Cribs: Family act rocks out

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.

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

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