Jacob Thomas Kiszka, the quiet and intense lead guitarist of Greta Van Fleet and twin brother of Josh, was also born on April 23, 1996 in Frankenmuth, Michigan.
Jake, in particular, became engrossed in the rich musical environment of the Kiszka household and became obsessed with the guitar as soon as he could crawl over to it. He started playing guitar at the age of three and would play along to blues songs on an acoustic until he got his first electric guitar around age 12. His father would reward him with nicer guitars as he learned to play harder songs. Jake was in Jazz band in high school, and as well as guitar, he is also self-taught on drums, mandolin, keyboard, harmonica, ukulele, organ and a little bit of saxophone.
Jake is the heart and driving force behind Greta Van Fleet. He would spend hours poring over his parents’ record collection in the basement, usually with younger brother Sam. For Jake, it was “really awe-inspiring when you see this completely surrealistic environment, to see all these people from all over the place come together, and what brought them together was music. That was mind-blowing.” It was Jake who turned that inspiration into Greta Van Fleet in 2012. Jake was destined to be in a band and would have done it anyway, with or without his brothers, according to Sam.
Jake, who prefers rock and roll (it has to include the “roll”), cites Eric Clapton, Elmore James, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Pete Townshend, Jeff Beck, Robert Johnson, and others among his influences.
“I don’t really think we particularly chose it music as a career, as it more so chose us. We’d grown up in a very musically centric household and were sort of automatically drawn to playing music. It was natural for us.” – Go Venue Magazine, December 2017
“I went through a year of really intensely studying what Page did, to the point where I knew how he thought.” – Rolling Stone, January 2018
“I think what separates a guitarist from a great guitarist is his or her ability to apply emotion to what they are doing. It has to come right from your heart through your hands to the guitar.” – Guitar Player, June 2018
“There’s a very transient quality when you are playing. So absolutely, there have been points in my life where I’ve felt depressed or confused or unhappy, and I’ve picked up the guitar to figure things out whenever I’ve felt like that.” – MusicRadar, September 2018
“I was gifted that 61 Les Paul by the CEO of a music store called the Chicago Music Exchange. He invited me over when we were in Chicago and took me up into this room called The Vault,
pulling out all these half million dollar guitars. There was this 1961 Les Paul, which has the same body shape as the SG, that had PAF pickups… in an instant, the moment that guitar was in my hands, there was this transcending moment. I could play things I didn’t know I could actually do and it elevated my abilities. He left me in the room, plugged into a Marshall turned up all the way, and an hour later he came back and just said, ‘That’s yours man, pack it up!’ I’ve been using it ever since, mainly through a Marshall Astoria.” – MusicRadar, September 2018
“We’re not wide-eyed kids looking up at the stars anymore. Now we’re right here in the midst of this, writing our own history.” – Kerrang!, October 2018
“It’s a silly thing to consider anyone a savior of rock ‘n’ roll. In our opinion, no one king can wear that crown. There’s always someone who carries the torch and takes that into the future and interprets that through their influences.” – AP News, January 2019
-Authored by Michelle Dobbins