The Cribs: ‘Playing live is probably gonna be an intense experience’

The Cribs return to West Yorkshire for their long-awaited gig at The Piece Hall in Halifax next week.

The Cribs. Picture: Steve Gullick

I caught up with Ryan Jarman regarding the anticipation of a return to playing live, the upcoming Singles Club releases and the future of the band.

It’s been a year since your album Night Network was released. Was it gratifying seeing the fan response to the album and how do you feel about it now?

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It was definitely satisfying seeing the critical and fan response to the record, the idea that we’ve made our critically most successful record on album 8 under duress feels pretty vindicating, especially as we were fully independent at the time we made it. We’re still proud of it and excited to gig it considering we haven’t had a chance thus far due to the pandemic. Releasing it during lockdown was far from ideal but at the end of the day we didn’t wanna push it back as 2020 was a year of disappointments for everyone.

The Piece Hall Gig will be your first big gig proper in three years. What are your feelings about getting back on stage and what can fans expect from what is considered your most anticipated show given that its back on West Yorkshire soil?

We feel excited to be back doing shows as even before the pandemic playing live seemed like a distant memory. There was honestly a point where I couldn’t imagine doing it again so it’s probably gonna be an intense experience, I haven’t even seen any live music in years. Rehearsals have gone well though so I would say to expect an emotionally charged evening for all involved.

Speaking of time, what have all three of you been doing in the last year to keep motivated musically? There seemed to be a tease of new or unheard tracks from Night Network...

Well, as difficult as it was to feel inspired over 2020, especially in New York which was hit particularly hard, we had a bunch of tracks left over from Night Network that we could casually work on finishing up and getting mixed, and that lead to doing some more home recordings and getting some more backing tracks down whilst we were over in November, so we had some stuff to concentrate our energies on.

Presumably due to the past legal/management issues you had, the planned anniversaries and reissues of your debut and New Fellas had to be side-lined. Are there any plans to do anything with these or is the focus purely the future for the band?

There are plans for it, but at the minute the focus is on the Singles Club. There will be a reissues campaign in the near future, though.

Considering your M.O. is your live show and where you truly belong, why is it that there’s never been an official live album (the Cockpit and Manchester Ritz bonus discs not withstanding)?

I don’t know. To be honest I never really listened to live records growing up so maybe that explains it to a certain degree. We’ve been doing a lot of archiving over the last couple of years since litigation with our ex label and there’s been loads of live recordings over the years, plus we did the Cavern Club pay per view at the end of last year.

Aside from The Cavern Club gig, publicly you haven’t had much chance to perform Night Network. Which track do you feel will become a live set list mainstay?

There’s a bunch of them, certainly Running Into You, Screaming in Suburbia...but less obviously some of the slow burners will work their way in too. I think the set will be weighted towards Night Network for a while afterwards as the songs are fun to play.

There was a campaign to get the Fender signature series guitar back in production, has that gained any further momentum and if so are there any release details?

It’s gained a lot of momentum online with guitar fans/nerds so that’s been good to see…it’s nice to know that instrument is so revered these days but I would like to see it back in production. I think it’s a fairly political situation though when you are dealing with a huge company like Fender, but I get the impression the fans voices have definitely been heard.
Sticking with the Fender signature a minute, there is a cult fan base to the guitar online who have modded it, altered and switched out parts and are really passionate about it. I assume this is the positive side for you, getting people into guitar and guitar tech hobbies?

The main point of that guitar was to have a high quality instrument out there with hi spec parts for a low price point. I’d rather it was bought by beginners or modders as that is in keeping with the spirit of it. Seeing them change hands for silly money to collectors is a bit hard to stomach.

If you could say anything to your fans, after 20 years of being a band, what would it be?

Just keep the faith and keep spreading the word...this doesn’t get any easier, just like life doesn’t get any easier, so we gotta keep supporting each other. Cheers.

The Cribs play at the Piece Hall, Halifax on September 3. www.thepiecehall.co.uk/event/the-cribs/