The woman whose name was adopted by rising-star rock band Greta Van Fleet said she “laughed it off” when she heard. Gretna Van Fleet, an 87-year-old resident of the band’s hometown of Frankenmuth, Mich., saw them for the first time in five years last week.
“They’ve matured, I’ll say that,” the saxophonist and pianist told Billboard. “It’s not really my kind of music, but people enjoy it and the boys did a good job of presenting it.” Asked about the name she said, “it’s been far more than I expected. I really didn’t have anything to do with naming the band or anything. When they told me they were going to do that I kind of laughed it off. When I found out they really did it I thought, ‘That won’t last long. That’s not a name for a band.’ But they just kept growing and more people ask me about it and I’ve been far more involved than I expected.”
Bassist Sam Kiszka explained that the idea had come from one of the band’s early members, saying that “his grandpa told him that he needed to go cut wood for Gretna Van Fleet. He heard it, thought, ‘That’s an interesting name.’ He brought it to the rest of us and I think it was Josh [Kiszka, frontman] who said, ‘Let’s drop the n out of Gretna,’ so it was Greta Van Fleet, and that rolls off the tongue better. I think it’s an interesting name because it’s different. You don’t really know what kind of music is going to be produced by this group. I really like that aspect of the name.”
They recently confirmed that their debut full-length album would be released this year. “I think there’s some maturity on the album that you can hear, musically,” Sam said. “We were able to take our time and try new arrangements and new writing techniques. I think we’ve become a lot more savvy in the studio as well, so a lot of that will translate to the album. It’s very energetic and aggressive.”