In a new exclusive Alternative Nation interview series, former Greta Van Fleet manager Michael Barbee discussed the band. Yesterday in Part 1, Barbee revealed why Greta Van Fleet’s original drummer really was fired from the band. if he felt Greta Van Fleet’s star power was fading at all, despite their massive success with a Grammy win and major 2019 tour. Barbee currently manages Lovely Sand Dunes.
“To me, it was the energy of ‘Black Smoke Rising’. Everything was new, they were at home writing the stuff in the garage. It was the atmosphere. With sales dropping, I don’t know if anyone’s sales have been doing well for over the past twenty years. I think the bad reviews had something to do with that. I could care less about Pitchfork, but that stuff resonates with people. They have a lot of Led Zeppelin fans, and when the Led Zeppelin fans don’t get Led Zeppelin songs, they’re like ‘I’m disappointed. I still love you guys, but I’m disappointed.’
They still had some songs off the new album that reached #1, but if you look at which ones they are, they’re songs that would’ve fit on ‘Black Smoke Rising.’ When they canceled those shows as well, I don’t think that helped either. So, again, I think they just gave people something that they weren’t prepared for. Between that and canceled shows, I think naturally, when you take two months off, you gotta climb back up because that momentum’s lost. Now you have to play catch up.”
Barbee continues, stating that the group was not “remotely ready” for Saturday Night Live, and that the performance ultimately hurt the group, and that they should have waited another year.
“For whatever reason, Rolling Stone gave them a bad review at the end of the year. They did that article ‘Why Rock music sucked in 2018,’ and they mentioned Greta. I don’t know what’s been going on behind the scenes since the album dropped, but I still give a shit. That’s the band I discovered and gave them to the right people, but it’s concerning. You see it. I don’t know. I wish I knew. You can point your finger at different things. This didn’t help, that didn’t help.
Then Saturday Night Live happened way too soon. I don’t think they were remotely ready for that, so I think that hurt them. Saturday Night Live should have waited another year. It didn’t go well. It’s a lot to take in for being young guys. You just dropped an album, everyone’s cramming you, now you’re on Saturday Night Live and you’re not home anymore. It’s a lot to take in.”