DSB Interview: With 13-years-old guitarist – Jake Thistle

DSB Interview: With 13-years-old guitarist – Jake Thistle

Jake Thistle - Interview for Dire Straits Blog.

Jake is new young guitarist which already is on the road to became one of the greatest. However, everyone wants to be music star or best known guitarist like some names which we have it today.

Jake sent us video where he played “Sultans of Swing” – song which is hard for play especially for a guy who have 13 years. That amazed us, and we contact Jake for a possible interview for DSB. He accepted and told us interesting stuff about his music career and his stories with guitarists that he met.

He told us that he already had some interviews for other magazines and websites. It would be interesting for his new fans and for our readers. Because our readers want to be with every news connected with Dire Straits, today we present you this young wonderful guitarist. Below is whole interview. Enjoy!


DSB: Jake, you are very young musician and probably you’re already on the ‘road’ to be good guitarists, because you have talent. This would be interesting for all Dire Straits fans and readers of DSB, so please tell us how older are you and where are you from?

Jake: Thanks very much for the compliment! I just turned 13, and I’m from New Jersey (USA).

DSB: You sent us link from video where you playing “Sultans of Swing” on electric guitar. How was the feeling on that gig? Did you feeled something magic while you playing that song?

Jake: It’s always a great feeling. I play out at gigs 3-4 times a week, especially this time of year. I love to help people have a good time by playing, and Sultans of Swingis always a great for a couple of reasons: 1) It just feels great to play with a band. I play a lot of gigs by myself, and I still play the song – but playing it with a band is special, because it’s great to hear all of the music come together, especially in a song like this. It’s a great song to jam, too…because it’s about a struggling band. 2) People just love the song, and always really have a good time with it!

Sultans of Swing (Dire Straits cover at Bardi's)

Had a great time at Bardi's Grill last night with Vince Genella. I was happy to be the featured performer– but it was an awesome night with so many talented people there– it was amazing! Here's a song that's always fun to play– Sultans of Swing. Hope you like it. I'll put some others up during the week, too.

Posted by Jake Thistle Music on Monday, July 10, 2017

DSB: From what age did you started to playing guitar?

Jake: A friend gave me a guitar when I turned nine, and I went on YouTube to learn how to play. Six months later, I asked my parents if I could play for people and we found a place where I played for about 200 people…I loved it and I’ve been playing for people ever since.

Not long after that, I played at a bar with Dave Gellis, the lead guitarist for Blood, Sweat and Tears. We got along great, so he gave me my first in-person lessons for six months before he went back on tour. I’m very thankful that so many awesome musicians have taken the time to teach me things including other great guitarists like Lou Pallo, Steve Lucas, Vince Genella, Thomas Gilbert, Maxx Blois-Rosetti, and more – all of the talented, experienced players who took the time to teach me something. Without those guys taking an interest in my playing, I wouldn’t have been able to do a lot of the cool things I love. I’m still young, but I try to mentor younger players, too, and I always will because I know how much that means to me.

With Dave and Jeff Gellis, both from Blood, Sweat and Tears

DSB: Did you have your future musician plans?

Jake: Well, you never know! The music industry is changing, but I know that I’m going to keep playing and doing what I love. I recently got back from my first gig in the UK, which was an amazing time. And before that I was able to play at Radio City Music Hall, which was incredible. I’d love to do more of those kinds of things! I play a lot to help raise money for charity, and I’ll keep doing that. I love to give back and help people whenever I can, especially through music. So, I’ll just keep working to get better and keep playing and we’ll see what happens. But I’ll be playing, no matter what.

DSB: Who is your biggest support?

I’ve gotten a lot of support from a lot of people, and I appreciate it. My parents know that playing is important to me and they give me a lot of support. The deal is that they’ll keep driving me to my gigs as long as I keep getting really good grades in school. So far, so good! And other musicians have been really great, like I said. I don’t have any one “teacher,” but all the people I play with take time to teach me important things about music and playing.

DSB: Please, tell us the whole story about you and Lou Pallo?

Jake: Lou is a great guy. He’s a legendary guitar player who even has is own signature Gibson Les Paul model. He played guitar for Les Paul as part of the Les Paul Trio, and he’s played with a ton of greats, like Keith Richards, Steve Miller, Slash, Joe Walsh, Billy Gibbons and many, many others. Anyway, I first played with Lou at a bar about two years ago, and I’ve played with him a lot since. Last month, he invited me to play with him at a concert that was a tribute to him, and I was really honored to do it. After the show, we sat down and that was when I got a chance to hold the very first Les Paul Goldtop from 1952. It was Les Paul’s Les Paul. It felt like holding magic.

