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Prog musician Steven Wilson has doubled down on his criticism of classic rock revival group Greta Van Fleet, whom he expressed his negative feelings about last year.
In a 2019 appearance on the My Rock podcast, he spoke of his decades-long process of building his audience – and lamented that others can do so much quicker if mainstream media and larger labels get behind them. Citing Greta Van Fleet as an example, he called them “a joke… they play this really piss-poor, third-rate impersonation of Led Zeppelin.
“But they’re pretty and they’ve had all the help of the media, the commercial machine, behind them and they’ve been able to reach a massive audience almost overnight by playing third-rate music.”
Speaking to Classic Rock yesterday, Wilson has doubled down on his comments on Greta Van Fleet. When asked about his diverse music tastes, Wilson (tactfully) noted how the demographic of Prog and Classic Rock might “have a set of parameters within which the music they like sits.”
“But there’s a larger world out there,” he continued, “that now listens to music in a less engaged way, but they don’t have those kinds of parameters. And in some respects it is an exciting time.
“Part of the problem with growing up in the shadow of classic rock and The Beatles is that you’re very much aware of the rules. And what’s really exciting about urban music – which is very dominant in the mainstream – is that they’re not. I understand why kids are more drawn to that.”
Unsurprisingly, his thought on living in the shadow of classic rock brought him back around to Greta Van Fleet: “I got in a lot of trouble online because I was very rude about Greta Van Fleet, but I stand by everything I said. What are kids gonna listen to? Tyler, The Creator doing this radical urban music that speaks to them about modern life, or this embarrassing sort of Take That-meets-Led Zeppelin parody?”
Greta Van Fleet have incited a divisive set of opinions – some music fans hail them as a return to the good old days of classic rock, while detractors have called them needlessly derivative, and questioned if the unfiltered classic rock sound is relevant to today’s music landscape. It’s safe to say that Wilson is in the latter camp.
Relatedly, Nevermind’s producer Butch Vig laid on the praise for Billie Eilish – calling her contemporary music’s answer to Nirvana. “Billie speaks for a whole generation of youth, much like Nirvana did with their zeitgeist moment,” he said.
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