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Aug. 10, 2020

Jake Luhrs of August Burns Red

Jake Luhrs of August Burns Red

Jake Luhrs is the lead singer of Grammy-nominated metal band, August Burns Red and founder of HeartSupport. To date, he has toured hundreds of countries internationally and reached the Top 10 BillBoard charts multiple times. After seeing his fans struggling through addiction, depression, and suicide ideation, he prayed one evening for a way to help his fans and people around the world find hope and faith. The answer to that prayer was HeartSupport. In the short years Jake has been running HeartSupport, he has united bands and fans alike to carry a message of hope, healing, and restoration to a scene that is typically viewed as “dark” and “without hope.” His efforts thus far have led the organization to be nominated twice for philanthropic awards up against the likes of Doctors Without Borders and the American Cancer Society. In 2016 he won the Artist Philanthropic Award at the Alternative Press Music Awards in recognition for his work at HeartSupport. In addition to HeartSupport and his band, he also runs a clothing line company called “More Weight” that inspires others to reach and achieve their health goals through community support.

In this episode, I have a conversation with frontman for the 2-time Grammy Nominated metal band, August Burns Red, the founder of mental health nonprofit, Mr. Jake Luhrs. 


Trevor Tyson  0:02  
Thank you for tuning in to Trevor talks podcast where we talk to real people about real topics and real stories. Today we have the privilege of speaking with one of the guys that I've looked up to for over 10 years. He's the frontman for the two time Grammy nominated metal band, August Burns, red, the founder of heart support the nonprofit organization, Mr. J corps, how are you doing my friend? I'm good man staying busy.

Jake Luhrs  0:26  
But it's the weather's turned. So it's really nice out and I'm excited to take Winston my my dog for a little wa l k.

Jake Luhrs  0:37  
He's sitting right here next to me. And if I were to actually ask him that question, we wouldn't have a good interview because he was bouncing off the walls. So but yeah, me. I'm doing well. Thanks for asking.

Trevor Tyson  0:47  
Do that's awesome. So you've had a lot of downtime with Winston lately. You've been stuck at home?

Jake Luhrs  0:54  
Yeah, yeah. It's nice, I think, for touring musician who's been touring consistently for the past 15 years, being at home for more than two months at a time. Never happened. So. So I'm really soaking up the the fact that I'm at home, and I'm a normal person right now. So I thoroughly enjoy it. And yeah, just like being able to kind of have like a normal routine, and then wake up in the same bed. Every day is like a nice, good feeling, man. Yeah, I

Trevor Tyson  1:29  
get that man. So you were supposed to be on tour right now? Weren't you are just getting off of one, if I'm not mistaken.

Jake Luhrs  1:37  
Yeah. So we were before COVID hit, we were on tour with a band called Killswitch Engage and really excited about that tour. I think our fans had been asking for a tour like that for a long time. And then I know that, you know, it's kind of a bucket list for us, like, we've always wanted to go on the road with kill switch. And just always thought that that would be a good time. And it was for the three days that it lasted. And then COVID shows up and completely, you know, tells us that we had to go home. So yeah, we were supposed to be on the road. And we had tons of tours lined up this year, and they've all gotten postponed and or cancelled. And, you know, the hurtful part, I think, too, is that a lot of these Mom Pop venues aren't going to survive. Yeah, some of them are gonna have to close their doors because of COVID. And then that limits the amount of venues that are open for tours. So when COVID is over, which I'm hoping is soon, like, all these bands are gonna be really hungry to go on the road. And then you know, we're gonna have an oversaturated market. Right? Yeah. And, and even less venues. And then you think probably, you know, only about maybe 60% of music goers are actually going to attend the shows. So it's going to be rough for the industry for a long time. I think. Me personally, I'm not thinking it's really going to get back on his feet until maybe mid year. 2021 Yeah. You know, that's, I think, when people are gonna go okay, safe to come outside. And you know, some of these venues can either reopen or, or come back to life or be birth, you know, and kind of the saturation of the market. That hopefully will trickle out, too. So, there's a lot of, there's just a lot of struggle. Yeah. For musicians. And, you know, I feel for them and, and for business owners, man, it's brutal.

