Every band dreams of playing on stage at a festival, but all it takes is some excessive diva behavior from one act to ruin the whole weekend.
At Scotland’s T in The Park, Friday night headliners The Black Eyed Peas weren’t sharing the love (or the stage) according to twin brothers Ryan and Gary Jarman – guitar and bass respectively for The Cribs– who played the same stage just two days later.
“It was at T in The Park festival , and every other band who was on their stage – ourselves included – had a really hard time of it, because them [The Black Eyed Peas] and their crew had dominated and overridden anything else that any other band wanted to do,” Gary says.
“The amount of stage that you could use was cut down radically because of the amount of stuff that was brought in.
“Again, they might need that, but I can’t imagine doing something like that without feeling really guilty about screwing over all the other acts.
“It just seems selfish to not consider the acts around you.
“When we’re on tour we try and make sure that our support bands get treated exactly like we do.”
Ryan adds: “A lot of the bands on earlier in the day didn’t have dressing rooms, because they needed 24 rooms.
“So you had all these good, established, pretty big bands that found themselves without dressing rooms purely based on them.”
We’re not rock stars
Sticking with the theme of rock stars and diva fits, I tell the boys that they themselves are rock stars, but Ryan and Gary insist they’re not divas.
“We use the term rock star in a derogatory way, meaning that someone is very out of touch with the people they are playing to.”
“Someone that’s very egomaniacal.”
So even after escaping Wakefield, with 10 years on the road and five albums later The Cribs are still as humble and down to earth as ever.
The band, consisting the twins Ryan and Gary, and their cousin Ross (Jarman) are back in the UK to pick up a Q-Award and tour with their fifth studio album.
From the way they act you could hardly tell that the band have just flown over from New York, but as we sit down, Gary and Ryan seem to be in fine form as they tell me its their birthday.
We start off talking about the sold-out Q-Awards gig they are playing that day at the HMV forum.
Ryan says: “For some reason the London gig always seems to have a bit of a sense of occasion about it anyway, but it always seems that our birthday falls on the London date.
“It’s like a part of tradition now. In the past it’s always been fun. I forget sometimes that it’s a ‘Q gig’, or an awards gig or whatever.”
So with it being a case of business as usual for the gig-loving band, we get onto the subject of their nomination for ‘Best Live Act’, and why they’ve managed to stay touring almost constantly for 10 years.
“It’s a funny one really. We don’t just think about it, because if you compare our band and our live show to the people who are in the category with us, the other bands all have a lot of extra stuff,” explains Gary.
“It’s like a big show, a big event.
“Whereas with us it’s quite nice to be recognised for just been quite stripped back and non-gimmicky.”
Ryan adds adamantly: “As far as I’m concerned, when I go on stage we’re just trying to feel something when we play.
“We’ve done so many shows since we started, and toured non-stop for 10 years, and I still want to have a good time and when I play a song I want to feel something.
“It’s just us still trying to feel something.”
When Johnny Marr left
Their fifth studio album, In The Belly Of The Brazen Bull, came about unexpectedly, as the band were supposed to take a break after headlining the 2010 Reading and Leeds festival.
However, as Gary explains: “We’d made the decision to have some time out.
“We did Reading festival in 2010 and that was going to be the last show for a while, and then Johnny Marr [their former guitarist] left, and that was the thing that really helped make us really enthusiastic again.
“We thought it would be strange to face what some people would see as an adversity, and not come back straight away.”
Ryan continues the sentiment by describing that it was a bit of a healing process for the boys.
“It felt like there was a wide degree of catharsis in constantly writing and blocking out everything else that was going on at the time,” he says.
“So there was something really satisfying about putting it all together at the end in the studio.”
The band have remained friends with Johnny.
Gary says: “The thing that a lot of people don’t realise is that we met Johnny on a level where we were friends socially before anything else came up.
“And it was really cool, because the first time I met him, he told me how much he liked The New Fellas, our second record, and that was the first conversation we ever had.”
With that said the ex-Smiths legend seemed to have an innate connection with the band and their musical style, Ryan says: “When we started playing together the fact was that me and Johnny had this really great way of playing together.
“We didn’t speak about it, or communicate about it, or sit down and work on the parts, but somehow all the parts would weave into each other really well.”
Instead of being awestruck Ryan says it was a case of just having a new mate along for the ride, saying: “You never consider who it is that your playing with, or their status, because you become so fixated on the album.”
Gary adds: “He integrated himself really well. Had he been acting like a ‘rock star’ then it would have seemed weird, but he wasn’t like that.”
Gary explains that The Q Awards are just another gig for the band, saying: “The way that I see it is that, we’re nominated for those awards in the award ceremony, but we’re just trying to have a good time.”
On a lighter note the boys admit that having a job description that fits the title rock star can be fun.
“On my first ever American visa form it said ‘Job description: Rock n’ Roll guitarist’, says Ryan.
“That is the coolest job description I’ve ever seen, and it’s on an official form and I was like: ‘That’s awesome’.”
A changing industry
The band play everything from festival stages fit for the crème de la crème of rock royalty down to a sweaty New Slang at The Hippodrome, but on the subject of stores such as Banquet Records Gary laments that iTunes and the internet seem to be killing a charming part of the music industry.
He says: “I’ve only ever downloaded two records from iTunes and I don’t think I’ve ever illegally downloaded a record (I don’t think I’d know how).
“But over the course of the years that it’s been around it means I’ve only bought two records.
“The only reason why is I just don’t desire them, whereas with physical records, I still desire them.
“It’s a shame that the industry for the people who run those stores will be completely debased and it’s a shame to me that kids who are 15 have only ever known buying records in that way.
“I think it’s a pivotal part of your youth, and the fact is that no one will ever have that again.
“To me that’s just really depressing.”
With that said there’s only time left to wish the twins a happy birthday, and then it’s out into the cold light of day till the gig later.
The Cribs are currently on tour in the UK and Europe.