Jake J and the Killjoys are a heavy industrial band from Nashville, TN founded in 2017 under the creative direction of Jake Johnson. Debuting their unique sound in their sophomore album, the Odium Opera released in 2020, Jake J and the Killjoys are a seamless mix of timeless hard rock vocals and heavy hitting industrial sound. Jake Johnson is the band’s vocalist and lead guitarist as well as being the creative force behind Jake J and the Killjoys. He has brought together some amazing talent to bring his vision of the Killjoys to life. Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Jake and the Killjoys are currently working on their third studio album bringing Jake’s love and passion for hard hitting music with a flair for horror to life.
Music infiltrated every aspect of young Jake Johnson’s life from learning to make chords on the guitar with his dad to moving to New Jersey at eight years old and learning more advanced techniques from his step dad, Hugh McDonald, the bassist for Bon Jovi. He showed an undeniable talent from someone so young, and many great players took him under their wing, mentoring the young man and helping him develop his skills. Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, Alice Cooper, Doc McChee and Desmond Child all took an interest in Jake and encouraged him to make music of his own.
Jake left Utah for Nashville, Tennessee in 2016 to work on refining a sound he was just starting to embrace. Jake J and the Killjoys debuted in 2017 and opened for Bon Jovi, KISS, Bret Michaels, Ratt, Blue Oyster Cult, April Wine and Vince Neil, just to name a few. They played at the Bridgestone arena, the Vivint Smart Home Arena, the KISS Kruise, but even with acclaimed reception to his music and an impressive show record under his belt, Jake wanted a sound that was more authentic to who he was. He had always loved industrial and heavier music, and in Nashville he found the inspiration and inner turmoil to manifest that sound in himself.
According to Jake, before Nashville he had lived a comfortable and easy life. He had never known real anger and pain, but Nashville brought him a new appreciation and awareness of the difficulties in personal relationships, traumatic events, and life. For the first time he found himself frustrated, scared, and alone. Rather than give in or turn around, Jake embraced his suffering and turned it into a sound that reflected the passion and emotion that had engulfed his soul.
His music became darker, grittier and more aggressive, and in the spring of 2020, after taking a year long break to work on nothing but developing his sound and music, The Odium Opera debuted. This all original rock opera tells the story of Jake’s time in Tennessee and his journey of self discovery and pain through the medium of music. Jake tapped into a universal concept that when you reach deep inside yourself, when you feel pain you think you will not be able to endure, you may come out the other side of the experience alive, but that doesn’t not mean you will be unscathed. What lies on the other side of our comfortable lives may be a darker side of ourselves that terrifies us and forces us to choose not who, but what, we are meant to be.
Jake J and the Killjoys are currently recording new material that promises to be darker and heavier than before. It seems that Jake J and the Killjoys have chosen what they are meant to be.