Ray & Dave Davies on 50 Years of the Kinks – Reunion or Not, They’re Still Busy (The Interview)

Rock Cellar Magazine

“The thing about The Kinks is that I’m a really big fan,” Ray Davies, the leader of the rock legends and its principal songwriter, told me when I caught up with him last fall.

“The Kinks always defied genre. We were our own genre. We were unpredictable and our music was really varied.”

That unpredictability, and the varied nature of the band’s catalog, is on full display in a clutch of recent releases. There’s the 5-CD The Anthology: 1964-1971, as well as the first of what should be a long line of exciting releases under a deal with Sony, The Essential Kinks and high resolution digital releases of The Kinks’ catalog from the early-1970s onwards, as well as an expanded version of 1971s Muswell Hilbillies.

Muswell Hillbillies was a complete reinvention,” Davies told me of the album that reintroduced The Kinks to America in a big way, after being banned from performing in the U.S. stemming from a dispute with the musician’s union here. “It was the first real record that we made after our ban from performing in America was lifted.”

“The ban came about in the mid 60s, as I like to say, from a a mixture of bad management, bad luck and bad behavior. We couldn’t work in America for nearly four years. But with that album I went back to my roots, in a place called Holloway in England, where my family came from. It was like we discovered a new identity in the suburbs of North London. It was a chance to retrace our origins. That’s why we called it Muswell Hillbillies. It’s based on very factual people. There were tracks called Uncle Son and Holloway Jail. It’s like a rock documentary in many respects.”

The recent expanded CD/DVD deluxe edition of Muswell Hillbillies, The Kinks’ 1971 masterpiece of working class social observation, remains a unique musical statement, remarkably relevant in today’s world. Newly remastered from the original analog tapes, it includes the original album in its entirety as well as nine bonus tracks (seven of them previously unavailable), alongside a DVD of rare 1972 television appearances.

And fittingly for a writer whose work has certainly stood the test of time, Davies is unabashed in his fondness for the work.

20th Century Man is one of my favorite performance pieces when I perform my music even now,” he admits. “It’s about urban renewal. They knocked down the area where my parents grew up and rehoused people. I had this imaginary character sitting in the last house with dynamite strapped to his body saying, ‘You can’t come near me’ while he’s fighting off property developers. I put myself into character in that song. It’s a character I still feel strongly aligned to in many respects. It’s an angry record, a poetic record.”

Dave Davies

Dave Davies

“Muswell Hillbillies is to me one of our key albums,” Ray’s brother, and The Kinks’ lead guitarist, Dave Davies told me when we sat down for several hours in New York City a few months ago.

“It uses a lot of different blends of genres of music. I liked the mix of genre. I couldn’t play it, but I grew up listening to and loved Earl Scruggs and Lester Flatt. My dad had a G banjo, and I loved to play around on that. My brother-in-law made a Hawaiian-like guitar for me, too. It was amazing. It made me play things a bit more ‘country,’ and it added a different emotional dimension to the songs.”

“Those old Hank Williams records, when the slide guitar or pedal comes in, have amazing tones and sounds. There’s a lot of emotion.”

Dave Davies also had keen ears for what was going on around him at the time, drawing inspiration from The Band in formulating his guitar parts and approach during the making of Muswell Hillbillies.

“I loved The Band,” he admits. “I loved them even more when I found out The Band was inspired by The Kinks. When you think just on the surface the two bands are so dissonant. But the more you listen, it’s like this undercurrent.”

Fittingly, like The Band’s music, the songs on Muswell Hillbillies hold up remarkably well, and began a long line of songs by Ray Davies that were inspired by American roots music.

“There’s a track called Oklahoma U.S.A. that I was just rehearsing to play the other day,” Ray Davies tells me. “It’s a great homage to the great American landscape movies. As (Ray’s 2013 book) Americana points out, my first impressions of America were through movies, the great heroes in the old black and white movies.”

Ray says that, like his brother, he was impacted by the rise of The Band, and that he took those cues while developing the songs and feel of the record.

“‘Acute Schizophrenia Paranoia Blues is pure Dixieland,” Davies says. “I engaged a Dixieland horn section to play on that record. Holloway Jail is country blues. It’s definitely rock influenced by Dixieland. In New Orleans I became friends with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and they said in an interview that a lot of my songs have been played as jazz songs. One of their horn players said that he couldn’t believe it.”

“One day they were on the street, and there was a busking band on the street playing Alcohol, from Muswell Hillbillies. There’s a complete acknowledgement of American popular music, folk and blues… Complicated Life was covered by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. They did a great version of it.”

