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Cribs: Family act rocks out

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Growing up as twins in the pastoral British hamlet of Wakefield was no picnic, say look-alike brothers Ryan and Gary Jarman, who currently co-front the town’s most famous export, a rowdy young rock trio dubbed The Cribs, which plays tonight in San Francisco.

Guitarist/vocalist Ryan says: “When you’re twins, people give you more hassle. And for a long time, we tended to be smaller than the other kids, and that set us up for even more abuse. And we were also treated as one person — even my best friends used to call me Gary all the time, I have no idea why.”

Don’t get them started, chimes in bassist/singer Gary, “on the matching sailor suits we had to wear as little kids; it was easier for our parents to shop for one, as well.”

“Gary even gave me a fiver once to break up with his girlfriend on the phone, because we had the exact same voice,” says Ryan, 26, while 22-year-old kid bro Ross — whom the twins recruited as a teen as The Cribs drummer — laughs at the memory.

When school counselors asked them about forging separate identities, the twins shrugged. “It’s something we never even thought about,” Gary recalls.

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That is, until music entered their lives. And even then, the electric bass and guitar their folks bought them sat idle for months, until a burglar robbed their home of every last entertainment system save those instruments. Forced to amuse themselves, Ryan says, “We just started playing our guitars, then all of a sudden we got into punk rock and power pop and realized ‘Right. That’s what we want to do!’ So we weren’t conscious of forming a family band — it was just convenient.”

Ironically, the brothers have gelled into a tight juggernaut on “Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever,” their new third assault on Warner Bros. Produced by Franz Ferdinand’s Alex Kapranos, some cuts boast the jagged hooks of a vintage Buzzcocks side, with Gary and Ryan trading off on sneering lead vocals.

The trio these days glorifies its humble roots, selling T-shirts proclaiming “Wakefield — Home of The Cribs!” And even though the twins go their own way, post-tours — Ryan to his girlfriend’s place in Portland, Ore., Gary to his new digs in Leeds — this band of brothers is finally pleased with itself. “We all like different things, but fundamentally our values are still the same,” Ryan says.

The Cribs

Where: Slim’s, 333 11th St., San Francisco

When: 8 p.m. today

Tickets: $11 to $13

Contact: (415) 255-0333 or www.tickets.com



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