Trevor Tyson  3:47  
Yeah, I know that touring not being able to happen, it takes an impact, a big hit on the economy, with bus drivers, the people, you rent your buses from the people that are supplying the merch that sold the people that you pay to sell the merch. And all of these companies are just kind of out right now. But I think that, like you said, mid 2021 will be back and stronger than ever, and I think it's going to be awesome. I can imagine that some of the biggest tour packages are going to come together. I don't know who you guys are going to tour with. But I just have a feeling that everybody's gonna be like alright, we need people come to shows let's put these catastrophic names together and make some big tours happen. So concert fans are going to get their fix God willing and 2021 But until then, I mean, you're making YouTube videos right now for reaction videos. Heart support, you guys are about to do a one year master class. I'm personally going to be taking the class I think that the curriculum that you guys are going to be going over is just phenomenal and it needs to be heard right now. Can you tell us a little bit about what you guys are gonna go over in that masterclass?

Jake Luhrs  4:59  
Yeah, I mean, we We built this masterclass because we we want people to Well, first we want people to be able to engage their community, and build community and really make an impact. I think that mental health is going to be top priority after COVID And all of this, all these rioting and injustice, and, you know, just what our, our country is going under right now, you know, I mean, there's so much there. And so, the class is really to try to help build the individual that's attending, not only to cultivate community, but all the things that around that, like self care, you know, organizing groups, projects, you know, marketing, writing skills. I mean, basically, my team has been running, like, a well oiled machine for the past, I don't know. I mean, out of the 11 years that we've, we've started this, I'd say, probably a good solid seven, eight years. And so what we want to do is we want to be able to give all of what we know, or what we learned to the individuals that are attending the masterclass. And it goes, like I said, from Marketing, and team leading to, you know, self care, and what does that look like and balance and refuel. And so, there's gonna be a lot of things there, I think, just for people has an individual, and then they can apply that to, you know, if they want to invest in heart support, like how to engage heart support, how to engage people that are hurting, but then apply that to their own dreams and ambitions, you know, like, Oh, I know how to, like self care, which is going to help me you know, strengthen myself in order so that I can commit to, you know, the desires of my heart and actually get the job done. You know, rather than just my dreams being there, before I lay my head down and go to sleep. It's like, you're waking up to him, and you're pursuing, you know, so there's a lot of really, really great, great knowledge and wisdom, there's going to be in these master classes, and everybody in my team is going to be teaching. So it's cool, because you're gonna, you're gonna get different perspectives, you're gonna get different lifestyles, you're gonna get different ways of engaging things. And it's like, if I were to just teach the class, you're not going to get, you're not going to get everything you need. Because I'm just one part of the body, right? Like, how about the fact that we're gonna go over data analysis and analytics and statistics? Like, yeah, that's not my wheelhouse. That's neat helpers, wheelhouse, he's really good at it. So like, he's going to be teaching that, you know, like, how to run marketing and social media, or how to do branding and writing. Ben Sledge is really good at branding. He's very, he's a very good author, writer. And, you know, so so it's, it's really going to be interesting and a lot of fun. And it gives us an opportunity for the people to you know, we have like a small classroom setting online, so people can ask questions, and we can engage each other that way. So I think it's gonna be really a pretty, pretty cool class.

Trevor Tyson  8:19  
So these aren't pre recorded classes. This is going to be a live almost lecture type masterclass. So people are gonna be able to engage with the speaker.

Jake Luhrs  8:28  
Right? Yeah. So they are going to be in a live setting. But if you can't, like let's say, you can't make the class it's going to be recorded at a specific location that only people who purchased the masterclass Can, can obtain it, you know, so, yeah, so, if you can make it live, also, if you can't, don't worry, it's still going to be

Trevor Tyson  8:48  
there. That's awesome, that you're opening it up that people that have like crazy work schedules to where they can actually do the masterclass with you guys now, whether it be a way to, for the people that aren't able to attend the live classes, will they be able to ask questions through some kind of chat room or anything like that to engage?

Jake Luhrs  9:05  
Yeah, yeah, there's gonna be there's gonna it's almost going to be like a group. Like a, like a group, chat, awesome. You know, area, right? So people can, can, you know, not only you're going to be able to converse with the, with the teachers, right? But you're also going to be able to just converse with everybody else in the class, you know, and like, so we're even hoping that like, it would be great, you know, people building relationships, making friends, maybe, you know, doing some sort of collaboration or partnerships with somebody else in the class. I mean, we don't really know exactly to the extent as to like, where it's gonna go, we just know, like, the criteria that we have, and the fact that we feel like a lot of our volunteers at heart support always like how do we engage or what can we do more or what what can we do better? It's like, well, let's offer a masterclass for for people to come and learn more. Are and get all these tools, so that not only do they know where they fit at heart support, but like they can do a better job or a greater job. And then they can apply those same tools and wisdom and knowledge to the outside of their life. You know,

Trevor Tyson  10:17  
that's phenomenal. And the I want to go back talking about the chat room, because that's kind of what defines heart support. That's kind of the root thing that you have online right now, to where people can either go and receive the encouragement they need, or they can take away from that. What what started that, like heart supports a chat room, it's a website, it's a nonprofit, there's so many videos, and it's, it's almost like you, you indirectly started a movement, I don't think you set out to change the world with this you set out to be Jake, and create something that's going to help people and it's just turned into this globally recognized nonprofit. Oh, how did that start out for you?

