A Conversation with Joe Grah of Jibe

A Conversation with Joe Grah of Jibe

Interview by Bradon Callies – Photos by James Villa Photography

We had an opportunity to sit down with Joe Grah singer of Jibe, before their performance at Gas Monkey Live in Dallas on Saturday night. Here’s what we learned.
OTM: Can you describe the writing process for “Epic Tales of Human Nature,” and what was it like working with Matt Noveskey?

Matt is not only an all around seasoned musician, but a real friend and die-hard fan of the band, he gave us the facility to take our ideas into the studio and really elevate them to another level. We’ve always been sort of a closed off unit, rarely letting anyone into the creative process, this album was different as Matt became the adoptive fifth member of the band.

OTM: What I like about the record is the sense of urgency. There is an aggressiveness captured unlike any of your previous albums. What do you attribute that to?

With the current state of our world, combined with the emotional journey of breaking apart and coming back together, we definitely shared a sense of conviction and determination on this record. The music, lyrics, and album artwork reflect a definite sense of urgency in these uncertainly certain times.

OTM: There has been sort of a resurgence of great 90’s bands over the past ten years or so. It’s a category that I feel Jibe fits into for the most part. My personal take on it is that that decade has been the last mainstream creative peak. It was a decade where bands could be heavy and dark. They could talk about taboo subject and still be radio friendly. What are your thoughts on it, and do you feel that this had any impact on your reformation?

We formed in late ’93 so we are undeniably a 90’s band, however, we’ve always pulled inspiration from all of the truly impactful artists, creators, poets, dreamers, cinematographers, and activists from each and every phase of recorded history. As our sound was developing we listened to a lot of SoundgardenJanes Addiction, Alice In Chains, Tool, Smashing Pumpkins, STP, Pearl Jam, etc., and you’re absolutely correct, it’s been a while since we’ve had a wave like that.

OTM: I’ve noticed a lot of positive hype surrounding the band. How has the reaction been to your live shows? 

Overwhelming to say the least, everyone has been so beautifully receptive of both our reunion and “Epic Tales Of Human Nature”, we’re extremely humbled and grateful of this. The live shows have always been off-the-hook, it’s a place where we can all go and shed the baggage, judgment, pain, and division, a sort of cleansing, a place to be free and connect, I cherish these moments.

OTM:  The band’s sound is a pretty unique one. What are some of your influences? I’m interested in those that inspire you outside of the “rock” genre if you’ve got any.

Each of us come from different backgrounds and has individual tastes and influences, that’s what makes this band unique and exciting. Musically, it’s everything from The Mahavishnu Orchestra to Slayer, but we’ve generally pulled from the sparks that light the fires of change and evolution, Nicola Tesla, Bob Marley, JFK, Edgar Cacey, Leonardo Da Vinci, MLK, Joseph Campbell, Gandhi, just to name a few. If the message is pure and the path is on fire we will most certainly take notice.

OTM:  There seems to be a lot of great stuff coming out of the Dallas area nowadays. How do you feel about the Dallas scene that you played a pivotal role in growing?

It’s been an interesting learning experience coming into the Dallas scene with nothing and slowly growing into the band we’ve become, we definitely learned a lot from fellow hometown bands The Toadies, Pantera, Course Of Empire, Tripping Daisy, The Nixons, Hagfish, and many more exciting bands that have emerged out of the Deep Ellum scene, plus there’s a ton of new guys on the cusp of blowing up as we speak.

OTM: How is the internal band dynamic these days? 

Looking back we definitely took each other and our situation for granted by not really listening or letting go, ego is a bitch, but once it’s overcome the results can be dramatic and rewarding. The four of us have a new found respect and love for each other that supersede past pettiness and contention, it’s about agreeing to disagree for the sake of a common goal.

OTM: What do you see for the future of Jibe? Do you feel that this will continue on for the long haul?

When we began until the time we separated in 2004 we were always together and unstoppable, the kinetic chemistry that we share as a whole is bigger than each of us and completely undeniable. For years I was haunted by dreams/nightmares of weakness, detachment, loss, isolation, incompletion, and un-fulfillment, I am no longer in that headspace. We all have a path, and we can dance around and deny it our whole lives, but in my experience, it’s always there waiting for us to engage.




James Villa