Born from the shared love for music and the spirit of rock and roll, Greta Van Fleet rose to prominence, their success powered by the raw energy of their performances. But before they reached the soaring heights of rock stardom, the band navigated its own share of lineup changes, most notably the replacement of their original drummer, Kyle Hauck, with Danny Wagner.
Real Reason For Hauck’s Departure
Kyle Hauck was an integral part of Greta Van Fleet’s formation in 2012. However, the band’s trajectory took a turn in 2013 when Hauck left, marking the end of his tenure with the group. As revealed by former Greta Van Fleet manager Michael Barbee, Hauck’s departure was brought about by a culmination of factors:
“He had some health problems, and there was a sudden drop in his ethics as a member of the band. He was the kind of guy who wanted to be paid to rehearse. He let us down. I had not found out until we were ready to do this show at a club, and he said he had injured his knee, then someone came and told me: ‘I saw him walking normally at the football game last night.'”
Despite these differences, the manager maintained that Hauck’s departure was handled amicably. According to Barbee, Greta Van Fleet and the management aimed for a peaceful resolution:
“There was no fight with Kyle other than the night he appeared and said he could not do the show. I know he must have some not-so-cool things to say about all of us. He never said anything directly to us. We wanted to leave things in the most peaceful state possible. And rock n ‘roll, man. I don’t want to know if your foot is falling, you have to go and introduce yourself. Nobody gets into that shit for free.”
With Hauck’s departure, the drum seat was vacant, and the band needed a replacement. Enter Danny Wagner, who was primarily a guitarist before joining Greta Van Fleet.
Danny Wagner’s Addition To The Band
Wagner was already in the band’s orbit, sitting in on their practices when Hauck was still the drummer. When the opportunity arose, he was called upon to fill the vacancy.
His debut as a drummer with Greta Van Fleet took place at a gig in Detroit. It was after this performance that the Kiszka brothers — Jake, Sam, and Josh — decided to officially welcome Wagner to the band. In the same interview, Barbee recalled the following about Wagner’s introduction to Greta Van Fleet:
“I called Danny, and he was in Detroit. When I got to the show, Danny and his parents were already waiting for me. He was a guitarist, so he had never really been a drummer. But he would replace Kyle on drums. After Danny played with the Kiszka brothers (Josh, Jake, and Sam) that night, they were like, ‘Let’s announce it to him.’ We all drove to Danny, and it was kind of ‘welcome to the group.’ That’s it.”
Since his entry into Greta Van Fleet, Wagner has proven his mettle as a drummer. He’s cited as drawing inspiration from rock legends such as John Bonham and Ringo Starr, translating their styles into his own drumming approach.
The transition from Hauck to Wagner was driven by a mix of health issues, contrasting work ethics, and the quest for a more aligned band dynamic. Through these changes, Greta Van Fleet navigated their way to the successful position they hold in the music industry today. The band is now getting ready to release their new album, ‘Starcatcher,’ on July 21.
Below, you can listen to Greta Van Fleet’s latest release from the upcoming album, ‘The Falling Sky.’