Thanks to Lou Pallo for asking me to play the Tribute to Lou Pallo concert today! What a great time with amazing musicians! Lou is a guitar legend, and this is a special picture– Here’s me and Lou…and I’m holding the very first Les Paul Goldtop from 1952. This was Les Paul’s Les Paul!

DSB: Who are your musical influences?

Jake: So many. I don’t really like a lot of “new” music, but I really try to learn as much as I can from the great music of any time. Obviously, Dire Straits has a special sound that’s really cool and that I’d like to incorporate into my music..but I also try to learn from Robert Johnson from the 1920’s to Hank Williams in the 1940’s…and onto Sinatra, Elvis, Dylan, The Beatles, Springsteen and on and on.

But my first big influence was Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. I saw them play the Super Bowl Halftime Show when I was three and I was hooked. That’s how I know all of this music– after that Super Bowl, I’d go on YouTube and watch Tom Petty videos, and then YouTube would recommend similar artists. So, that’s how I started working my way through all of these great classic artists like Dire Straits.

Amazingly, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers saw my videos online and sent me tickets to their show as a Christmas gift this year. The show was a couple of weeks ago (Joe Walsh opened!), and they brought me backstage to hang out and talk music. They all knew me and couldn’t have been any cooler. It was absolutely incredible! John Hiatt is another really big influence – he’s an amazing songwriter, and I was really fortunate to play the encore at one of his sold-out shows last year. He’s a great guy.

DSB: Which famous musicians have you learned from?

Jake: I talked about a lot of that in my last answer, but I try to take things from a lot of different places. I learn my watching and listening. So, when I watch and listen to Dire Straits, it’s really about the songs and the timing and the style…and Mark’s guitar work! He has a particular style, so I try to learn from that to see how I can make it work.

Playing with John Hiatt

Same with other great guitar players like, Mike Campbell, Joe Walsh, Steven Van Zant, Les Paul, George Harrison…the list goes on and on across a lot of styles of music. I feel like I can learn from so many people– and I really try to!

DSB: What was the first tune(s) you learned?
Jake: The very first song I learned was “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty. Ever since that Super Bowl, I wanted to learn that one, so it was first. But when it came to songs with unique guitar solos, the first ones I learned were “Sultans of Swing”, “Layla” and “Life’s Been Good”. They all have such classic guitar styles and really stood out to me.

DSB: When was the first time when you listened Dire Straits and which song was that?
Jake: I found them on YouTube when I was nine. I came to this music on my own, but when I was listening to “Sultans of Swing” my dad came in and said that he always loved that song. He said that he thought it was too tough for me to learn back then, so it was one I wanted to learn to show that I could do it.

DSB: Favorites classic songs from Dire Straits?
Jake: Brothers in Arms, Walk of Life, Romeo and Juliet, Money for Nothing and Sultans of Swing are probably my favorites.

DSB: Your favorites guitarists?
Jake: That’s a big list!  Mark Knopfler, obviously….but here are a few more: Mike Campbell, Joe Walsh, George Harrison, Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

DSB: Did you play on other music instruments?
Jake: I mostly sing, play guitar (electric and acoustic) and harmonica…but I also play some piano, bass and mandolin.

DSB: What is your motto in life and what is that which motivates you to continue with good vibes and positive energy in life?

Jake: I don’t know…but I’ve been able to do a lot of cool things. My dad always says that’s because “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”. And I think that’s true. I work hard and I try to be ready for anything. So when I get a chance to do something, I’m excited and feel ready. I try to find ways to say “yes” when opportunities come up, because when you do things, even more things come your way.

DSB: And for the end can you tell something to all fans who read the Dire Straits Blog?

Jake: You guys like great music! I know I’m young, but I think it’s important to keep this kind of music going, and that’s what I’m working to do. So, thank you for continuing to care about real music made by real people, and not just by some music corporation. You are what’s keeping real music alive. If I’m able to make good enough music, I hope I’m lucky enough to have fans like you guys someday.

If you want to follow me on my Facebook page (Jake Thistle Music), I post where I’ll be playing and music videos, including some new (to me) Dire Straits stuff I have planned. Thanks for the support!

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