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Kendal Calling interviews: Ross Jarman and Will Sergeant PDF Print E-mail
Written by Martyn McFadden   
03 08 2011
ImageDespite the great weather, a fantastic selection of food, chilled atmosphere and general festival malarkey, this year's Kendal Calling, for me, was all about Echo & The Bunnymen and The Cribs. So when I was given the chance to chat to both bands and drink free Jägerbombs in between, I couldn't say no. First up was The Cribs' drummer Ross Jarman, who keeps it all together while his big twin brothers (Gary and Ryan) rock out front of stage. So whilst The Charlatans hung out round us, I quizzed Ross on the pros and cons of being in a band with your two older and occasionally irritating brothers...

How are you doing Ross?

Yeah good. It's nice to be at a festival that's sunny for a change. We played Latitude a couple of weeks ago and it was pissing it down, it got nice later in the day though. This is a really nice day, so that makes up for it.

ImageIt's perfect, it's sold out as well and you're headlining, are you looking forward to it?
Definitely yeah. It's one of those festivals I've heard people talk about, I've got friends who go here every year and we've never played it before, so then when it came along we were like year definitely, we'd really like to do it. From what I've seen so far, it's quite picturesque round here so we're really enjoying.

If you could organise your own festival, where would you put it and who would headline it?
We've just been back to Montreux, it was about two days ago when we got back, because we've been doing some recording there. I'd never been there before and it was really beautiful. So maybe I'd put my festival in Montreux, and I'd have Queen headlining it. Queen are pretty well associated with Montreux as well, they've got a Freddie Mercury statue down there. So yeah, I'd have it in Montreux and Queen would headline it.

What was it like adapting from going to a three piece, to a four piece and then back to a three piece again? Did you get used to Johnny Marr being in there?
Yeah I think so. Getting Johnny in was a real breath of fresh air, because we'd already done three records so when we did the fourth one with Johnny that was a breath of fresh air. Now with Johnny going off and doing The Healers again, it's made us recapture what the band started off as in the first three records. It's been a really good thing. It's kind of made us three brothers closer together and we're all getting along really well at the moment so that's good.

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That's what I was going to ask you about. Obviously the two brothers in Oasis don't speak to each other, how do you get around the fact that you seem to spend your entire life together? How do you stop from falling out?
I think it was tough in the early days, but we all know exactly which buttons not to press now, you can press them if you're really annoyed at someone though. We're three brothers who get on really well, we've got years of experience of that from when we were younger so we know how to avoid it basically.

ImageIt's seven years since your debut album, has it gone quickly?
It seems to have gone really quick. I remember before we signed I was only seventeen and I had to wait till my eighteenth birthday to sign this publishing deal and that seems like ages ago. It's been a long time, we're very lucky to have been one of them bands... I think in a way we've done it differently to a lot of bands, a lot of people think that you need all the mainstream radio and coverage and stuff like that, but through word of mouth and through live shows we've managed to get to the point where we are at now. It feels much more satisfying doing it that way than just somebody liking you because they've heard about or read about you in magazine. It's good because it means we haven't had to compromise on how we do things as well, we have control of everything, who we record with, what we put out, how the songs are and the artwork is all just us guys, so we've made no compromises at all.

Is it up to you when you're going to bring the next record out as well? Everyone's waiting for it you know!
Well that's the thing! We weren't going to do any shows this year; we were going to take a year off because, since the band started, we haven't really had a rest, it's been nonstop. As I say I was 17 when it all started with us going out on the road and that, you get to a certain age when you think I kinda just need to have a life now, for a little while. So we decided to take a year out and that we'd just write in that year, but we kind of missed it, so that's why we're doing six gigs this year. We're currently in the process of writing and it'll be out early next year.

Do you feel like you've grown up in the band?
(Laughs) Yeah. I look at some of the old photographs, there was a certain time I looked really just like some kid who couldn't afford a haircut, which is genuinely what it was for a few years. Me and Gary used to share a bank account and stuff like that. I look back at some times like that, but they were some of the funnest times anyway.

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Are you happy with the level you're at now? The people that love you think you're the best band in the world and you've got a really cult, hardcore following, so you're at a stage where you can headline stuff like this, but then still not have the trappings of major record labels telling you what to do.
Exactly right. That's the complete mentality of the band as well. It's so much more rewarding when you get to the stage where you're headlining festivals and you've done it completely on your own terms and you're not dependent on anybody, we're not dependent on anything as far as media goes. It's really satisfying and worthwhile.

