By Ray Shasho
Dave Davies, guitar extraordinaire, vocalist and songwriter of The Kinks, is the founding member for the most precocious and critical bands in rock and roll history. The Kinks materialized musically in 1964 during the global hysteria of the British Invasion.
Dave Davies prolific power chords and older brother Ray Davies catchy lyrics scored commercially with “You Really Got Me” reaching #1 in the UK and #7 on the U.S. charts. That same year The Kinks released “All Day and All of the Night” another huge hit peaking at #2 on the UK singles chart and #7 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart in the U.S.
The Kinks quickly became one of the elite rock and roll music acts of the British Invasion.
THE NEW ALBUM ‘I Will Be Me’ by Dave Davies is a powerful and ingenious statement. It’s Davies sixth solo effort. The album features guest appearances by The Jayhawks, Anti-Flag, British blues guitarist Oli Brown, jazz/rock guitarist Chris Spedding, stoner rock/psychedelic group Dead Meadow, Aussie rockers The Art, The Bloody Hollies, guitarist John Wesley, Geri X and others. The opening track…“Little Green Amp” instantly unleashes an unyielding rock and roll frenzy with a glorious flashback to the days of The Kinks. Davies commanding guitar riffs and poetic hardcore melodies are superlative. The following track … “Livin’ in the Past” will be better appreciated at peak modulation, the song absolutely rocks! Other notable tracks on the new Dave Davies release are … “Energy Fields” A surreal psychedelic rock journey that transcends the soul into new dimensions. “Erotic Neurotic” is a deranged and hip lyrical driven arrangement accompanied by guitar wizardry. “You Can Break My Heart” is another offbeat creation that exemplifies the sheer musical genius of Dave Davies. “Walker through the Worlds” …is my favorite track, a metaphysical interlude piloted by Davies spirituality and inner peace. Really cool tune! “Cote Du Rhone” (I Will Be Me)… is the ending and title track for the new album, the song illustrates Davies profound and significant songwriting. ... I Will Be Me is extraordinary and brilliant; I gave Dave Davies new release FIVE (5) STARS. (Cleopatra Label Group)
DAVE DAVIES was born in London, England and grew up in a tight-knit musical family; he is the youngest of eight children including six sisters. Davies was well-versed on a variety of musical genres at an early age. After learning to play the electric guitar, he performed with his older brother Ray Davies when he was just 13 years old. The brothers recruited bassist and friend Peter Quaife and formed The Ravens. A self-produced demo tape was discovered by record producer Shel Talmy. In 1964, with Talmy’s guidance, the newly formed group landed a contract with Pye Records. Before they signed the contract, the band replaced their drummer with Mick Avory and recreated the bands moniker to The Kinks.
After The Kinks breakout chartbuster hits “You Really Got Me” and “All Day and All of the Night,” from 1965-1967, The Kinks scored their first wave of charted hits worldwide… “Tired of Waiting for you” ( #1 UK Hit, #6 U.S. Hit), “Ev’rybody’s Gonna be Happy”(#11 UK Hit), “Set Me Free” (#9 UK Hit, #23 U.S Hit),“See My Friends”(#10 UK Hit, #111 U.S. Hit), “Who’ll Be the Next in Line” (#34 U.S. Hit),“A Well Respected Man”(#13 U.S. Hit), “Till the End of the Day”(#8 UK Hit, #50 U.S Hit), “Dedicated Follower of Fashion”(#4 UK Hit, #36 U.S. Hit), “Sunny Afternoon”(#1 UK Hit, #14 U.S. Hit),“Dead End Street”(#5 UK Hit, #73 U.S. Hit), “Mister Pleasant” (#80 U.S. Hit), “Waterloo Sunset”(#2 UK Hit) and “Autumn Almanac” (#3 UK Hit).
In 1967, Dave Davies released his first solo single entitled “Death of a Clown” (#3 UK Hit). Davies also released the singles “Susannah’s Still Alive” (1968), “Lincoln County” (1968) and “Hold My Hand” (1969).