As for the bonus tracks included on the new release, they’re hardly throwaways. In fact, Ray seems quite fond of some of them.

“There was a track called Kentucky Moon,” he tells me. “It’s not like the old rock song. I really love the first lyric: “Never been anywhere south of the Delaware.” I don’t know what that means geographically or whatever, but it sounds good.”

As good as the songs are, they wouldn’t have the immediacy or perhaps be as memorable without Dave Davies’ exquisite guitar work, on display throughout Muswell Hillbillies.

“I’ve had a lot of discussion, debate, and argument about this, but I always say that a lead guitar player’s job is to play and enhance the song, not to take it over,” Dave Davies tells me, firmly.

“I don’t know who said it, but someone said it years ago, ‘It’s not what you play, it’s what you leave out.’ That’s why there are successful musicians and those not so successful. The ones that listen have an instinct for where something should go. They’re the ones that always stand out for me. It’s all about hearing ideas with that producer and songwriter in your head.”

“When The Kinks worked, we’d have a debate about a song. It wouldn’t be, ‘Oh, maybe I should do a solo.’ It’d be like, ‘Maybe we should add a French horn!’ We wanted to add something to create the image we were trying to create.”

Of course it all began with You Really Got Me. On September 10, 1964, more than 50 years ago, The Kinks had their first number one with the instant classic. To celebrate the occasion, a must-have 5-disc box set, spanning the peerless output from that landmark year through 1971, was released last November.

The Anthology 1964-1971 features over 100 songs across 5 CDs, the most comprehensive collection of The Kinks seminal 1960s and early 1970s Pye label recordings ever released. Newly remastered, the box set features rare demos, interviews, alternate mixes and session outtakes, including 25 previously unavailable tracks.

Alongside You Really Got Me, the box includes timeless gems like Stop Your Sobbing, All Day And All of the Night, Till The End of The Day, A Well Respected Man, Sunny Afternoon, Dead End Street, Waterloo Sunset, David Watts, Autumn Almanac, Days, Picture Book and The Village Green Preservation Society.

There’s also a great new set from Sony/Legacy, The Essential Kinks, that amounts to a potted history of the period, and includes all the hits for the uninitiated, up through to the band’s last album, 1994s Phobia.

“I’ve never heard a Kinks song that I didn’t like,” writes David Bowie in his revelatory liner notes to The Essential Kinks.

Of course, from their noisy and brash beginnings, the Kinks have come to stand for some of the most enduring and heart-clutching pop of all time. They are in the gut of every British song-writer who followed them and are indisputably a cornerstone of everything pop and rock. I love ‘em. The world loves ‘em.”

But as many hits as Ray Davies, who was inducted into the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame last year, has had, he still marvels that You Really Got Me has not only sustained, but that it ever happened at all.

“We went to great lengths to get the the record to sound the way we played live,” he tells me of the seminal track when we catch up again after the New Year. “That was unusual at that time, but I took great care to do that. We recorded it once as a demo, then again at Pye Records, but it didn’t sound right. It was the third record of a three-single deal and we nearly lost our contract because I told them all I didn’t like the sound of the first two versions.”

“I had the sound in my head and it didn’t sound the way I thought it should. Of course, the record company thought that it was fine to put out, but I hated it and wanted to re-record it. In the end, the only way we stopped them was by not granting them a license. Then we had to pay for the recording ourselves. I borrowed some money from somebody, and I got the sound the way I wanted it. I knew what I wanted, but I couldn’t explain it to the engineers. Again, it was a very early part of our career, and the music industry was of a mind that young musicians with no hits didn’t know what they wanted. So it was quite a battle just to get that record out the way we wanted in the first place.”

In many ways, Ray admits, that signature sound was itself an accident.

“I was trying to write a country blues,” he tells me. “I started writing it on guitar. It was probably the third or fourth song I’d ever written. I’d written a few bad pop songs. But I imagined it more for someone like Roy Rogers or Gene Autry. I switched over to piano later, when I showed it to the band, which gave it a very different feel. It wasn’t until You Really Got Me became a number one record in most of Europe that people actually thought that I knew what I was doing. That was quite scary, because I wanted to be an artist. So I had to learn how to write songs.”

“But I think if I had been an accomplished songwriter, I wouldn’t have written You Really Got Me because there’s something naive and basic about it, with the key shift halfway through. If I’d been an accomplished songwriter I wouldn’t have written it in the key I did and I probably wouldn’t have made that shift, which was quite revolutionary but became common after we did it. So that gave me my first number one record.”

When I ask Davies if he’s ever considered stripping his signature song back to its country blues origins, he laughs, but admits he has.