ImageNext up was Echo & The Bunnymen's, Will Sergeant. I'll have to be honest here; I used to follow The Bunnymen round the country when I was 18/19, blag backstage and then sleep on stranger's floors or train station waiting rooms between gigs. In short Will is my favourite guitarist of all time. I've seen him play over 100 times but I still get nervous before their gigs, like I would if I was performing myself. It's sad I know, but my formative Bunnymen years were halcyon days and their music has more than stood the test of time...

Hi Will. I was thinking on the way over, that my favourite two Will Sergeant guitar solos ever, would be... Broke My Neck and My Kingdom. Which would you prefer of the two?
Of them two? Broke My Neck, but it's just random. It is kinda like shards as a glass or something.

Were you in a mood that day?
No! It was just we were in Norway and we had a day off, but Bill Drummond (former Bunnymen manager and KLF founder) had arranged for us to do some b-sides in a studio up this mountain, so we had to shove our gear up this gravely track for what seemed like miles. Les just came up with that bass line, so it was just put it together in the studio quickly really.

What's your favourite guitar solo?
I like Over The Wall because there's a lot of up and down bits and stuff, so I'd have to say that really.

ImageYou've toured three of your classic albums now, Ocean Rain, Heaven Up Here and Crocodiles. Have you got any plans to do any of your other albums from start to finish at gigs?
I don't know. What I'd like to do is a b-sides thing, possibly do a sort of short tour thing, supporting ourselves, but just do the b-sides for half an hour type thing. I wouldn't mind doing that, but, I don't know, it's one of them things that bands do now, revisit the old albums. I went to see Arthur Lee do the Forever Changes thing, well I DJ'd it, and that was kind of good. Just thinking about Ocean Rain, I mean that took years and years to agree to do it and get it on the road.

You've been in a band for 30 odd years now and you're still going strong, still influencing new bands coming through, are you happy with your overall career?
Yeah, you can't really fault it. I mean, we've done some crappy things and we've done some brilliant things, like any band, but it's amazing that we're still going. People say "Aren't you bored of it yet?" But I just say "What you on about? We go all around the world, where people love you and your music and you get paid for it and others are getting up at 6 o'clock in the morning to get work hard every day." Some people don't understand why we still do it, we're like are you mad? It's the best job in the world!

With all the line up changes and with the line up the way it is now, is it you and Mac that mainly make the decisions?
Yeah. These lot have been with us for a while though now, so we're all good mates. It's good.

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Do you miss Les (Pattinson, former bassist who left the band in 1999)? He was your mate...
I still see Les all the time. I see him every Tuesday, he comes to the pub with me and he's still a good lad. He's back to the Boat Yard where he was working before the Bunnymen, he's really happy, but he wants to move Australia.

My favourite Bunnymen gig was probably at the Albert Hall in 83, when you had to go off for ten minutes cos of the crowd was going mad.
When they all crashed through the barrier?

Yeah, I was crashing through the barrier at the time too, so I apologise for stopping the gig. But it made it better cos you all came back on and really went for it. What would be your favourite Bunnymen gig?
Probably the one at Barrowlands in Glasgow, or that Buxton thing was good, where we made the Shine So Hard film, but that was a bit weird because we kept having to stop and start songs so they could move the cameras, that was a bit weird. But yeah, at the Barrowlands, or the one in Liverpool (Crystal Day), but that Albert Hall one was great as well, really good. San Francisco is always a really good gig for us too; we do play the Fillmore quite a lot and it's always great, the crowd's always great.

And San Fran has the greatest record store in the world too?
What, The Amoeba!?

Yeah, it's amazing in there isn't it? You've obviously travelled the world loads of times with the Bunnymen, what's your favourite country to go back and play?
Japan's pretty interesting, but we haven't been there in a little while, but we can't seem to get a gig there now, it's one of those places where they follow what's new in the British music press. If you're not in the British music papers, you're kind of forgotten about there, they're passionate until the next thing comes along, and that's kind of what they're like. America is great though. I love playing San Francisco and San Francisco is great.

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Finally, what set are you doing tonight? Are you doing one of the albums, or a festival set?
A bit of everything really. We did Crocodiles and Heaven up here the other week at one of the festivals, I can't remember which one it was, we're doing festivals every weekend and they're all this sort of size, it all becomes a bit of a blur after a while, but we're doing a best of really tonight.

At that it was time to check out both bands, get drunk and rock out... it was great, but I didn't feel so clever the next morning when I woke up in the smallest tent in the world, which was doubling as a sauna!

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