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

artsentertainmentOther Arts

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at

Just Posted

Mayor London Breed, pictured here at a May news conference, will be fined for unethical behavior by The City’s Ethics Commission. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Commission fines Mayor Breed over $22,000 for ethics violations

The San Francisco Ethics Commission will fine Mayor London Breed a reported… Continue reading

Salesforce Tower in San Francisco, which features a comprehensive water-recycling system, on July 30, 2021. Water recycling in office buildings is seen as a promising sustainability effort, as well as a smart hedge against rising costs and future shortages. (Jim Wilson/The New York Times)
Salesforce Tower is part of a nationwide water recycling trend: Here’s how it works

By Patrick Sisson New York Times When Salesforce Tower in San Francisco… Continue reading

Riders enjoyed a trip on a Powell Street cable car when service returned on Monday. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
San Francisco’s cable cars return after 16-month absence

San Francisco’s cable cars are back, and they’re free for passengers to… Continue reading

Most Read