In 1968, The Kinks released their critically-acclaimed concept album Village Green Preservation Society. It was the last album to feature all original Kinks band members as bassist Peter Quaife left the group. Brothers Dave and Ray Davies would become the longest lasting members of The Kinks until their eventual demise in 1996.
Although The Kinks enjoyed enormous commercial success in the United States, an unresolved dispute with the American Federation of Musicians during their 1965 tour had sidelined the group from performing in America until 1969.
In 1970, The Kinks “Lola” written by Ray Davies reached #2 on the UK charts and #9 in the U.S. The song was inspired after watching their band manager, Robert Wace, dance with a transvestite. The song brought The Kinks back into prominence.
Also in 1970, Their single “Apeman” reached #5 in the UK and #45 on the U.S. charts.
In 1971, the band’s recording contracts with Pye and Reprise Records had expired. The Kinks signed a multi-album deal with RCA Records. The Kinks experimented during the RCA years with a series of theatrical concept albums and rock operas (1971-75).
In 1976, The Kinks signed with Arista Records. During this period, Van Halen scored a Top 40 Hit with a Kinks cover “You Really Got Me” (#19 U.S. Hit).
In 1977, the Sleepwalker album was released. The band returned to its rock and roll roots after years of concept albums. Low Budget (1979) became one of their most successful albums in America, peaking at #11 on the U.S. album charts.
The Kinks recaptured both Top 40 and top selling album status again in 1983 with the release of “Come Dancing” (#6 Billboard Hot 100 Hit) from the State of Confusion (#12 Billboard Album charts) album. The album also spawned the single “Don’t Forget to Dance” (#58 UK, #29 U.S.).
Word of Mouth (1984), their final album with Arista Records generated “Do It Again” (#41 U.S. Hit) their last single on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.
The Kinks were inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. The band called it quits in 1996.
In 1997, Dave Davies wrote his autobiography entitled Kink.
Dave and Ray Davies continue to release critically acclaimed solo projects and over the years there have been occasional rumors of a Kinks reunion.
Dave Davies solo albums … Dave Davies AFL1-3603 (1980), Glamour (1981), Chosen People (1983), Bug (2002), Fractured Mindz (2007), I Will Be Me (2013).
Sadly, original Kinks bassist Peter Quaife died in 2010.
In 2004, Dave Davies suffered a serious stroke as a result of high blood pressure.
I had the rare pleasure of chatting with Dave Davies recently about his brilliant new album … his current personal status with older brother Ray Davies … yoga, meditation and spiritualism in his recovery process from a major stroke … and will there be a Kinks reunion?
Here’s my interview with guitarist, singer, songwriter and co-founder of the legendary ‘Kinks’ …DAVE DAVIES.
Davies was currently on a mini U.S. tour when we talked …
Ray Shasho: Hi Dave, you must be somewhere in California by now?
Dave Davies: “I’m in San Diego. The tour is going great and I’m loving it.
Ray Shasho: Did you bring your Gibson Flying V on the tour?
Dave Davies: “(Laughing) well, the balance is all wrong but it’s still pretty good to look at.”
Ray Shasho: Dave, I know you’ve suffered a stroke back in 2004, how have you been feeling?
Dave Davies: “I feel fine, a bit tired today. It’s been a long couple of weeks but it’s been great and the audience reaction has been wonderful, they were all into it and everybody loves the new album, so it looks good.”
Ray Shasho: What was it like to grow up in a household with six older sisters?
Dave Davies: “It was quite amazing really. I think it really helped the creative process when you’re a kid; women have a different approach in creativity and emotions than men do. So it was good that we had that kind of influence. The artistic side of our family was very important because one person encourages the other. It was a vey enlightening place to be as a kid because of all the music and dancing and my dad played banjo, my sisters played piano and sang. My family making music was like a folk background really, banging on tabletops, playing banjo and all kinds of things.”
Ray Shasho: It must have been great to have a musical family because I’m sure they supported your decision to become a professional musician.
