Interview: Jibe's Joe Grah on 'Epic Tales of Human Nature'
Screamin' Aardvark Records

Dallas, Texas rock band, Jibe, are back with their fourth studio album Epic Tales of Human Nature, which came out on June 9. The album is produced by Matt Noveskey (Blue October) and mixed by Grammy award-winning producer/engineer Toby Wright (Metallica, Alice In Chains, Korn).

The record's thirteen strong tracks tell the tale of the band's breakup after vocalist Joe Grah quit to deal with his addictions and demons, and their subsequent reunion and their journey back from the edge. On a broader scale, the album showcases the current state of the world's turbulence and the idea of being at a crossroads.

The band will be holding a album release party on July 8 at Gas Monkey Live in Dallas.

AXS recently caught up with Grah, who was in Los Angeles running some errands.

AXS: The album has been out for a week now. Have you been happy with the response to it so far?

Joe Grah: Yeah, it's been overwhelming actually! You never know how it's going to go. I mean we really felt strong about this record and we still do, but you just never know how people are going to react to it. So far it seems like there's been a common thread of people reacting positively towards it. We've been really blessed.

AXS: What do you feel this album represents for you guys?

JG: It's everything man. It's the story of how we found each other and lost each other and then found each other again and then rebuilt this whole thing. It also kind of reflects how we are as a species right now.  Just where human beings are in the world right now. It feels like it captured a moment in time.

AXS: Yes, it's a positive look at the negative turn the world has taken and I think it's started a discussion. When you guys went into the studio, was that idea there to begin with or did that just happen as things went along?

JG: Well our intentions don't always end up facilitating exactly how we interpret them or end up how we believed they would or how we hoped they would, but in this case, we really just made the songs that felt right at the time. We really didn't have any intentions. We were just tapping into all of the new energy we've had since we've been back together and all of the things that we went through individually and all of the feelings that we had towards each other, both negative and positive. It was just the whole process of us trying to overcome the individual ego and the individual self to get back together. As a group we've always been pretty unstoppable.

AXS: Did you find it was different in the studio this time?

JG: Yeah, because in the past we would just tour non-stop and towards the last few years, I was inebriated beyond capacity and we were just setting the world on fire and we didn't really have that time to record. The last record Uprising was actually a studio record, but we were touring non-stop so it was approached like a live band album, as opposed to this record, where Toby (Bittenbender, guitarist) sent me guitar riffs and then I would write lyrics and melodies and then we'd work on the arrangements. Then other times, we would work on songs with the band in the studio and there was a kind of order to it. It's the first time that it's really felt like a studio record. I feel like this time we finally f*cking got it.

AXS: The album flows together well, but would you say there's a certain song that brings it all together?  One that you would tell someone who hasn't heard it to listen to first?

JG: Honestly, I would just say start at the beginning. As you said, I think it flows together from the beginning to end. The whole thing about this record is that I didn't want it to be a collection of singles. The further we got into it, I started getting into this conceptual vibe and the songs just felt like they worked. The song "Waiting" wasn't going to make the record and it was the first song that Toby sent me. He sent me that riff and guitar arrangement and I wrote the song right away. It only took me like a few hours and I recorded it and sent it back to him, but we couldn't quite get it together in the studio. It started to get real jazzy and weird, but we started conceptualizing the album, it took on a whole life of its own. It had the story and the pulse to it that we were looking for. The whole thing with the thirteen songs really came together pretty naturally.

AXS: You've got videos out for "The Human Condition" and "We've Only Just Begun", does the whole band have a say in how the videos come together?

JG: We always talk amongst the four of us. Toby and I kind of drive the creative force. We're always on this kind of weird kinetic vibe; lovers without the sex. We just know each other, but we always bring the rest of the band in to share in the ideas as well.

AXS: Do you have any touring plans for the rest of the year?

JG: Well our record was supposed to come out earlier in the year and we have quite a few friends in pretty well-to-do bands that out there touring right now and were going to hook us up with a support slot. The problem was that we were supposed to go out in February, but I got caught up in the whole art for the album booklet. I wanted this to be something like back in the day when you bought a record album and it had a centerfold and a lyrics sleeve and art and all of that. We really wanted the whole thing to be a artistic movement so it took some time to get it all together. So the release got pushed back to June and we missed out on a lot of tours.

What we are doing right now is this big release show on July 8 at home in Dallas. Then at the end of the year, we'll probably continue to just do some regional stuff and then if something good pops up, we'll try to move into the coast to coast stuff at the end of the year and into next year.

AXS: What's your biggest goal when you play a live show?

JG: To set the world on fire and to free myself from all of the things that I've held back between the last show and then. For me personally, each show is a form of salvation. I tap into the band and we tap into the crowd and the crowd tells us what they want. It's almost this revolutionary, religious experience without all of the bullsh*t.

AXS: What do you feel was the reason you were able to make your way back to the band and keep it going?

JG: People have tried to get us back together for years with promoters and whatever calling, but I just kept saying no. Then, in 2015, I got a call and it just felt right. It was like, I need this more than anything in the world. The band was created out of nothing with these three other guys and we made no sense together, but when we did get together, we were f*cking unstoppable. I never had a lot of family growing up. I've got it now, but I didn't have it then and this band was really all I had.

What happened to us is really undescribable and when we got back together, after Ben (Jeffries, drummer) were at odds; he really hated my guts and I don't blame him, but when we finally got it together and worked things out after 4 or 5 months of talking, we met in the studio to work on the Uprising record. We hugged and plugged in and played one of our popular live songs "Naked In The Rain", and the sound was just shaking the walls and it was crazy! It just naturally worked and together the four of us were unstoppable.

AXS: This industry can be pretty chaotic. What have you done to finally create that balance for yourself?

JG: I mean, just listening man. I didn't used to listen. There's no manifesto for dealing with this. Every show and every rehearsal is different and every song and conversation is different. I've been doing interviews all week, but I've never had the same one. I've found out that nothing has changed for me personally on my path, but I think I've learned a lot just through listening first. I'm able to grow so much faster because of that.

AXS: Any words for the fans who have stuck around through the break?

JG: When we did the first reunion show, we didn't know if anyone would show up. I mean it was f*cking 13 years later! Then there they were packing it in. I never expected to get the type of participation that we get from our crowds and to get all of the positive responses to the new record has been so positive. I'm really thankful and grateful to have this opportunity to realize my path so I can reflect my path and show other people that it's never too late. Just believe in yourself and listen to yourself. There's a pulse inside of us all and we're all interconnected. I just want to reflect that notion.