Jake Luhrs  11:03  
Yeah, it really started out. You know, when I joined August Burns, red, she doesn't six, I made kind of a promise to myself that I would, you know, dedicate time after the show to, you know, just engage my, my fans, you know, and share with them and hear from them. And, and that kind of grew from, you know, maybe five or 10 people at the merch table saying, Hey, man, can I get a picture to me sitting there at the merch table for about two hours, every night talking to, you know, maybe 100 or plus people. And, you know, some people would just want a picture or tell me that they appreciate me, but then others would just kind of confide in me with like, some of the things that they were battling in their life and sharing how my lyrical content or, you know, a song might have kept them sober for six months, or helped them forgive their their father for, you know, the divorce that how brutal he was with the divorce or, or, you know, if someone's going through a nasty breakup, you know, how this song kind of, like, encouraged them to kind of see their self worth and not be willing to get verbally or physically abused in a relationship. I mean, so, like, I just started to see this, this need for people to be honest and open and share about what they're battling. And then, and then I went to, I'm a big faith man, like, I think my faith is pretty much directed my entire life up to from when I was 20, to being 35. And so I was just praying and asking God, like, what can I do to give back to these people, or, or God or this music industry, right. And that's when heart support was created that night in Chicago, and, and it really was, like, Hey, man, go love these people and give them a platform to love one another. And love them unconditionally. And like, that's, that's probably the hardest part for humans is because like, we generally have conditions for almost everything that we do. Yeah. Like, Hey, you want to go to beach? That's hot outside, you know, Hey, man, are you willing to buy that homeless guy? I'm like, a dinner from where we're at here. It's like, it's like 15 bucks a meal, you know? Yeah. You know, hey, what about that? Watch? Don't you like that? Watch? It's gorgeous. How much is it? Right? Like, there's conditions to everything that we do. Yeah, I'm in a relationship, Hey, man, like, she was great. But then you know, she, she went to a party and she kissed another guy. There's your condition, I'm out. Right? Like, so to love people unconditionally is, is a bit of a challenge. But

Jake Luhrs  14:05  
and that's what heart supports about it doesn't matter the color of your skin, it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter what you believe in what you've done, or what's been done to you. You're accepted art support, and because when God accepted me, is the same terms. God didn't care, the Color My Skin, he didn't care he was in love with he didn't care what I believed in what was done or what was done to me. So like, carrying those things into art support and creating that atmosphere really helps people with giving us the authority to speak into their life. So they know that they have a safe place and they're not going to get judged. And that we actually truly care. And that then they see that we're we are willing to love them past what they've done, or any of those other things that I mentioned. It's a really unique place. And there's not really a lot of places like that in the world. Yeah. Um, So I think that's why it grew so rapidly. And it really has not much to do with me. As far as how big that community got, I just, I just set up some chairs and put in a campfire, you know, I mean, yeah, and now all these people were like, Yo, I got some chairs, like, let's, let's get some more people in here. So, um, you know, we do have like resources. And we've written books on self harm, depression, and I have a book devotional that I wrote called mountains. And we have done a lot of interviews, we've partnered with a lot of metal, music festivals, done fundraisers. I'm working on a project that is literally going to bring heart support on the ground, which I'm really excited about, but I can't say anything other than what I just said. Which was too much in the beginning. No, that's awesome. Yeah. You know, and it was funny, because I shared this vision that I have that I'm working on this project. And my friend said, he goes, You know, it's really crazy, man. He goes, I love how, you know, right now, currently, the world is burning, and is in Division, right? And it's just complete chaos. But here you are, over here, just building a place for all those people that when they're done hurting, they can come to, you know, and I just thought that was so cool, man. I'm like, man, like, if we can get more people to build something like that, in their own unique way, right? Like, it's not the Jake Lewis show. I'm just saying people, you know, to build something that and create something out of their own heart, their own desire, their own vision, right? That's going to benefit their communities. Like, man, we could change the world, like we could really, and no one can stop you. Like, this is like, we live in a country that's like, if you've got it, and you got the balls to do it, then go for it. It's like, Alright, great. Well, what if everybody did that? Like, what if everybody was just like, Yeah, I'm just gonna do this, I'm just gonna create this thing. And so that's where that's where I'm at. And like, and that's where I was with heart support. I mean, I was like, I'm just gonna create this thing. And I don't care how big it gets, or how small it gets, or how small it is, but just giving the opportunity. And And now, you know, we have seven full time employees, we have over half a million interactions a month with our community and resources, and social media and videos and content, everything, blogs and stuff. So like, it's really cool. And I think that that's one of the things that I'm mostly proud of, I obviously feel very honored in the position that the music industry has placed my band, they've given us that position. But I think hard support means a lot to me as well, because it's truly, you know, sit there to make an impact and to help people get out of their brokenness or get past a season of their life that they felt, you know, helpless, or, you know, that no one cared, and building camaraderie and brotherhood and sisterhood and, and understanding that love wins. You know, like, the concept of, of love winning and overcoming, and having the power to break conditional love and having the power to break, you know, the hurt and the pain. And I just think that that's cool. And that's a beautiful story. And it can be a beautiful truth in people's lives. If they if they let it be, you know, that they do that.

