Jack White has advice for Greta Van Fleet on that whole Led Zeppelin thing


  • MPH Photos, Ben Houdijk / Shutterstock.com

It was only a matter of time until Jack White weighed in on rising rock band Greta Van Fleet.

Both acts are from Michigan — White from Detroit, Greta Van Fleet from Frankenmuth. Both made a name for themselves by reviving blues-based rock 'n' roll for younger audiences. And, most crucially, both have been accused of sounding a little too much like Led Zeppelin — specifically, lead singer Robert Plant.

That criticism against White seems almost quaint now, given that White's band the White Stripes deviated pretty far from those influences — like an art rock take on classic rock. That band was just a two-piece; they wore only red, white, or black; and, well, Meg White was no John Bonham. (That's why we love her.)
Greta Van Fleet, meanwhile, play the 1970s references more closely — like, really closely — even dressing the part. As Stereogum opined, "If they sounded any more like Led Zeppelin, Phil Collins would be asking to drum for them." Pitchfork was more harsh: "No one in this band offers anything in the way of personality that doesn’t sound like your average YouTube tutorial for a Jimmy Page-type pentatonic solo or a John Bonham-type shuffle."

Anyway, in a new Rolling Stone interview, White was asked about what he thinks about Greta Van Fleet. He had some advice for the young band — to keep pushing forward:

They’re three Polish brothers from Frankenmuth, Michigan — I thought that was a joke! But it’s exciting to see young people play rock & roll, no doubt about it. That guy has a very cool voice. The more he makes it his own, the better. People used to say, when I first came out, “He sounds like Robert Plant.” If you keep pushing forward, that shit goes away.

White also went on to praise Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" — the surprise country-hip-hop crossover hit that is now the longest-running No. 1 hip-hop song of all time. He said the short song reminded him of his crossover hit with the White Stripes, "Fell in Love With a Girl":

It’s beautiful. The song is only a minute and 47 seconds long or something — that’s how long “Fell in Love With a Girl” was. People said, “They’re not going to play that on radio.” But it worked, and it’s great that it’s happening again.

We're just going to leave it right here: Lil Nas X, get this guy on the next "Old Town Road" remix.

Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.