Dave Davies: “That’s right, there was never any money but my mom put two pounds deposit on my first guitar, a Harmony Meteor; it was the same guitar that I used on “You Really Got Me.” I wish I had kept it.”
Ray Shasho:”Do you have a nice collection of guitars at home?
Dave Davies: “Nope, I probably have four or five guitars left.”
Ray Shasho: Your website has a link entitled “Spiritual Planet” that is very informative in exploring all areas of metaphysics. It’s a very positive and uplifting site.
Dave Davies: “We’ve tried everything else and it doesn’t work. So the inner process joined with the outer process is vital. We need balance. We need to balance our inner life with our outer life. Nature is always sitting there waiting to help us but we have to do the work. Nature is probably the greatest teacher that we’ll ever have …the earth and nature.”
Ray Shasho: Your spirituality probably played a big part in the recovery process from your illness.
Dave Davies: “Of course. I may not have gone through it without that inner faith, belief or energy. Everything is energy now. And what is the point of being a pessimist? Tell me the purpose of it because I don’t get it. It’s so easy for us to talk ourselves out of things; we need to talk ourselves into things more. Everything around us … nature, people, animals, our lives and the environment depends on how we approach the whole world around us. It should be an exciting time because each individual adds a little more positive energy to the whole. It’s really simple stuff really. There is so much more to life than the big picture that is out there. The ancient cultures came to grips with the inner side of life, so we need to learn from these ancient cultures.”
Ray Shasho: Dave, I‘ve talked with a lot of artists who are connected with their inner selves and like yourself, seem to always generate an aura of positive energy.
Dave Davies: “It’s all tied in with the creative process. It’s not something apart from it but it’s all kind of linked in with it. So it seems obvious to me, for artists who have that sense of creative expression to perceive things that are beyond us. When we realize how much we don’t know, I think that’s when we start to learn. When we shut off and think we know everything, I think that’s dangerous. It’s the same with religion, like if we climbed up three rungs of a ladder and we’ve found “the truth.” We’re never done learning, its one step at a time. Then absorb the information and move forward, always a forward moving process. There’s also a thought process, you make a move and have to sit and contemplate the energy of the action. It’s a journey and I think we can define our own future from the inside out.”
Ray Shasho: So much to learn and so little time.
Dave Davies: “That’s true but we’ve got to try. With what time we’ve got we have to utilize it. I really have never understood why things need to be … ever since birth we’re kind of brainwashed to think we can’t do things. You’ll never amount to anything or you can’t do this or can’t do that. We kind of carry that with us and we have to get rid of it.”
Ray Shasho: Yes, there are always people trying to rain on our parade.
Dave Davies: “Those people are insensitive and we need to find out what makes those people insensitive and go from there.”
Ray Shasho: Dave, the new album is a powerful and ingenious statement. With all the crap that is being played on American radio, all I got to say is …God bless you man! I’m giving it five (5) stars!
Dave Davies: “Thanks Ray …you made my day!”
Ray Shasho: The opening tracks “Little Green Amp” and “Livin’ In The Past” instantly unleashes and unyielding rock and roll frenzy, but the tune that totally captivated me was “Walker Through The Worlds” … definitely my favorite song.
Dave Davies: “I’m so pleased, that is a key song to the whole album. That’s the one that I wondered what people’s reaction would be. It’s kind of like an innocent and eternal hope for the future. Sometimes the more you write about something the less you express; sometimes things can be expressed for its sounds, tones and a few words.”
Ray Shasho: Do you normally write the lyric or the music first?
Dave Davies: “It depends on what sort of song it is. With songs like “Livin’ In The Past” it was really the first thing I wrote. I wanted to get a Kinks type riff and then wrote the lyrics. “Walker Through The Worlds” was really about mood, feelings and imagination so it was a totally different approach.”
Ray Shasho: I also enjoyed the track “Energy fields” … simply mesmerizing.
