Greta Van Fleet Prepare to Jam With Elton John on Oscar Night
"I remember the moment," Greta Van Fleet guitarist Jake Kiszka recalls with wonder, in a recent interview with Loudwire. "It was about 10AM and management calls and says, 'Hey boys, you have a call coming from England in a little while.' So we pick up the phone [and he says] 'Hey boys, it's Elton.' It was actually Elton John on the phone!"
"He asked us if we wanted to play at his Oscar after party," he continued, referencing the party that piano playing legend has held as a benefit for his Elton John AIDS Foundation since 1993.
The Kiszkas (Jake, singer Josh and bassist Sam) grew up listening to his music, but it turns out that Elton is a Greta Van Fleet fan as well. "He said, 'It's the best rock and roll I've heard in twenty fucking years!'"
"I remember seeing The Lion King when I was really young and being affected by 'Can You Feel the Love Tonight.' I remember listening to Elton John in the car."
It was his mom who introduced him to Sir Elton's music. "The first call I made [afterwards] was to my mother. It was a great moment. We're bringing our mothers!"
They're not just performing for Elton; they're performing with him. "He specified what he wants to do: 'We can do some of your songs, and some of my songs.' So we're gonna do a couple of both. We're gonna do an hour set, and then he'll come out and we'll do a couple of songs with him."
They're still figuring out what Elton classics to tackle: "We're talking about doing 'Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting." [1973's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is] A great album. I was thinking songs from the self-titled album [from 1970]. That album was insane. I listened to it all the way through, it's an incredible listening experience."
He says he isn't worried about meeting his heroes; the band, who formed in Frankenmuth, Michigan, recently opened for a somewhat more legendary artist from their home state.
"We did a show with Bob Seger, a Michigan legend. We listened to him on the radio, growing up! We hold him in such high esteem. It still doesn't feel like it happened! I remember at the beginning of the show, the lights were off, we could barely see each other. It was our first arena show like that. I looked back at [drummer] Danny [Wagner], I could see his hands were shaking. But the lights came on, and it was a great show."
And while new bands opening for classic rock icons rarely get much love from the crowd, Kiszka says the audience was enthusiastic. "I think it had something to do with the fact that we're from Michigan. I think people came with a respect for us. It went over well."
And yes, the got to meet the man: "He said hi, we went out front for soundcheck, and Punch [Andrews], Bob's manager said, 'Move closer!' Bob was playing 'Let It Be' on piano, just to warm up. That wasn't in the set, it was just his warm-up on this white grand piano."
Obviously, Kiszka snuck out his phone to capture the memory. "No, but in retrospect, I wish I had!"
"He told us that he was a fan of our music. We were probably fans of his [while we were] in the womb! We chatted for a little bit, it felt like the torch was being handed to us."
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