“I’ve thought about doing that,” he says. “The good thing about that song – and I think it’s the same with all great songs – I think you can do them in many different styles. So I’d like to do it as a jazz song, or a Gregorian chant. It’s simple music, and that lends itself quite well to various different interpretations.”

Gregorian chant?

“I think the Gregorian influence came through from singing in church choir when I was in school,” Davies explains. “It’s a sort of modal melody. If you listen to the melody, or write the melody down, it’s very Gregorian in its sound. I was experimenting. When I was young, I was very musically uneducated. Apart from singing in that choir, I didn’t have much education musically. I had guitar lessons from my friends, and a few piano lessons, but I was learning my own style, teaching myself in many respects. I didn’t have many rules.”

“It was good for me, because I knew nothing. As a writer I was in a bubble, a musical bubble. I’d played in R&B bands, and some jazz and blues bands, as a sideman, so I was playing some of those R&B and mainstream jazz riffs. But as a writer, I was in my own little bubble. I never went out and asked other writers how they’d do certain things, like writing a beginning or an intro. I just kind of listened to what I liked and then found my own way through it. I’ve got this saying, ‘The more you learn, the less you know.’”

As for the proto-punk sound of The Kinks’ first hit – a far cry from the polished recordings of any of the bands from the burgeoning Merseybeat boom, especially The Beatles – Davies is clear that The Kinks were trying to do something different, but were also working within their own, early limitations.

“We just went our own way,” he says. “We admired other bands. The Beatles made great records. But there was a kind of amateur spirit to us. We were kind of undefined and trying to be experimental. You Really Got Me was really quite radical, with the key change, a kind of basic sound, basically doing what we had to do. I think we had found an audience, and we just wanted to entertain our audience with what we knew we could do well from our live shows rather than be part of the pop culture and the milieu of popular music. I think that our sound came about because we tried to be ourselves.”

“We just went our own way. I don’t think we had a different intent. That’s how it came out.”

“Dave had his own way of playing. I had my odd lyrics; quirky rhythm patterns and things. So it’s just the way it evolved. We really didn’t want to make our songs pop songs. We didn’t want to make syrupy pop songs, that’s for sure. It was a big step when we, for example, put the ‘oohs’ in the backing vocals in (the 1965 hit) Tired of Waiting for You. We thought long and hard about that. My girlfriend at the time was in there with me and Dave, but I didn’t want it to sound too syrupy. That was a big decision for us. As it turned out, it really paid off.”

Of course the hits kept coming, and both The Essential Kinks and The Anthology 1964-1971 are chock full. One of the best represented albums of the era – one not very well known in the U.S. – is Something Else By The Kinks from 1967, the first released after the infamous ban. Dave Davies, whose fiery new album Rippin’ Up Time harkens back to those same techniques, has especially fond memories of that time, when The Kinks, contrary to popular belief, got along famously.

“I remember it being a very warm, happy, galvanized band,” Dave Davies tells me. “There wasn’t as much friction going on within the band then. And I love that album. When you look back you think, ‘Man, that was good!’”

The typically humble Davies catches himself and laughs.

“I didn’t mean that! But when you play on something, and then don’t listen to it for years, sometimes, you think, ‘Hang on, that’s kind of charming in a way.’ It was a time when we felt we could do everything. That’s why the songs are so different.”

“I’d still written very few songs,” Ray Davies says of the earliest days of The Kinks. “I was given this wonderful palette of music that could be turned into whatever I wanted it to be. It was a kind of experimentation, where I could just try anything. It was a really new experience for me. Since I didn’t know anything, I tried everything. That’s why the music is so varied and diverse. I had all these wonderful tools at my disposal. It was an opportunity to explore and make a record. It was a new art form for me.”

Apart from much of the album, which was sung by Ray, a key moment on Something Else… is the track Death of a Clown, which Dave Davies sang lead on and that lead to rumors of him making a solo album and perhaps even leaving the band.

“I was just relieved to record it,” he tells me. “I’d had it for a while. I used to have that feeling – and I still get it with the stuff I’m working on now – this lovely feeling when we made that record. It’s like having kids. You worry about them playing a sport, if they’re any good… It felt right, but you’re never sure. There was trepidation. You kind of think that everything you do is good to a point, but when you try and be objective about it, it’s very hard. I know I just didn’t want it to be ordinary! That’s the worst word there is, isn’t it? Ordinary!”

It hardly was, and was another hit for The Kinks. David Watts – covered with “fire and skill” in 1978 by The Jam – was another instant-classic.