Trevor Tyson  18:44  
And it's so unique to see somebody using their platform for something other than themselves. So I commend you for just stepping out and creating heart support creating this online platform. And even like you said, going onto the ground and doing things like God's placed that in your life for a reason and heart support. I have a lot of people that come to my social media, and they're like, I'm suicidal. I'm this I'm not like we all have issues. But to a certain extent, there are some issues that you can't be Superman for every single person. So Taylor had your tailor had set up to where people can actually text the heart support number that can text Trevor to that. And y'all do that for a lot of different bands and platforms to be able to give someone that encouragement, give them that resource. Just point them in a direction where they can and go be heard. And it's just, it's one of those things where it's that one piece of resource that you've always wanted and needed, but you never knew what it was. It's taken so much off of myself and then just having somewhere you could send people to know that like, Okay, if I send someone here, they're not going to be judged, they're going to be loved. They're going to be accepted for who they are, whatever color their skin is who they love, like, it doesn't matter, like, everyone is genuinely accepted for who they are here is not only a bunch of Christians, there are people that identify as witches and Muslim. There's people of all walks of faith that heart support. And that's what's so cool about it. Like the first thing when you look up heart support, not com, it's not, Jesus needs to save you. That's not what you're advocating, you're advocating for self help, you're advocating for people to receive help. And if they want to know more about your faith, that's there, too. They can buy the devotional. And I also believe I'll give out free books, resources, for people to be able to go and just to learn, learn about themselves. And one thing that I really wanted to talk to you about is mental health and physical health, because that's been a bridge that you've been tying together with your clothing brand and with your life. I know for a fact that my life physical health is everything. Like if I'm not working out, or at least walking, or running 30 minutes a day, I know that I can expect like, a downturn in my mental health eventually, if you don't create that healthy habit in your life, I honestly find myself being more at risk for anxiety and depression. What does that look like for you and your physical health?

Jake Luhrs  21:28  
Yeah, I mean, I think that physical health is obviously tied to your mental health. And, but I'm actually yeah, I'm actually, it's part of the project that I'm working on too, is like understanding that, right, like getting, getting that through your mind that you know, what you're doing physically how active you are. I think it's just part of, you know, like, the human body that we are, we are supposed to go and be active. We're not supposed to sit in a chair, in front of a desk from nine to five, five days a week, right? So, in a lot of things are connected, like, you know, when you when you work out, when you're exercising, you're loving yourself, you're, you're telling your brain multiple things. One is, you're saying, Hey, I'm gonna go and deliberately make time for me. That's huge. Yeah. You're also saying, Hey, I love myself, right? Like, I'm gonna work on my body, I'm gonna be healthy. And, and it's an act, right? So when you act, and you go exercise, you're also when you're done exercising, you think about what you're eating, you think about, you know, what, what you're gonna do with the rest of your day, and, and you're also transforming your body over time. So like, you know, three weeks, and then you look in the mirror, and you're like, holy smokes, like, wow, like, my body is changing. And you start to see, like, that's, that's just, you know, a small victory, right? But it releases, you know, it releases, you know, chemicals in your brain and in your body. And it like, gets you excited. And, and, you know, your, your endorphins, you know, like, everything's moving when you're exercising. So it's like, it's, it's, it's very therapeutic, like, a lot of people say, like, you never, you never find a fitness goer, in the therapy office. Right? Like, yeah, which I don't agree with that statement. But it's just because they're the gym is their, their therapy session, right? Or some people even say, it's their church, right? Like, they can go there. And they can, they can pray and meditate and exercise, you know. And so, like, I think, I think that it's just really important for people to take into account that their body and their minds are just deeply rooted together. And I don't really have a lot of time to break all that down. But for me, it's huge. Like if I don't work out or exercise or I guess I would say, maybe I'll say it this way. On the days that I do exercise and workout or I've been very active, I feel extremely validated. I feel like I've done something with my day. It could be me working out in the lawn, you know, running around outside sweating. Like, I'm like, Man, I just got some really good, good work done. Yeah. And yeah, if I'm working out and like bloods flowing, you know, like, I'm feeling good. Like, I'm energetic. I'm excited. It wakes me up. Sure. And it gets me fueled and it's like, Hey, man, if you can go tackle the the weights, or you can tackle the, you know, the treadmill, like, you're gonna go tackle everything else in your life, you know? Sure. So yeah, I I think they're both very, very important. And very soon you're going to, you're going to hear more from me on that.

