Meet the Cribs. They are three brothers from the small British town of Wakefield who caught my attention during one of their performances during SXSW. Ryan, Gary and Ross Jarman make infectious rock music that sounds current yet maintains a timeless quality. It is their conscious decision to stay away from trends and hipsters that has catapulted this band into a different stratosphere from their self-titled debut. Fans of the Libertines, Supergrass and the Strokes will have no problem falling for their sophomore album, The New Fellas.
After seeing these three fellas perform, I wasn't quite sure what to expect out of an interview with these guys. Their shows are pure, beer-soaked, sweaty, bloody rock gigs... the way rock is supposed to be. Oozing confidence on stage, these guys were either going to be cool as hell or pompous pricks. Within the first few moments of chatting with these fine lads, it felt like I was just hanging out with a few good friends.
Chip: What's up guys? Anybody want a Guinness?
Gary: What time is it? Too early to drink?
Chip: Is it ever too early to drink?
Ryan: Perhaps after we're done.
Chip: Right on. America is still new to the Cribs. In fact, one of the only things we know for a fact is that you three are all brothers. As with all brothers, sibling rivalry is just a part of life. Has this caused any issues for you three?
Ryan: Spending time with them doesn't really bother me, cuz ya know, people in bands are more like wankers than my family. Being in bands with other people you might have problems telling 'em they sound like shit, but I can be totally honest with these guys. But I am gonna have to start doing interviews on my own, cuz we disagree on everything.
Chip: You disagree on everything? Are you sure there is no sibling rivalry?
Ryan: Well possibly a bit...
Chip: That's what I thought. OK, so as brothers growing up under the same roof, when did you guys realize that you wanted to be in a band together?
Gary: We did some messing about for a while. It really started in 2001 when we did some recording together. We had all this really old gear and we wanted to test it out. We recorded some stuff and we liked it. It seemed better than the other stuff around at the time.
Ryan: Also at the time we were failing at university and were in debt from student loans and stuff. We made this demo and sent it around. Then we had all these record companies come to see us in London and we had never done a gig before. Rather than deal with college we thought it sounded better to get a record deal, so we got one.
Chip: So your new album, The New Fellas, was produced by Edwyn Collins. How did you guys hook up with him?
Gary: I don't think anybody really knows.
Ryan: There were a lot of emails going around that we were working with Edwyn Collins and we hadn't heard anything about it. People would ask us and we were like "no I don't think so." Then somebody forwarded us an email that said we were gonna work with him.
Gary: Yeah, so we went to his studio and rather than talk about recording we just sat down and had a laugh. We realized that he would be a cool person to record with. Ya know, he is so laid back and he just does it because he wants to. Some producers we didn't want to be in the same room with... the ones that suck the life out of you.
Ryan: It was good working with him as well because, ya know, when he was in Orange Juice they were like underdogs in England. We felt like going into our second record that we were a lot alike. We were kinda looking to piss people off with this record and he was really into it. Ya know, he understood from being in a band for all those years. It really works. It was a really healthy environment for making this record.
[we begin to get kicked out of the room]
Chip: Damnit, we are running out of time. Guess I gotta slash most of my other questions.
Ryan: Just start shouting out a bunch of yes or no questions.
Gary: Shit, we were just getting started.
Chip: Yeah, lame. OK, just a couple of more. Here in the US over the past couple of years we have witnessed a flood of bands from the UK that have really invaded our pop culture. I was curious if any American bands have accomplished the same thing in England lately?
Ryan: Ya know, most of em are just the ones that have already done something over here really. Its like in the UK they are all about keeping the attention... not letting anybody else from outside get any attention.
Gary: I guess some of the big American bands are pretty big back home, but its mainly British bands. I guess that is pretty good in a way.
Ryan: Yeah, but that's a problem cuz like we have a bunch of bands from England that sound like Bloc Party but not as good. That's kinda the way things are going. England's still keeping the limelight on themselves.
Gary: A band becomes really popular and then it just gets totally destroyed in the space of six months. That seems to be what's happening in England. There is just so much hype, people keep on moving from one thing to the next.
Chip: Shit, we gotta wrap this up. My last question for you is this... Why should American music fans get off their asses and check our your new record:
Ryan: Cuz we are a real band. It's not bullshit at all. Just totally honest... and it is the best record we could have possibly made. Yeah, and it shits on every other British band that's out there.
So there you have it. Consider this your introduction (or re-introduction) to the Cribs. Since this interview the Jarman brothers have played a few US dates, including several opening spots for Kaiser Chiefs. The New Fellas lands in stores here in the US on Tuesday. Ryan was right when he said that their album isn't bullshit at all. Their music is honest, fun and just damn good. With songs this great, I hope to see big things in their future.