English all-sibling trio The Cribs — Ryan, Gary and Ross Jarman — may have produced the most confident record of their career with their new fifth assault, the garage-rocking “In the Belly of the Brazen Bull.” But guitarist Ryan had to endure a personal hell just to complete the Steve Albini-Dave Fridmann-assisted set. In succession, he broke up with his live-in London girlfriend, singer Kate Nash; moved home to his native Wakefield, and in with his brother, Cribs drummer Ross; and began losing weight at a rate that frightened his fans and family. The now-beefier Ryan says he has defeated his demons — in time for a tour that hits San Francisco this weekend.
A couple of years ago, you and Kate were settling in nicely to a flat you bought together. What happened? Things were really good at first. We were both musicians, which you’d think would create a very harmonious home environment. But I think it had something to do with living in London, which was very different from the way I was brought up in Wakefield, which is a very small town. So living in London, the stress really got to me, and I ended up quite ill for a while. I had a whole bunch of health issues, and they’d started to affect my relationships, so in the end, I just had to come home and get well. That’s not the reason me and Kate split, though — we were both making compromises to be together, and I just didn’t want to be responsible for anyone making compromises on my behalf.
You were looking downright skeletal for a bit. What went wrong with your health? Well, I’m definitely getting better now. But I just had a small bout with an eating disorder — I was sort of bulimic, anorexic. It was a really weird time, but I feel like I’ve turned a corner now. I’ve finally realized what the issue was, and it took me a long time to do that. I had a lot of people around me who were worried about me, but I just didn’t realize how bad it had gotten until it was, well, not too late, but pretty bad. I’d ended up so obsessed with writing this record, it was all I thought about from morning to night. That’s where this whole thing started, I think.
Are songs on “Bull” — such as “Come On Be a No One” — comments on your condition? That one’s about moving back to Wakefield. It was great to retreat back to complete anonymity. I liked the romance of it, of being just a guy in a family again.
IF YOU GO
Where: Great American Music Hall, 859 O’Farrell St., S.F.
When: 9 p.m. Saturday
Contact: (415) 885-0750; www.gamhtickets.com