INTERVIEW: The Cribs

Hi mate, how are you doing?

Ah I’m all right like, I’m just really jet lagged. I used to not really get jet lag, I would be fine but like, now it’s taking me longer and longer to get over it. Which I don’t really understand why because I live in America, I’m back and forth all the time. Apart from that, I’m fine. I’m just kinda’ cold. I’m always cold.

 

So how does it feel to be back on tour?

Em, I’m glad to be back on tour in the UK, because it feels like this record we’ve spent most of the time either doing festivals or on tour in America, which is cool. I mean, I love touring out there but its like, you drive for like three days at a time. So its not like you have like gigs night, after night, after night because it’s physically impossible. So this is like the first major UK tour we’ve done on this album, so I’m happy to finally be getting on with it.

 

Obviously you have been on loads on tours now, you’re a veteran of the road, but do you have any rituals or special items that you take with you when you tour?

We don’t really have any rituals, we’ve always made a point of not having that because…that would make it feel like work for me. I like every day to feel like its different, otherwise, I mean we’ve been on tour for such a long time if it felt like a job I wouldn’t be doing it now. I would have totally quit…One of the only ‘rituals’ we have really is that from the minute we get to the venue- we always get here early afternoon- we never leave. We don’t go out and see friends or see the city, which is kind of a missed opportunity… I think we’re just convinced that if we leave the venue something will go wrong. So we’ll always just be in the dressing room.

As far as bringing stuff on tour, I’m a really light traveller. I bring as little as possible. It stops you like loosing shit. I just bring the stuff that I have to bring.

 

Socks and pants and that’s it.

Yeah, I guess so. But also like, well I’m asthmatic so I need to bring my inhalers and shit.

 

So you’re touring the album For All My Sisters, and you mentioned playing festivals. How did the new material go down this summer?

It’s been really good! I feel like, especially the singles that we put out off this record like, the fans have taken to them really quickly and I think its because it sounds like typical Cribs stuff. We haven’t veered that far off, it was almost like a return to an older Cribs sound. We’ve been playing a lot of new stuff. I mean obviously from being around for such a long time, its difficult to go play a 40 minute set at a festival and you’ve gotta’ play all these singles that you’re totally sick of playing. So we’ve been trying to put in as much new stuff as we can and its been going down well. Tonight, we’re trying loads of stuff we never play. Like a lot of new bonus tracks and a lot of album tracks that we’ve never played. So its kinda’ a bit stressful actually, when we finished sound checking all the songs were stuff we’ve never played live before, which I mean, it makes stuff exciting for us because its nice to be able to change the set…Its like, ‘shit, I’ve got to play something I don’t know’, we’re not that well rehearsed on it. But you know, the threat of something going wrong kind of keeps you on your toes.

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There’s been a lot of talk of ‘For All My Sisters’ being a part 1 of two albums, one pop, one punk – is there any truth to this, can you tell us a bit more about it?

It kind of bugs me a little bit, I think that we mentioned that and then someone reported it and then everyone else like built on top. What we were saying was, we had started making that record ages ago, very much a striped back punk record with Steve Albini, that was back in like 2010 or 2011. We only got about half way through and then we got more excited about this one [For All My Sisters]. What happened was that after we made Brazen Bull, it was a really dark period and it made sense to make a darker record. Because I kind of think that we thought that we might not make another record, so we wanted to get that out of our system. So we had all these tracks left over that we kind of didn’t even think about putting out. And then, when things changed in our personal lives and everyone was relatively healthy and happy again we started to make a record that we kind of wanted to be a the sequel to Men’s Needs. Because after we put out Men’s Needs Johnny [Marr] joined so we had to make a different record, and after he left we wanted to make something completely different to the record we made with him. So I feel like we never we never made a proper follow up to Men’s Needs. So we had all these tracks left over and when people asked about the record we were like ‘Oh, well we do have these other songs that we’re going to finish one day’…But now everyone thinks we’re doing two records and I’m like well, we never actually said that, it was just taken as verbatim. I think we will finish them and we will put it out, but now because people ask about it…I kinda’ just cant be bothered.

 

Just prove everyone wrong. Because even the most recent articles about you guys are still stating that as fact.

I know! And I mean, I’m glad that people want to know what your doing next. But basically, its still just half-finished and it will be half finished until we get a break where we can actually write songs.

There are some really great singles on the new album, but apart from those, are there any songs on the album that you’re really excited to play?

Um, we’re playing a bonus track called ‘Cow Lily’, which sounds really good, we’ve never played it live because we didn’t think it worked. But now we worked it out and it sounds really good. We’re playing a song called ‘Pacific Time’, which is on the album – that sounds good. A B-side called ‘I Wish I New You In The Nineties’, that’s like our newest song. So we’ve rehearsed loads of stuff. I’m definitely more excited about playing stuff we haven’t played live before, because some songs we’ve played like for nearly 15 years. We’ve actually dropped some of the old stuff as well, songs like ‘Another number’, that we played at every single gig. I don’t think we’re going to pay that tonight. Which might be kind of weird because I feel like every time that we’ve tried to drop that song people have kind of been pissed off about it so then we end up doing it anyway. Its just sometimes when you’ve been playing for such a long time it’s difficult to play’em with the same amount of passion and not feel like, when you see it on the set list like, ‘Oh, yeah….that one…’.

