Greta Van Fleet’s Frontman Feared Spotlight After Coming Out
via Greta Van Fleet / YouTube
In June, when Josh Kiszka, the frontman of the hard-rock revivalists Greta Van Fleet, publicly shared his same-sex relationship of eight years on Instagram, he braced for potential backlash. He admits, “I felt like, ‘Well, I’m going to have a target on my back.’” However, his fears were unwarranted, as his fears gave way to love and support from both fans and the rock community.
The response, he reflects, was overwhelming. As Greta Van Fleet embarked on their world tour for the album “Starcatcher,” Kiszka found himself showered with affirmation and understanding.
He states during a zoom call:
“Everything had been met with love and acceptance and humility and respect, and that was a huge wave of reassurance that things are moving in the right direction,”
The love was particularly evident during their performance in Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, where fans unfurled rainbow flags and illuminated the venue with a rainbow of light.
Kiszka emotionally describes:
“It was really difficult for me to keep it together, and this sounds very deep, but the song took on new meaning in that moment. I explained to the audience that I hope that maybe one day it’ll be irrelevant when [I’m singing] ‘Hate bound by fear will unwind.’ When you say words like that, you realize that you’re in the middle of a movement.”
LGBTQIA+ Community In Nashville
Kiszka’s connection to the LGBTQIA+ community is closely tied to his band’s move to Nashville, Tennessee, where he and his brothers, who make up the band, relocated in 2020. Seeing the state’s legislature targeting LGBTQ rights was the catalyst for Kiszka’s Instagram post.
“Ultimately, when enough injustice [happens], you can’t just stand by and watch it happen any longer. But also, I didn’t want kids that are part of the LGBTQIA+ communities to feel like they’re victims or that they should be frightened.”
For Kiszka, self-expression and individualism are paramount, not just in his advocacy but also in his music. The album “Starcatcher,” the follow-up to 2021’s “The Battle at Garden’s Gate,” was born out of his exploration of these themes.
Producer Dave Cobb recalls Kiszka’s unique approach:
“He came in with this song ‘Sacred the Thread’ and as he’s singing the lyrics, I asked him, ‘What the hell is this song about?’ He goes, ‘Oh, it’s about my jumpsuits.’ That wins all sorts of awards in my book, that he wrote a song about his wardrobe.”
Kiszka’s confidence in self-expression extends to his stage presence, where he sports elaborate capes and jumpsuits. He cites role models like Elton John and Freddie Mercury as influences in embracing his unique style. The impact of his coming out on his audience is profound.
One fan shared online:
“As a gay man, when I was younger, it would have made my life a lot easier if a lot of my heroes like Freddie Mercury or Elton John had come out earlier.”
The impact of Greta Van Fleet’s message of acceptance is undeniable.
Greta Van Fleet’s music has garnered a diverse and evolving fan base. Younger audiences, dressed in sequins and makeup, now make up a significant portion of their concert attendees, reflecting a broader acceptance of individuality. Kiszka recognizes this evolution:
“It’s interesting to see that evolution. Now you get these waves of generations.”
“I heard something from this girl that made me feel really great. She said, ‘I always felt very comfortable as a member of the LGBTQIA+ communities at Greta Van Fleet shows, and this makes it even more obvious that it’s a very safe place for all people to come together and celebrate.’ That’s such a beautiful thing to hear.”
As Kiszka keeps courageously being true to himself, he’s not just pushing the boundaries of rock music; he’s also making sure that the concert stage stays a safe haven where everyone can be themselves and enjoy the celebration of individuality.