Everyone knows Jason Bible for his work in The Train Wrecks, but it’s possible that not everyone is as familiar with his solo output.
His first album, released under the moniker Jason Bible & the Rights, was a stunning collection of songs that accompanied a novel about addiction. That album and book, Anicca, was a creative feat for Bible—putting addiction in the forefront in a way that was visceral and left a lasting mark on the listener and reader.
Anatta follows that same path, acting as the second in a series of books accompanied by albums. This one was recorded remotely during isolation over the past several months, in contrast to the live-in-the-room feel of the previous release. Anatta is also much more of a straight-up rock album than its predecessor, which explores more folk and acoustic influences.
This is apparent on the first single, “Things You Remember,” which was just released and is accompanied by a captivating video created by Jeremiah Stuard.
We got into all of that and more when we caught up with Bible ahead of the project’s digital release on October 22.
Is it safe to say that this project is connected thematically to the last solo release?
It is, yeah. It picks up right where the other one left off. The last one was about a pill mill, and this one’s about a social worker. He goes through a lot of stuff and gets strung out himself. He’s got a daughter and a wife—his last name is Cline and he names his daughter Patsy. The third book is going to be a recovery book about a woman getting out of rehab, and all of the good and bad in that. It’s going to be more like a comedy; I’m already starting with ideas for that one and just trying to keep moving creatively.
So, there are different characters in each book/album but they’re all in the same universe, so to speak?
Yeah, it’s based on [the issue of] addiction. “Anatta” means “nonexistence of self.” It’s a Buddhist principle. This one is pretty optimistic, which is hard to do right now. It’s a lot happier of a record than I think I expected.
Did you kind of go right into plotting this one out after Anicca?
About a month after. I had a couple of demos that I thought would probably work for this record, and about half of them were already started through ideas, riffs, melodies, etc. I just tried to keep moving. We haven't played since January 28, which is insane. If you would've told me that back in February, I wouldn't have believed you. But it's impossible.
I've been doing a lot of private house gigs and farms and stuff like that. It's easier to do that sort of thing myself. And I'm not going to say the Train Wrecks are out of business, but if we were all dependent on that we would be. We're kind of in a holding pattern. So yeah, I'm pretty much a solo artist now [laughs].
Does that give you the freedom to maybe explore a bit more, rather than feel the need to leave space for others' input and imprint?
It seems like it. It's one of those things where I had Maggie Evans play bass on a song, and Eric Moore play bass on a song. Kyle Shiver did a lot of the guitar work here at my house. If you think, "Oh, this drummer would be great for this song," you can call him up.
You just give them a chart and a song, do three takes, and you're done.It's not personal, and nobody is beholden to the song and performer. And if we can play it live in the next year or five, we will.
Anna Chandler did all the backing vocals from where she lives, which worked out great. We just sent the files back and forth.
It really can be a great thing!
You don’t have to wait to rehearse and book a studio. You’re waiting and waiting—it just takes forever. Now I can work from home, and if I get an idea I can cut it to a click and start constructing it from there.
Did you have a sonic vision in mind for this overall project, where you wanted to continue a certain musical theme from the last album? Or were you not really thinking about that and just kind of going album to album?
That’s a good question—I knew what I didn’t want to do, which was a lot of piano and strings. I tried to stay away from that. Other than that, I knew I wanted to do a little more 12-string thing happening. I wanted it to be more of a guitar record. I had Tennis Elbow when I had everybody here to track the last record, and through this one the inside of my elbow was killing me.
This guy goes, “Man, you’ve got Golfer’s Elbow.” I was like, “I hate golf!” He said it was the opposite of Tennis Elbow. I think all of the editing with the mouse and switching between baritone, 12-string, classical, that works a lot of tendons in your arm. So I think this record gave me Golfer’s Elbow [laughs].
With everything happening right now, what are the plans for the record? Anything virtual in the pipeline?
As far as marketing everything, right now I think I’m going to go with just trying word of mouth. October 22 is just the digital release, and it’ll be on vinyl after that. I have some cassettes stacked up that I dubbed, and that took a while. I was going back to ‘93 in my brain trying to figure it out [laughs].
I don’t want to do a virtual performance of the record. I want to wait until people are elbow to elbow somewhere nice, go ahead and rent a room and try to fill it up.