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The Essentials: Greta Van Fleet’s Sam Kiszka Talks Trees, Tequila & Tofu

(Credit: Erika Goldring/Getty Images)

Some “essentials” that come to mind when thinking of Greta Van Fleet: killer chops, chest-baring tops, exceptional musical skills, skin-tight jumpsuits, transformative performances, face paint, Josh Kiszka’s remarkable vocal abilities, his twin brother Jake’s shredding guitar work, their baby brother Sam’s multi-instrumental prowess, drummer Danny Wagner’s stupendous backbeat. 

It’s these essentials that make GVF one of the most distinctive bands of the last decade and drove the Grammy-winning group’s two albums–Anthem of the Peaceful Army (2018) and The Battle at Garden’s Gate (2021)–to the top of the charts. These releases were preceded by the Black Smoke Rising EP (2017) and its same year successor, the triple-Grammy-nominated double EP, From the Fires, which won for Best Rock Album. Greta Van Fleet’s monthly streaming numbers are steady in the multi-millions and their countless sold-out shows across continents attract thousands of cross-generational concertgoers. 

Greta Van Fleet’s theatrical albums roll out like volumes in a fantasy book series, each one reveals another layer of a mystical universe of wizards (the Mists of Avalon kind, not Harry Potter), faeries, centaurs and unicorns. Stylistically, the albums shift ever-so slightly from anthemic blues rock to cinematic prog rock to the psychedelic space rock tinges of their self-referential upcoming album, Starcatcher, set for release on July 21st. The first single, “Meeting the Master” is one of the standout songs which channels the building energy of the best of Yes. “Sacred the Thread” follows, showing the band in a rare example of restraint, which is nonetheless impactful.

As Sam Kiszka packs his suitcase with the floaty capes, painted on pants and glittery chest-draping chains that are Starcatcher‘s signature look, in readiness for Greta Van Fleet’s extensive arena tour beginning summer 2023, he takes stock of–and reveals, for us–some surprising “essentials” that keep him tethered while he lives the unnatural life of a touring musician. 




The sweet nectar of the gods, kind of makes you feel good too.


One of the most incredible inventions of humans. My recent favorite fish for this application is Walu.


Just because.


They’re the ones that make up forests that you can climb and proclaim “kowabunga!” 



Well… who doesn’t love it?


“Tofu is god.”


These little slimy guys are always present at a Kiszka gathering. They’re pretty much synonymous with a good time.

Bitchin’ shades

You have to protect your eyes when you’re drunk slurping oysters on the beach. Some reason they always go missing.


This is required for bitchin’ shades.


Perhaps the most comforting comfort food. Also, pairs well with some sushi!