Dave Davies: “That song is about the nuts and bolts of the things that I’m really into. Scientists are finding out now what mystics and yogis knew tens of thousands of years ago. About “energy fields” and the emotional world is a field of energy. Humans are a body, mind and soul, or spiritual being and are all run by energy fields. We’re finding out about all these things that the ancient ones knew all about. It’s like a part of every day life. We’re living in an abundance of energy fields, or dimensions or both. And we’re unlimited in our potential.”
“My favorite part on “Energy Fields,” at the end of the track is a little girl laughing, and to me it’s a child watching the world, her friends, and so-called grownup people, and the way they try to understand the world. But the little child girl at the end laughs … it’s a part of my humor as well. Trying to explain the universe and then turn it on its head … but we still don’t know.”
Ray Shasho: Dave your voice sounds amazing!
Dave Davies: “When you get older your voice matures and doesn’t get worst, I think it develops and matures with age. Sometimes we don’t always reach our potential until we get older.”
Ray Shasho: How’s your relationship with brother Ray Davies these days?
Dave Davies: “It’s not too bad. He does what he does and I do what I do. It’s tricky, people are different and sometimes it’s easier to get along with a total stranger than your own family.”
Ray Shasho: Do you and Ray chat with each other once in awhile?
Dave Davies: “Mainly business …emails. The thing about the older brother and younger brother is …what happens is that the younger brother often takes on the responsibility of the older one. The older sibling will often get angry or upset because he has to take the initiative, but the older brother sometimes needs to chill-out and listen to the younger brother, because he may have something poignant or more important to say. Older brothers will always criticize and try to put you in your place and its bullsh*t!
Ray Shasho: Dave, I have a similar relationship with my older brother, I feel your pain man.
If brother Ray Davies called you up one day and said he wanted to do a Kinks reunion … what would you say to him?
Dave Davies: “I would say define that, what does that actually really mean?
Ray Shasho: Well, the new album has definitely opened up a whole new world for you.
Dave Davies: “I’m so excited that people like it and it gives you leverage to talk about things you want to talk about and spiritual ideas. I’ve also been very interested in psychology, astrology and behaviors, so it gives me an opportunity to talk about all kinds of things.”
Ray Shasho: What forms of meditation do you practice?
Dave Davies: “The sort of meditation I do now is more in tune with the ancient Tibetan practices. They work very intently with the mind, trying to control the mind to enable the body to function in a more balanced way. A major problem in modern society is that we give our power away too easily. We can’t develop self will without hard work, discipline and controlling emotions. We can’t define our spiritual life by the physical world, but it’s there to help us. There are wonderful Tibetan practices that people can do and it’s all about clearing the mind and a continuing process of purification.”
“I’m a big fan of Carl Jung when he talked about the collective unconscious. In certain Tibetan practices, Lama’s, high priests, meditate in a certain way where it affects the whole of the mind. There isn’t only one mind; we like to think that we’re wrapped up in our own world and we’re encouraged to be like that. But really we need to realize that everything we think, express, say and feel is a whole mechanism of being a human being. I’m a great believer of things being in the balance system of microcosm and macrocosm. I really like those two worlds and I think the smaller can affect the greater.”
Ray Shasho: Dave, here’s a question that I ask everyone that I interview, If you had a “Field of Dreams” wish, like the movie, to play or collaborate with anyone from the past or present, who would that be?
Dave Davies: “I’d like to sit at a table for dinner with Eddie Cochran, Carl Jung and Swami Vivekananda … music, mind and spirituality.”
Ray Shasho: Dave, thank you for being on the call today, but more importantly for all the great KINKS music you’ve given to us and the brilliant new music you continue to bring.
Dave Davies: “Thanks Ray, take care!”
Purchase ‘I Will Be Me’ Dave Davies brilliant new release at amazon.com
Dave Davies official website www.davedavies.com
Watch for Dave Davies future tour dates at www.davedavies.com/tour.htm
The Kinks official website www.thekinks.info
Purchase Kink, the official autobiography of Dave Davies at amazon.com
Very special thanks to Billy James of Glass Onyon PR
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