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Employing naked female man-slashers in their videos, hanging out with Lee Renaldo, Alex Kapranos and Rosanna Arquette – there's never a dull moment with The Cribs.
Ed Power, 25 May 2007
On a muggy afternoon in London, Gary Jarman of The Cribs is explaining why, as a matter of deepest principle, the Britrock imps cast a naked young lady in the promo for new single, 'Men’s Needs'.
“We wanted to get rid of a certain element of our fanbase,” explains Jarman, surveying the lunch-hour rush from the back of a black cab. “You know, the yobs, the people who would see a naked woman and think we were being crass or boorish. We want to weed those people out.”
Far from being there to titillate, in fact, the unclad woman is, according to Jarman, an instrument of feminist revenge. Having cavorted (glumly) with the band, she proceeds to decapitate Gary and flaunt his gore-dripping head (the subtext was lost on Britain’s television regulator, which slapped a pre-watershed ban on the video).
“We use black lines to cover her up, so you can’t see anything. We wouldn’t want people to form the wrong impression,” says Jarman. “She was naked at the shoot. We did two takes. In one she wore a flesh leotard, in the other she was naked. In the end, we went with the naked version.”
Partly recorded in New York, The Cribs’ second album Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever features guitar lines from Sonic Youth amp fiddler Lee Renaldo. However, their dreams of hanging at Sonic Youth’s storied Murray Street studio – Shangri-La to a certain breed of scuzz-bucket rocker – were dashed when, upon arriving in Manhattan, they discovered Renaldo’s band leader Thurston Moore already in situ, working on solo material.
“We ended up doing it in Abattoir studios in Brooklyn. It was amazing seeing someone like Lee working up close. He really likes to punish the guitar. Extreme is never enough for him. He always wants to go further and further.”
Renaldo isn’t the only indie A-lister lending a hand on Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever. Franz Ferdinand’s Alex Kapranos produced the LP, having struck up a friendship with The Cribs on a tour of the US. “When you play 40 dates with a band, you get to know them pretty well,” Jarman resumes. “Alex was kind of a natural choice. He’s good because he keeps you grounded. He’s a pretty regular guy and good at serving the song. He gets you to keep the embellishment to a minimum.”