Interview with Dave Davies of The Kinks

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Dave Davies, guitarist of The Kinks, is often credited with inventing a new style of heavy rock music when he slashed his amplifier with a razor to record ‘You Really Got Me’. From that point on The Kinks continued to pioneer new styles from baroque pop to folk and country. Their genre bending has at times complicated the bands success Davies claims. ‘The Kinks have always been prolific. People never knew what to do for the Kinks. We’d make a record hard-hitting rock and the next record would be ballads and concerned with social situations.’ Davies thinks that music listeners today are more eclectic and receptive of The Kinks disography. Davies explains ‘The Kinks music is serious and humorous, exciting and depressing. It’s shades of all colours of emotions. I think in the early days people wanted music to sound a certain but as people become more eclectic it has suited the Kinks catalogue. These are good times for The Kinks.

They have cemented their status as a quintessential ‘British’ band with albums like Village Green Preservation Society and Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire) that explore themes of the working British middle class. Davies speaks of a post ‘Brexit’ United Kingdom in saying ‘obviously I’m very fond of my homeland. I was born in London to a working class environment. I believe the British culture is important…the way we think and the great innovators.’ While immensely proud of Britain, Davies remarks we should be proud of our cultures and heritage…but also embrace other cultures and find out other things about our self. When you boil it down the main religions at the core have similar ideologies, maybe we’re not so different from each other as it seems.’

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Davies fondly remembers the early days of the Kinks. ‘In 1963 it felt like something immense and life changing was going to happen. It happened right until the Vietnam War.’ Swinging London saw an immense talent spread throughout the city. ‘The Who were big fans of ours, the Hollies were good mates, Jeff Beck and I were really good pals drinking in nightclubs. There was a lot of camaraderie but everyone held their cards close to their chest and didn’t want to give too much away.’

Davies new album will feature his son Russ Davies, a songwriter himself. It will be released on Sony’s RED label in the fall. Davies describes it as a more rock-pop album as opposed to the ‘Space Drama’ him and Russ did a few years back. ‘I’m very excited about it. We recorded at Russel’s studio and a lot over the Internet because the technology these days is great.’ The Kinks, who last performed in 1996, have had growing speculation about a reformation in recent years. Dave remains hopeful that the band could reunite. ‘I’ve been spending some time with Ray, throwing some ideas together. There are many things yet to come, from both my music and even The Kinks. Who knows? Ray and I are throwing ideas around, he’s finishing a solo album and I’ve been working on my stuff. But its all good positive stuff.’

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