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Steven Wilson slams ‘abysmal', 'third-rate Led Zeppelin impersonators' Greta Van Fleet

Steven Wilson and Greta Van Fleet's Josh Kiszka © Getty

Progressive rocker Steven Wilson has savaged Greta Van Fleet calling them “terrible” and “like a boy band version of Led Zeppelin.”

The former Porcupine Tree frontman recently sat down for a wide-ranging chat with Denmark's "myROCK" podcast when he was asked whether he likes his career “being in the shadows” or would he "prefer to be recognised in the mainstream?”

Despite selling out multiple nights at the Royal Albert Hall and having a fervent fanbase, the host pointed out to Wilson that he could be “the most successful artist that no one knows.”

Wilson responded: “If you make something you’re really proud of, the natural instinct is to want to share it with as many people as possible. In a way the more people that appreciate what you do the more validated you feel.

“Now, of course, that’s kind of facile in the sense that we see the biggest audiences in the world for the most banal, sh***y music. And sometimes the best music has a smaller cult audience. But there are examples in history, of course there are many, many examples in history where the most extraordinary music has reached the biggest audiences; The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Who (and) more recently bands like Muse, Radiohead, bands I really admire have reached massive audiences.

“And I’ve always thought to myself ‘well, why couldn’t I achieve that too?’ I’m not saying I’m as good as those artists but I think potentially y’know I could reach an audience like that.”

He added: “So, there’s an element of always like the frustration is always there that if I’d had a little bit more recognition from mainstream media it would have been easier than it has been. So, although I do sell a good amount of tickets and I sell a good amount of records it’s been very much a struggle for 25 years to build up to this point whereas I see some bands get all the help and all the recognition, all the assistance of massive media exposure almost from the very beginning of their career.”

Highlighting Greta Van Fleet as an apparent prime example of this, Wilson added: “I mean that terrible band Greta Van Fleet. Do you know that band? I think they're absolutely abysmal. I think they're terrible. I think it's a joke.

“But they are an example of a band, because they're pretty young boys, they look like a boy band, 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.

“And I don't believe for one minute that anyone will even remember who they are in 10 years. Now, I might be wrong — maybe they'll prove me wrong. Maybe they'll suddenly develop into a good band and make a good record. But the point is, at the moment, they're not. They're a bunch of good looking… they’re like a boy band version of Led Zeppelin."

He continued: “Now, look, when you look and you see that… listen I understand why that happens. I’m not naïve. I understand that a lot of the industry is based around being young, pretty, having the right kind of image and all that stuff. And I've never had any of those things. I've never been pretty. I mean, I have been young, but I'm not young now, so I understand. I'm 51 years old.

“That's not gonna work for me. So there is this frustration that the media has been slightly resistant to what I do and I feel as though I’ve been working against that – bashing my head against that wall.”

In January, Greta Van Fleet singer Josh Kiszka has called for an end to their Led Zeppelin comparisons saying it’s time to “move on.”

“Obviously we hear the similarity (to Led Zeppelin),” Kiszka told Rolling Stone. “That’s one of the influences of ours. But at this point it’s like, ‘Okay, we’ve acknowledged that. Let’s move on.'”

Greta Van Fleet tour the UK this November after they were forced to postpone their March dates due to singer Josh Kiszka contracting an upper respiratory infection.

Steven Wilson’s last studio album ‘To the Bone’ was released in August 2017. His live album, 'Home Invasion', recorded at London's Royal Albert Hall, will be released as a deluxe 5LP vinyl edition on Friday 29th March. 

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