Gary Jibilian developed an interest in drums at age five and served as the sticks man for several groups throughout his Michigan high school career. At age 17 he took up bass and by 1987 he had formed a band called Sinister Grin in college. In 1990, Jibilian joined Present Absence, a prog metal band. In 1994 he became a member of Mike Bailey's blues group, along with the drummer of Present Absence. Two years later Jibilian hooked up with the Blues Crusaders, releasing an album with them. 1998 found him playing in another blues group, Motor City Josh Band. When that group dissolved the next year, he joined a band with guitarist Bobby Murray, who had worked with Etta James. The following year, he left that group and joined Thornetta Davis' band and they released one live album.