s Gate came out COVID-era.

[00:09:48] Alpha: Yeah, it was COVID-era. And they take the symbols to mean ‘Oh, we’re going to get through this hard thing.’ ‘Cause it came out during the pandemic. And I think that adds to the album. I think that adds to its worth quite a bit.

[00:09:55] Jinx: And then the new one that’s coming out in, I think July. (Yeah, July.) It’s called (July 21) Starcatcher and the vibe I’m getting from it, it’s like them trying to figure out where they’re going to go from there, if anywhere.

[00:10:07] The whole, their whole discography has like an overarching story.

[00:10:11] Abby: Should we tell the whole—

[00:10:14] Alpha: Sacramento?

[00:10:15] Abby: incident?

[00:10:16] Jinx: Oh gosh.

[00:10:17] Alpha: Yeah. All right. In March of this year, the three of us bought tickets to one of their shows on their Dreams In Gold Tour. And it was the final show of the tour.

[00:10:26] Jinx: There was set to be a really big, we didn’t know what it was at the, we didn’t know what it was. They were, they were pushing it really hard. It was going to be a big thing. Like they had done this whole like treasure hunt where we were like finding clues about what the announcement was going to be. We got tickets.

[00:10:42] Abby: I told you it was a new album.

[00:10:44] Alpha: You did. You called it.

[00:10:45] Abby: Called it at the very beginning on like hint three.

[00:10:47] Alpha: But we got tickets and we were all set to go. And a snowstorm closed down the freeway from Ashland to Redding. And we couldn’t go to the show.

[00:10:53] Jinx: We ended up driving 10 hours to go eat lunch in a MOD Pizza.

[00:10:56] Abby: Spring break was just, but yeah,

[00:10:58] Jinx: Cursed. Most cursed spring break ever.

[00:11:00] Alpha: That, that really just wrecked our spring break honestly…

[00:11:03] Dreams of Gold was their biggest tour. It’s when the boas started. It’s when all the, it’s where all the quotes came from and—

[00:11:07] Abby: It’s the single time Jake wore a boa. The one—it’s never going to happen again.

[00:11:12] Alpha: The one time Jake wore a boa and we missed it. We were,

[00:11:15] Abby: Yep. We got snowed in, in Ashland.

[00:11:18] Alpha: So that happened. We’ve had our kind of redemption arc. We have tickets to a show in Portland in August. There’s a lot of like theories about like what the set lists are going to look like and how long the show’s going to run and what the show’s going to look like. I am crossing my fingers.

[00:11:36] Abby: They said Jake gets a new solo.

[00:11:37] Alpha: They’ve just announced that Jake has a new solo.

[00:11:39] But it, it was a great tour and I think it grew their fan base a lot. Mm-hmm. Yeah, because it, they were a fairly small band before Dreams In Gold, and then it came around and everyone was like, oh my God.

[00:11:48] The ‘lanes’ are basically, when you get down to it, it’s which band member is your favorite. That’s literally all it is. But people in the fandom, like ups, it’s been taken very seriously. It’s been taken very seriously.

[00:12:00] So, for instance, I’m Jake Lane. The guitarist is my favorite. I think he’s very fun and silly.

[00:12:07] Abby: Danny. Danny.

[00:12:08] Alpha: Danny Lane.

[00:12:09] Jinx: I’m between Josh, Jake and Danny. It’s kind of a three-way tie for me. Yeah, I mean

[00:12:14] Abby: The correct answer is Danny,

[00:12:16] Alpha: I mean, okay. So the correct answer is all of them.

[00:12:18] Abby: But then Danny.

[00:12:20] Alpha: But then Danny.

[00:12:20] Abby: I was thinking Rose.

[00:12:21] Alpha: Oh, that’d be cute. Sammy’s dog. Yeah. But I also should say that there’s now a fifth lane. Like recently people started like really saying that the Twin Lane (Oh.) Josh and Jake have a lane together.

[00:11:23] Jinx: It’s such a good dynamic.

[00:11:24] Alpha: I mean, they do. I’m quite Josh and Jake’s relationship.

[00:11:28] Jinx: Oh yeah, it’s adorable. I really enjoyed how like, it was Josh who gave up film, right? Yes. (For yes. Yeah) Josh. Back when they were getting into it, Josh has an interest in film and he agreed to quit doing his film so Josh and Jake could do music together, and then Jake agreed that at some point when Josh wanted to, they would, he would quit his music so they could do film or he could help Josh with his film.

[00:13:05] Alpha: The consensus was that they were going to do it together, for sure, since Josh kind of gave up on, ‘cause he was like finally starting to like, make a breakthrough in like actually producing and things. And then Jake was like, ‘Hey, I want to do this thing.’ And Josh was like, ‘Oh, okay. I’ll help you.’ You know, and then it’s history pretty much.

[00:13:23] But the lanes have a lot of importance in the fandom and basically it’s like, which band member is your favorite? Like what merch do you buy? What seats are you trying to get so that you can have a good angle on that member, you know (whose autograph you’re trying to), whose autograph you’re trying to get.