Just before For All My Sisters you had quite a long break as a band, why was that and do you feel like you’ve learnt anything from that time?

I think that like, were just trying to enjoy stuff again. You know, it’s easy to take stuff for granted when you’ve been doing the same thing for ages and because there was a long gap were we put the ‘Best Of’ record out and it felt like some kind of….it almost felt like the end in some ways. And a lot of that was just because of personal issues you know, and it’s so stupid. Well, it’s not stupid but I feel like outside of the band because we were so busy…I like wasn’t taking care of myself. You know like when I’d come off the road, I’d not have anywhere to live, so obviously things get really like fucked up at that point. I think that once we had time to sort that stuff out and realised that I wasn’t just like a complete fatalist. Once I realised kind of how much I enjoyed doing it and I like the fact that people care about the band. So now that we’re on tour, I just try to kind of see it for what it is, it’s like a cool thing to do- I should enjoy it. There was definitely a period when I like wasn’t enjoying it as much, and I’ve tried to like reassess that now. I’m just more positive now.

 

That seems like a great way to come back, feeling revitalised.

Yeah, that’s why it was good to have a break as well because we hadn’t had any kind of a break for so long.

 

You mentioned Johnny Marr before, he actually played at our SU last week, I was just wondering do you ever miss having Johnny in the band or around generally?

Yeah I miss the relationship that we had, we’re both musicians and when he was on the road with us, we were like really close, we were like best friends. But you know for a fact when he isn’t in the band anymore it’s going to be really rare that you see him because your both going to be in different cities or in different countries…But at the same time it feels really normal to be just my brothers, and me; it feels really comfortable. So when we parted ways it almost felt exciting that we were going back to a three piece. But I definitely miss having him around. I used to enjoy me and him sitting down and writing together because we were the two guitar players and I miss stuff like that, because in general I haven’t really collaborated with that many musicians at all…He’s still like a good friend, we still stay in touch but its generally like phone calls and emails and stuff. Last time I saw him he was doing a gig in Wakefield, bizarrely and we were back home in Wakefield, so we hung out with him that day. That was in August.

 

Johnny_Marr_with_The_Cribs_at_the_9-30_ClubWe like to get ‘hot tips’ from musicians on new bands, got anything new your listening to right now?

Erm, there’s a band that’s coming on tour with us – they’re not playing tonight- they’re called Esper Scout. They’re from Leeds, they’re signed to Kill Rock Stars. That’s how I heard of them and then it just turned out that we had mutual friends and stuff. I really like those guys; they’re like one of my favourite new bands at the moment.

 

Okay, so we’ve got some Halloween related questions for you, since ‘tis the season and all that! Will you be dressing up?

We usually do! Last Halloween we did, we were on tour and we had a gig on Halloween night and we dressed as KISS, it was really fun.

 

Oh wow! Did you go all out, full make up, spandex, fire?

We went for it full on like. We didn’t have fire, that’s the only thing we were missing I guess!

 

Got to up your game this year then!

I’ll be back home in New York on Halloween, I might go out…I generally like Halloween, I just like this time of year you know. I like autumn. I haven’t actually had one [Halloween] out there yet, but definitely the build up to it…they make a big deal out of it.

 

You and Gary are twins, obviously. But do you ever have any spooky Freaky Friday type moments?

Not exactly, I feel like its changed a little bit now because we’re living separately but when we lived together we were very much like you know, in tune with each other. It would almost be like telepathic how similar we were and how much we knew what each other was thinking and stuff.

 

If you could bring any musician back from the dead and play a show with them who would it be?

Well, I think if I could bring any musician back I think, well, I always really loved Kurt Cobain you know, like he was my favorite. But I wouldn’t get him to play because I don’t think he’d want to play anymore or maybe he would do but you couldn’t bring him straight back from the dead and put him straight on stage. You’d have the be like you know ‘When you’re ready…’

 

I used to be a major Kurt obsessive, I had a full wall hanging of him; my mum was so pleased when I moved out to take it down.

I was always obsessed with Nirvana growing up as a kid; they were totally my favorite band. I have a lock of Kurt’s hair, that’s like my prize possession.

 

How does a person get a lock of Kurt’s hair?

Courtney gave me it one day because whenever I was in L.A I used to stay with Courtney, it was just after I was in an accident and she was like showing me his stuff and his hair and saying like ‘this is why you don’t die young’…She was trying to teach me some kind of a lesson and then she gave me some of his hair. It was totally cool.

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