Trevor Tyson  25:08  
Well, I'm excited for that. Hopefully it includes some details about the WA LK with Winston. I think it's I think it's just so phenomenal that, you know, 30 years ago, people had no clue about mental health, like on a generic level, there weren't resources like this, there weren't people on Instagram live doing hot yoga, or Pilates, like there was nobody walking you through that. And especially for you, as a musician, when you're on stage, you're not standing still at all, like I don't, I would throw up after a half of what you do on stage. And I'm sure you burn a lot of calories up there, too. Do you have to work out on days you're playing shows like is that like a requirement? For you.

Jake Luhrs  25:58  
Um, I like to work out as much as I can, on tour. And I usually worked out for about an hour and a half, roughly about an hour before I go on stage. It's about two hours going on stage. And then I'm on stage for about an hour and a half. So as I already is, yeah, I probably worked out, I would say three to five days a week when I'm on the road. Sure. And collectively with the gym and being on stage, I definitely break through over 1000 calories a day. Roughly, I think it's between six and eight onstage. And then between three and six on in the gym. So yeah. It's funny, because it's like, the gym prepares me for the show. Yeah, like what I was saying, like, if you go into the gym, and you're excited and you work out, and it's a good workout, then whatever you're going to do next, you're going to enjoy it. You know, it's like, sometimes, like my roommate that was he was downstairs, he wakes up and works out at seven in the morning. And that's just the what he does, because then the rest of his day is gonna go well, because he feels good. You know, his minds, awake, he's awake. He feels good about his body, you know, and encourages his mindset to go tackle whatever it is that he's got to do for the day. So yeah, so the so the gym is basically the same thing for me. I'll go find a gym, local area, down the street from the venue, I'll work out for about an hour, hour and a half. I'll come back, I'll do my prayer and meditation, my stretching, change, get on my growth show close. And then I'll rip on that stage and I'm I'm excited, I'm ready to be there, you know, to be there. You know, it's a little more challenging when i i Take a nap in the middle of the day, and then I wake up and it's like, oh, no, I gotta get ready for here. I gotta get ready to go run on stage and be this lunatic that everybody is expecting me to be you know, it sounds like so yeah, man. It's, it's, it's a thing. It's a thing, man. But you know, and even like, mental health, I think has gotten such a, there's such a silly, like, perspective, or it's like it was taboo. And then it was like, Oh, if you talk about mental health, like all of a sudden, you're suicidal, or you're a crazy person, or you're this or that, right? Yeah. And it's like, no, like, there are so many different levels of mental health. So I went to go help my friend load up mulch in my truck last week. And, um, we went to the mulch site, and I'm shoveling mulch into the, into the bed of my truck, and he's helping me. I said, Hey, man, like, how have you been? I've been talking to you for like, I don't know, a month or whatever. And he's like, oh, you know, it was kind of tough, you know, when we first the COVID thing, and, you know, because, like, couldn't play hockey. I couldn't play golf. And you know, it wasn't going out anywhere. I was staying home. We're having a conversation about his mental health. Yeah, you know what I mean? And he's like, Yeah, you know, kind of got down and out. Okay, there's mental health, right, like, but, you know, once we open up the golf again, like I was able to go out and be you know, active. Okay, great. Your mental health, right, like, so like, for some reason, people just automatically they don't want to share, because then they don't want to be judged or looked upon as though they're not normal. But what people don't get is that the mental health is normal. It's your mental health. It's everyone has a mental state in their mind as to how they perceive themselves and how they perceive other people. They all have wounds whether that's someone broke their trust, or they were hurt physically or mentally by someone, or they were manipulated into thinking something and they were tricked. Like, those things are a part of your mental health. And so what we're trying to do is we're trying to just show people that even in conversation when you're asking someone, how's your day? That's literally a mental health question. But people don't see it that way they know, you know,