[00:13:37] We managed to get Jake seats. We got seats right by his

[00:13:39] Abby: Because you were the one purchasing the seats.

[00:13:40] Alpha: Because I was the one that bought the seats. And so now they’re being subjected to Jake specifically.

[00:13:46] Jinx: Who else is this on that side?

[00:13:48] Alpha: Technically it’s Jake and Danny. Danny.

[00:13:50] Abby: But Danny’s like in the back. Yeah.

[00:13:52] Alpha: Danny, Danny’s back, run around to be good. Yeah. Danny can’t move around. Josh runs around all over. The place does. Hence the tambourine incident.

[00:13:59] Abby: In Weight of Dreams, which is the song with the super long solo that’s really cool and won an award, Josh doesn’t have much to do, so he just goes and gets a tambourine and just vibes for most of time. Runs around wild.

[00:14:10] Jinx: You can hear him because it’s a tambourine. Yeah.

[00:14:11] Alpha: Yeah. I mean, you can’t hear a tambourine.

[00:14:13] Abby: But it’s there.

[00:14:14] Jinx: But there just the solo starts, he runs across the stage with a tambourine.

[00:14:18] Alpha: There’s an audio clip of just, it’s the Wilhelm scream, like the perfectly cut scream. And somebody laid that over the top of him just running across the stage with a tambourine like this. And it’s such a good video.

[00:14:30] Jinx: There’s been a lot of people who have basically just said that they think Greta Van Fleet is just knockoff Led Zeppelin, which is like, especially in their first album, is not entirely wrong. And there’s been some people who have disliked them for that. Some people don’t really care. As they’ve grown as a band, their music style has shifted a lot. So, like, as much as they were once really a Zeppelin clone, they’re now really their own band.

[00:14:57] Alpha: They’re growing into themselves in a big way.

[00:14:59] Jinx: I can appreciate that.

[00:15:02] Alpha: Yeah, there’s a lot of people too who are really appreciative of the fact that they’re like carrying on a similar genre and a similar style to Zeppelin.

[00:15:08] Abby: Classic rock.

[00:15:09] Alpha: Classic rock. Because I mean, there’s not a lot of people who are doing it the same way that Zeppelin did it, and they’re in a similar vein.

[00:15:16] So I think in some ways it’s important that people think they sound like Zeppelin because they do. And they’ve even said, you know, ‘We do and that’s okay. Thank you for the compliment.’

[00:15:25] Abby: Jimmy Page said that he liked them.

[00:15:28] Alpha: Yeah. I mean, members of Led Zeppelin have been like, yeah, ‘Nope. We support it. They sound good. Do they sound like us? Maybe. But that’s okay.’ They’ve like played for Elton John.

[00:15:36] Abby: They’re opening for Metallica.

[00:15:38] Alpha: They’re opening for Metallica in September. Like they, they’re finally growing into themselves.

[00:15:43] Jinx: They’re in a commercial.

[00:15:44] Alpha: They’re, yeah. One of the, their newest, one of their newest singles.

[00:15:46] Abby: They’re in a Dodge Ram commercial.

[00:15:48] Alpha: It’s a Dodge Ram commercial (laughing). So like, it’s really interesting for somebody who’s been there for since they were small. It’s really interesting for me to see like they’re finally getting out there and like actually making a name for themselves beyond just sounding like Led Zeppelin, which for the longest time was their only claim.

[00:16:06] The new single, Farewell for Now came out June 9.

[00:16:10] Abby: It’s very good. So good.

[00:16:12] Alpha: We listened to it at like 10 o’clock that night. It came out a little bit before midnight and we all listened to it and it was so good.

(Excerpt from Farewell for Now)

[00:16:37] And I think. I won’t really spoil it for people who haven’t listened to it, ‘cause it’s fairly new.

[00:16:41] But I think the ending is by far my favorite part. It felt kind of like a little miniature love letter to the fans.

[00:16:48] And I think Farewell For Now being the last song on this album is just like so fitting because they’re like, it’s one of the most different we’ve heard from them so far.

[00:16:56] Abby: Also that ending being the closer to the entire album.

[00:17:00] Alpha: Exactly. Yeah. It just feels right, you know? Yeah. It just feels right. We really hope they continue making music. Obviously.

[00:17:07] Abby: It sounds like a finale though.

[00:17:08] Alpha: It feels like a finale, which would be so sad, but honestly, so fitting like

[00:17:13] Abby: Because then they’re going to go into film,

[00:17:14] Alpha: I feel like if they ever were to actually retire and like fully be like, ‘We’re stopping, we’re not making any more,’ I feel like this would be a good point to do it at. Yeah. I’d be devastated. Because I have a slightly unhealthy attachment to this band, but

[00:17:28] Abby: Consider: They go into film and then they make the music for their films.

[00:17:32] Alpha: Hot Take. They score all their own films. I feel like that’d be such a power move. Putting your own music into your movie.

[00:17:40] Abby: That would,

[00:17:42] Alpha: That’d be very very appropriate for them. Follow Dreamsingvf on Instagram.

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