Greta Van Fleet's Jake Kiszka cut off the tip of his brother Sam's thumb when they were kids – now it's perfect for bass playing

Greta Van Fleet
(Image credit: Daniel Knighton/Getty Images)

In Greta Van Fleet, one of the world's biggest classic rock revival bands, the bond between brothers Jake and Sam Kiszka is palpable. But their relationship hasn't been without its hiccups over the years.

As they recall in a new interview with The SDR Show, when they were young kids – Jake nine and Sam six – Jake accidentally lopped off the tip of Sam's thumb while they played in the backyard.

The details, Sam admits, are hazy, although he remembers the pair “making stuff in the yard” – as kids do – and Jake playing with a jack-knife – perhaps as young children shouldn't do. “I was trying to teach you a life lesson,” Jake laughs.

While the incident may have been gory, time heals all wounds, and as Sam now explains, the dent where the remainder of his thumb used to be now makes for a perfect surface for playing bass guitar. This is because his thumb now has a flat tip, meaning it's more comfortable to rest on the instrument while playing fingerstyle. So there you go.

Last year, hot on the heels of their second studio album, The Battle at Garden's Gate, Jake Kiszka sat down with Guitar World to discuss the comparisons – sometimes negative – that are often drawn between Greta Van Fleet and their classic rock predecessors – Led Zeppelin, for example.

“I think it has to do with age, really,” the guitarist said. “Critics are hard to press, in particular to the Zeppelin reference, which we’re humbled by. We’re honored by that affiliation, but there’s a point within factions of society that are drawn to ignorant criticism.

“It’s just something we’ll never be a part of contributing to. The loud minority will never speak for the quiet majority. That’s something Joe Bonamassa mentioned to me once, and I believe it’s pretty accurate.”

But ultimately, any negative attention has done little to knock GVF off course. “It feels as if we're dealing with things that other artists would normally encounter a decade into their careers,” Kiszka continued. “To be honest, we don’t feel a lot of pressure because we’re four guys who are creating what we want.”

Alongside Architects, Pantera, Mammoth WVH, Volbeat and Five Finger Death Punch, Greta Van Fleet have been announced as a support act on Metallica's upcoming M72 world tour, which is set to commence in 2023.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month*

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Sam is a Staff Writer at Guitar World, also creating content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar (opens in new tab).