Hello, Cribs – could you sculpt Lionel Richie’s head, please?

We asked the punk trio to imitate the singer’s classic video and craft his face out of modelling clay. They got straight to work on their masterpiece

After three hours’ sleep and a set that ended with Ryan Jarman hurling his guitar across the stage in a blaze of feedback, the Cribs have come backstage for a slap-up lunch on the Guardian. They’re tired. They’re hungry. And they have yet to realise that we’ve just cancelled the slap-up lunch plan in favour of a completely different idea: how about they try to sculpt Lionel Richie’s head out of terracotta-coloured modelling clay instead? You know, like the blind woman did in the video for Hello? Hey, come back!

Glastonbury is a place where you often have to just go with the flow and the three Cribs brothers – true to their punk ethos – get on with things spiritedly. In fact, they take to the task with such professional aplomb that it borders on the terrifying. “You start adding and I’ll start trying to get his complexion right,” says Gary under his breath as they reach for the clay.

I’m amazed at their attention to detail; it’s all “that lip is too big” and “that is a real square jaw.” They’ve really looked at every aspect of his face rather than just slapping on a random Plasticine moustache and legging it to the bar. “Well, a lot of people do underestimate us,” grins Gary.

The thing that makes it all so sweet is how well they work together as brothers. There’s barely an instruction between them, more an unspoken awareness of how collaboration can lead to great results. “With us being brothers, a lot of people ask us how that helps our working relationship,” says Ross. “So it’s nice to actually show how it works.”

The Cribs get to work

After 45 minutes, the band are still moulding and their manager has to virtually drag them away for a radio interview. Masterpiece may be an overused term these days, but there’s no other suitable word for this. “It had to be good,” says Gary. “I would hate to think that this cast a shadow over his Glastonbury … ‘Oh, this bratty punk band came and mocked me with a really ugly bust.’”

They all took on specific roles during the making of the head: Ross did the heavy lifting, Gary considered the important hidden details and Ryan went for glory with the moustache. Is that how it works in the band?

“Yeah. I do the unnoticed work,” says Gary. “Whereas Ross fixes the van when it breaks down.”

And you, Ryan?

Ryan: “I like to stand up the front doing Freddie Mercury impressions.”


Tim Jonze

The GuardianTramp

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