Trevor Tyson  30:30  
it's almost like a routine now. Like, how was your day? You're not really expecting? factual answer nine times out of 10, you're gonna get good, great or bad. Nobody's really going to, it's not even a conversation piece anymore. It's almost like we've made it a routine. And I've made it a habit of like, how are you doing? No, really? How are you doing? Like, is there anything you need to talk about? Even with my brothers, they're like, these big macho dudes. And you know, don't want to show any emotion. until like, it's that last straw and like, I'm trying to be as encouraging as I can as someone that's walking in their faith and just being like, hey, like, if you ever need anything, I'm here. I understand. Like, it's kind of foreign to talk about your mental health. But you know, I'm always here for you. And even if friends are struggling, whether they're they just got laid off at work, or something got leaked on the Internet, or whatever it is, like, I've lost two close friends to suicide. Last year, my friend Jared took his wife and a few years ago, my friend Amy took her wife and the weird thing about that is they were both these world renowned mental health advocates aiming for Project semicolon and Jared for anthem of help anthem of hope. And it I remember both of the days and how I heard so drastically, but one thing that I had to work through is the day before I talked to Jared and I didn't think to ask like you like really? You doing good? Like, are you doing okay? Like, we'd talk about mental health, but I would never ask about suicide. I would never like are you struggling with that? Now, I thought that was something that was behind. And so now like, even with people that I think are look at my head as like, oh, it's common sense that they're not struggling with suicide, they're advocates against it. Like, even the other day, I had to reach out to someone like, I know you're an advocate against suicide openly. But I know this is going on, I just want you to know that I'm here. Like, if you don't feel like you could talk to your wife. I'm here. I want to talk. Right? Like, everybody's like, I wish I could have told Chester Bennington this, I wish I could have told their favorite hero who took their life this. Start acting on it. Like even if it's just a check in. Like, we need to be more intentional when it comes to mental health. And these hard conversations like right now, in our state of mind. It's like everyone is combating injustice and racism head on right now. That's gotta be affecting some people's mental health, like we need to check in on each other. And we're still in the middle of a global pandemic. And it's ironic to me, your album, guardians, you watched it? At the beginning of a pandemic. It wasn't planned like that. But the name guardians for some reason just sticks with me. It's almost like for me, like God's my guardian, but with past interviews I've watched getting ready for RSS like heart support is that for some people? Can you explain to us where the name guardians came from? And kind of the message behind it?

Jake Luhrs  33:55  
Yeah, I think we were going to use that for one of the songs like a title for one of the one of the tracks, but then, as we started to, like really sit back and look at all the lyrical content and what it was focusing on. We thought guardians would be a great title for the actual album. And the reasoning for that is that the lyrical content on Guardians is really focused on community and unity, like coalesce and you know, putting aside your, your judge your judgments and choosing just to love people, for where they're at. And so, we wanted people to understand that we could all be guardians, for for others, like, you have the ability to like, love someone, you have the ability to protect someone, to nurture somebody to help them when they are when when they're in need. Right and those are, you know, those are things that a guardian does, you know, they provide, they protect, they secure, they, they nurture or nourish. And I think we really wanted to, like, send that message to our music scene and our in our people. Because I think we overtime and just seen so much division. And then COVID happened. And we're like, Well, if we don't release this album, now, it's gonna, it's gonna harm our fan base. More, because this is what they need right now. Yeah, they need to understand, like, hey, you need to, like, not worry about you, as much as you could worry about the people around you that really need help. Sure. And, and now we have this, you know, injustice thing going on with all this writing and the police and, you know, black lives matter. And here you go again, you know, like, you can choose to be a guardian. For the black community, you know, you can choose to be the guardian for people who are who are battling with justice, you know, like, it's like, you know, like, there's, there's so much hurt right now, for so many people. And it's like, you don't need to understand them to love them. I think that's what you don't, like, I'm not a black man. And I and, and I don't know what that's like, and I don't ever know what that is gonna be like. Now, you know, I did live in government housing, where I was actually, you know, there was me and one other white kid, right. And I learned about a culture that was that was oppressed. And that was that didn't have really the opportunities, let's say as as, as you and I now, right? But I'll but um, but I'm not a black man. And I never will be. I'm not a black woman. You know, I'll never know what that's like. Yeah, but I don't necessarily, but that doesn't mean that I can't love them, or help them or walk beside them. You know what I mean? Like, yeah, like, black lives matter. And then people were like, well, all lives matter. It's like, we understand, we do understand that. Like, no one's saying that no one's life matters. But right now, the black community is under attack. And they're just in need of help. Sure, right. And police are in need of help. There's a lot of great policemen, that that need that need our help, and need our love. And what really needs to happen is that I think we as people need to take a good look at how we're treating each other, and how the government and the systems are built, and maybe think twice about how they're built and rebuild them. Yeah. Because, you know, the police force, maybe we need to reevaluate what it takes to be a police officer, what are the qualifications? How long do they need to have school? And what's the limitations and requirements and boundaries in law, right? Like, maybe just kind of relook at some of the stuff because it's gotten out of hand. And the people who are getting hurt are, are the innocent? Sure. And and the people who are who are staying out of the way, but continuously getting gaining control are the ones who are not innocent. Yeah, you know. So, there's a lot of work there. But But, but how we can start this movement is by showing people, Hey, mental health is important. How's your mental health, and talk about mental health because

