The Cribs’ Gary Jarman On The Songs That Changed His Life, From Hole To Queen

The Cribs’ bass player Gary Jarman takes NME through the soundtrack of his life, telling us about his love of The Beach Boys, why Courtney Love reminds him of teenage angst and revealing that the only time he’s ever danced was at his own wedding.

The first song I ever remember hearing
‘Chain Reaction’ – Diana Ross

Gary Jarman: “I’m gonna guess it came out in 1986, which would have made me six. I would hear it around the house and at family parties. When you’re a kid family parties are important because it means you get to stay up a little later and see family members having a drink. It’s exciting. I would dance to that song in the living room. If I was to hear it now I wouldn’t necessarily say I would be misty eyed, but I would be transferred right back to that place.”

I first song I fell in love with
‘Unchained Melody’ – The Righteous Brothers

“It’s a double-edged sword, because it’s obviously a very emotionally powerful song and a very dramatic song, but it was also the theme tune to Ghost, which I was really heavily into when I was 10 years old. I had a Ghost scrapbook. My youthful crush on Demi Moore might have been something to do with it, but I was really into the movie. Ghost is a movie for middle-aged women, but I was really in love with that song in a way that I would never admit at the time.”

The first album I bought
‘Beneath The Remains’ – Sepultura

“It’s not exactly indicative of where my head was at the time, but a junkie kid was selling CDs and that was the first CD album that I bought. Prior to that I actually bought ‘Size Isn’t Everything’ by The Bee Gees on cassette. That was the first time I ever used my own money to buy an album. That’s a great record, a forgotten record by The Bee Gees. If you were to play that record now I could sing line for line easily. It’s so great.”

The song that made me want to make music
‘(Everything I Do) I Do It For You’ – Bryan Adams

“Do you want the true answer or the cool answer? The real answer was probably that Bryan Adams song. When it came out I was really into it and that Christmas, I believe it was 1991, I got my first bass. I actually built synthetic guitars out of cardboard. The first time I ever made a fake guitar and mimed along in the mirror was to Queen and ‘Killer Queen’, but the first time I got a real guitar was because of ‘(Everything I Do) I Do For You’.

The song I can no longer listen to
‘Best Sunday Dress’ – Hole

“It’s a fucking great song. It has such a profound feeling of being 18 years old and depressed. That song made me realise how futile my existence was. I really wanted to be in a band that was doing stuff. I just felt so small and insignificant and it really just reminds me of my teenage angst years.”

My karaoke song
‘Kokomo’ – The Beach Boys

“I recently went out in Portland for my wife’s birthday and we went to do karaoke with a few others. They always get me to do ‘Kokomo’, because the first time I ever went to Portland in 2006 I did it. I’m quite shy at doing karaoke, but whenever we go they always put that request in with DJ because they know that I’ll do it. It’s a tough song to do actually. In America it’s a much more popular song and everyone knows it when you sing it.”

The song that makes me want to dance
‘Girlfriend’ – The Modern Lovers

“No song really makes me want to dance. I danced at my wedding because I had to do it and that was to ‘Girlfriend’ by The Modern Lovers. That’s the last time I remember dancing and it was under duress! If something comes on I really like, I’d rather just listen to it and rewind it a million times. I danced at my wedding because there was literally no way out of it.”

The song I can’t get out of my head
‘Toy Soldiers’ – Martika

“It’s possibly my favourite song. My iPod tells a sorry story, because if you plug it into the computer it tells you I’ve listened to the song almost 200 times. That’s just the album version – the live version I’ve listened to almost the same amount of times in less than a year. As a kid I remember hearing it and never knowing what it was and never asking because I was embarrassed to ask.”

The song I wish I’d written
‘Surfer Girl’ – The Beach Boys

“When I’m in the studio, my role within The Cribs is to try and think of as many harmonies as I can, it’s something I enjoy the most. When The Cribs first started we were actively trying to write a song like ‘Surfer Girl’. I love songs that are simple and with a good sentiment but not dumb. That’s the song that I’ve been chasing for a long time, something that’s as simple and evocative as that.”

The song I want played at my funeral
‘Bijou’ – Queen

“It’s another song like ‘Toy Soldiers’ that I’ve listened to a lot and I was really fixated on for a while. I think funeral songs should be kind of heavy duty, but the lyrics are so pretty and simple. Freddie only sings for less than a minute and the vocal take is really exquisite. The lyrics are very universal and simple. There’s a finality to that song that I think will be appropriate and plus I just love it. I think it’s a very, very powerful song.”

The song that reminds me of starting The Cribs
‘That Thing You Do’ – The Wonders

“I used to really like that movie That Thing You Do!. It’s a theme song but when the Cribs first started we were almost like a theme band. We were all brothers and from a small town. I never saw us as being part of the rock’n’roll scene. I just thought we were gonna be an anomaly.”