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Gary Jarman – One of the greatest bass players of all time

By PDX People

PORTLAND, Ore. – Gary Jarman is one of the best bass players of all time. He ranks up there with John Paul Jones, Cliff Burton, Flea, Jack Bruce and Lemmy.

Born in England in 1980, Gary has been a PDX resident since 2006 and an active member of the rock/punk music scene recording with a wide variety of bands like Green Day, Guided by Voices and Franz Ferdinand while recording and touring with his band, The Cribs.

About The Cribs

The band consists of his twin brother Ryan and his younger brother Ross. Gary is the most political member of The Cribs, and can regularly be heard in interviews criticizing inequality and misogyny in the music industry. This could be attributed to the fact that he spent a few years prior to the band’s success participating as part of the committee that put on the UK’s first “Ladyfest” in London, and also numerous fundraisers around this time.


Twin Brothers 

What makes Gary Jarman unique among the wide variety of bass players in rock history is that his twin brother Ryan also plays with him in the same band.

Sure there have been other famous brother duos in bands (Oasis) but the Jarman brothers are an example of what’s possible when brothers create music together that’s not fueled by drugs and alcohol.

People think of brothers in bands as a volatile and unsustainable combination, but working together has made us really close. We were insular growing up – there weren’t many kids in Wakefield into punk rock. When we started the band we were gang-like in our mentality. Ryan is stubborn and very motivated. If we’d both had my personality, we’d have achieved a lot less, but with his, we would have burned bright and short. Both of us can be very up and down, but his arc is slightly wider than mine.

At the NME awards [in 2006, when Ryan threw himself on to the Kaiser Chiefs’ table], we were all feeling quite fried after a long and turbulent campaign. Awards ceremonies are naturally quite weird: there’s a lot of industry and congratulatory stuff, so it was a bit of a powder keg. I was terrified and took Ryan to hospital. The doctors were alarmed but he was really flippant about it. I know how Ryan responds to any situation and have a different connection with him from anyone else in the world – even our brother Ross, who is also in the band, or my wife.

Ryan can be tardy. For some people on the road, it’s an irritant, but to me it doesn’t matter. He doesn’t worry about details; his mind’s always on something more important. He’s the sort of person who will make his own mistakes and learn from them rather than listen to others.

What Are The Songs That Changed His Life?

Sure he’s a musical genius and one of the best bass players of all time but what are the songs that have changed Gary Jarman’s life?

In a recent interview with NME Magazine Gary dug deep into his past to talk about the songs that changed his life.

The song that made him 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 that makes him 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 first album he ever 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.”

What’s Your Favorite Cribs Song?

Got a favorite Cribs song? Leave us a comment!

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