Jake Luhrs  38:56  
what we end up doing is, we verbally speak out, our hurt, our pain, and then through community, we start to learn how to love ourselves, and learn how to love in general, what does love look like? How can how to give love how to offer love? And then the deeper we go, the more we see how we're not the greatest human on Earth. We are selfish, we are prideful, we do self selfish acts that hurt others without even thinking about it. And the more you can see that, then the more you could go, man, I know that that person's life is messy, whether I know them or not, because I know what a human being is. And I also know that a messy person, like me, needs love. And so that person isn't my enemy. That person is hurting. Right? And think about that, if we were to just be able to instill that in our police force, that person is not your enemy, that person is hurting it, those two perspectives, the outcome, the response that you have, is going to be completely different based on the perspective that you have, right? So it's like, if we could just start there, then we could create something that actually makes an impact. But you've got to invest in people. And people don't, there's no money in that. Yeah. There's nothing, there's, there's no money in investing in people. People love to start nonprofits and say, this is a problem, right? But then when it's like, okay, then spend six weeks with this person day and night and share and, and help and love and encourage, sacrifice your weekends. And by the way, you have to go raise money for this to do this. Right. Like, people are like, think so you know? And that's, that's because you don't really give it. Yeah, and, and so that's the problem, we've gotten into a place where we want something and we want it now. And we don't have patience for anything. And, and the I want I want game with no patience is, is not very beneficial to the, I need to give, I need to wash this person's feet. You know, like, I just did an interview. And he asked me what I do for a living and like, when it comes down to it with art support, that's what I do. I watch people's feet. I, I find the individual, I talk to people, and I look at where they're hurting, and then I tried to serve them and love them in that area. Right? And if we could get more on board with that mentality, then we might actually be able to turn this thing around. But it's going to be up to us. Yeah. And and you know, we can blame the old government, and we can blame the old heads all we want. And maybe we and maybe that that'll work out for us for a little bit. But then when they're all dead, and they're all gone, and they're all out of office. Are you gonna blame them? Yeah.

Trevor Tyson  42:14  
And you know what she just said, it's like, for some reason, these two lyrics come to mind, we all hurt, we all need, we all cry, we all bleed. But then also off of lighthouse, people everywhere hurting. Like, that's so true. And you didn't write those for the intention of what's going on right now. But here we are having this conversation like people are fighting for justice. People are fighting for equality. People are fighting for these topics that need to be discussed, they're fighting for conversation, they just want to be heard. And like you said earlier, people are using all lives matter, almost as a debate between Black Lives Matter and all lives matter. They're like, yeah, all lives matter. But all lives can't matter. until black lives matter. Black lives matter is classified under all lives. So let's address where that's hurt. If I saw someone made image of like one house on fire in a neighborhood and a fire department, Trump pulling up and start spraying down all the houses in the neighborhood that makes no sense at all, if the black community is under attack, that's why Black Lives Matter is that thing, this is why you see it painted on the streets in DC. This is why every news station is covering it. Black lives do matter. But also, police officers matter. Their families matter. You don't target one person. It's almost like what I've been seeing this morning, is people are trying to fight racism with another form of racism. And it's not just an it's not the black community that as a whole saying police officers need to die. No, that's not at all what's going on at all. But this is where the media comes into play. And I'm not like a fake media ad. Like, I'm not saying that at all. What I'm saying is, everybody has their own interpretation of things. But it's up to us what we believe what we allow in our ears, what we allowed what ourselves to watch, and how we partake in things. So if somebody's listening this and they feel like they want to make some noise in the mental health space, do it Start a social media page, start doing lives reach out to heart support, see if there's something that you can volunteer with. If you feel like you want to start a band and share a message that way, do it like nobody's stopping you from that. So even with all this time on our plate, we have to remember why we do what we do. You've shared with us why you do what you do. I wake up in the morning, I don't have a plan B like I know that I want to try to encourage someone whether it's through Do graphic content interviews or just whatever I'm doing, I want it to glorify God, A and B, encourage someone to get out of a dark spot. And it's just phenomenal to see all the work you're putting in to make people feel that way. Get to that place, if they're struggling with mental health rising above that, that's the message.

Jake Luhrs  45:24  
Yeah, yeah, thanks, man. It is, it's, it's just, we're just in a place right now where we need each other. And the only way it's going to change is if everyone's willing to make that change. And, and the thing is, is that people have a choice, right? Like, some people say, you know, there's the there's like, if you're not saying anything about Black Lives Matter, you're racist, you know, or if you're staying silent, you're complicit, you know? Yeah, it's like, I understand, I initially understand what they're trying to say, right? Like, hey, like this is, this is something that we need to talk about. And if you're not willing to talk about it, then something's wrong with you. But like, we do have a choice. And what I would prefer, what I would love to see is that people stop talking. Like, I'm, I'm really thinking that people should just shut up, everyone should just stop talking. And if you want to speak, do it with your hands. You know, do with your feet, like, Don't post all Black Lives Matter picture, and then feel good about yourself, if you really care. But there's also a lot of other things in the world that we need to fix, and that we need help with. So it's like, Whatever, whatever it is that you're passionate about, in helping somebody don't say it, just go do it. Right, I guess is what I'm saying. Yeah. Because because, like, you know, you have a community around you posting something on social media that everyone else is posting, doesn't do anything. It doesn't do anything. It might get the it might get the bullies off your back, or the little trolls that are gnawing at your feet, you know, yeah, well, you didn't post anything, so you must be racist, you know, like, okay, dude, like, Get off of me get away from me. Why are you even in this room? And those are the people that are the worst, because they're not helping? Yeah, they're breathing more division. It's like, it's like, we don't need more division. Thank you. We have enough. Yeah. Right. And that

Trevor Tyson  47:43  
the conversation they're trying to have. They're trying to fight fire with fire.

Jake Luhrs  47:48  
Yeah, it's so counter productive. And it's like, but like, if we can, if people can get stirred up about what they think they can do to give back to the community, it's going to help, it's going to help, just don't use your words, we need you to do it. We need everyone to do it. And then you really want to see the government freak? Well, they're going to start freaking out when when they're shoving stuff down your throat to try to aggravate you put, you're too busy knowing your neighbors so well that like that is obviously not real for us, and we're not gonna pay attention to that. And we're not gonna give you control because you don't get to control the narrative. We do. And we've chosen to do so. You know what I mean? Yeah, so that's what I'm praying for. I'm praying that people actually get off the couch, put their phone down, go outside, walk two feet to the next door neighbor, knock on the door and say, Hey, is there anything I can do for you? because life's too short to be around Yeah, and and I feel like I feel like we can get somewhere together.

Trevor Tyson  48:55  
Do this phenomenal now everyone that's listening now this is Jake worse from the band August Burns Red. You could check out their new album guardians, wherever you stream your music, but I'd prefer you go buy it if you're listening to this and want to go the extra mile. And be sure to be looking out for the heart support masterclass. Go look them up on social media at heart support. And we'll see you there

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Jake LuhrsProfile Photo

Jake Luhrs

Jake Luhrs is the lead singer of Grammy-nominated metal band, August Burns Red and founder of HeartSupport. To date, he has toured hundreds of countries internationally and reached the Top 10 BillBoard charts multiple times. After seeing his fans struggling through addiction, depression, and suicide ideation, he prayed one evening for a way to help his fans and people around the world find hope and faith. The answer to that prayer was HeartSupport. In the short years Jake has been running HeartSupport, he has united bands and fans alike to carry a message of hope, healing, and restoration to a scene that is typically viewed as “dark” and “without hope.” His efforts thus far have led the organization to be nominated twice for philanthropic awards up against the likes of Doctors Without Borders and the American Cancer Society. In 2016 he won the Artist Philanthropic Award at the Alternative Press Music Awards in recognition for his work at HeartSupport. In addition to HeartSupport and his band, he also runs a clothing line company called “More Weight” that inspires others to reach and achieve their health goals through community support.