“We couldn’t stop laughing, because it’s about a real person,” Dave Davies remembers. “But it’s stretched out slightly and exaggerated in a way that’s very amusing. I think that’s a really important element in Kinks music. I like to use it in my own music a lot, especially when you’re trying to convey a serious idea. You can use humor to take off the edge off or think of things in a slightly different way.”

“I think humor’s always been a big part of The Kinks, despite the difficulties Ray and I have had over the years. It’s always kind of pulled us together on certain things. Humor is an essential part of Kinks music.”

Two Sisters is really poignant, but it’s obviously quite funny,” Dave Davies continues, discussing another track from Something Else included on The Anthology. “There’s a pathos. The Kinks humor is classy and pathos-y. I like that. And Harry Rag is great, too. When we first started to play it in shows in America, the hipper portion of the audience thought it was all about reefer. But it’s just about harry rag, a Cockney expression for fag, which is a totally different connotation anyway – a cigarette – so so that was very amusing, very fun.”

“Humor’s very important. I remember one of the funniest things that I can recall sharing with Ray was in a very serious situation. He was trying to OD after our White City gig in 1972 (when Ray collapsed during a filmed UK gig). I got a call in the middle of the night and rushed to the hospital. He was sitting there in the hospital like a little boy.”

“We both looked at each other, and we looked at the bed next to him, and there were a pair of boots at the end of the bed. We looked at each other again, looked at the boots, and looked back at each other, and he said, ‘He died last night.’ You know, you can’t make that up! We both looked at each other, and I said ‘For fucks sake, come on, I’ll take you to my house.’ He stayed at my house to recuperate or whatever.”

“So life is a bit of a joke. It plays big jokes on us. We think we get accomplished and get a bit of fame, like, ‘I’m this, I’m that, I’ve got this, I’ve got that’ but it’s all a bit of a joke. We shouldn’t take ourselves so seriously.”

Things should be taken a little bit more lightly. We shouldn’t take life so personally, I don’t think. That was always at the core of The Kinks. Anyway, Something Else is one of my favorite Kinks albums – and I love those songs – probably because of that intensity.”

The album also includes the timeless Waterloo Sunset, perhaps the greatest pop song ever written.

“The Waterloo area has played a very important part in my life,” Ray Davies tells me of his most celebrated song, one that he performed at the closing ceremonies when London hosted the Olympics in 2012. “It’s a district in London where they have a big train station. It’s in the middle of London near the houses of parliament.”

“It’s a beautiful spot. You know, when you romanticize it, it’s a wonderful place to be; seeing people going in different directions. I think many people have that sort of feeling about a special place in their lives. It’s a special spot for me.”

As for the inspiration for the song, it stems from a childhood operation Davies had.

“I’d had an experience in the hospital near Waterloo when I was young and then I wrote the song years later,” he tells me of a pre-teen operation he had to endure; a “repair job” from an accident when he was 7. “That’s the way I think a lot of writers work, particularly me as a songwriter. The experience I had at the hospital was probably 10 years before I wrote Waterloo Sunset.”

“But I remembered the moment of looking out. They wheeled me to the window with my stuff I was plugged into and stood me on the balcony – this beautiful balcony at the hospital – that looks out over the river. Probably I drew on that experience and put it in the song Waterloo Sunset, which is about a man watching two people, a young couple walking across the bridge to their future. And the couple, to me, represented my sisters who, amazingly, had enjoyed their lives despite some strife.”

“They lived through the Second World War. They remembered the blackouts and the bombs and having to hide in shelters in the back garden and going into the subway when there were bombing raids in London. And yet they loved that time. They wouldn’t have exchanged that time, amazingly, for anything. So the two characters in Waterloo Sunset were that generation going to the future. And I was a person observing from this window. And, probably, I thought of that experience years earlier when I stood at the window in the hospital. But that’s the way, I think, a lot of writers work.”

“You know, I’ve got another saying: ‘My subconscious is smarter than I am.’ When I write I draw on many emotions and memories from my past and present. And sometimes, as in Waterloo Sunset, it’s about the future, so all the elements are there. And that’s, I think, the magical thing you can do with song.”

“We wanted something different to introduce the song,” Dave Davies tells me of the signature guitar riff that opens the song. “I’d always been a big fan of Les Paul. We used tape delay, old-fashioned 1950s tape delay. So we stuck it on my guitar and it kind of sat in there when you dampened the strings, this little Les Paul-y echo effect, and that kind of set the scene. We had that sound as we were doing it, so that definitely inspired the feel.

“You know, it’s kind of amusing. It’s a sad song, in a way. It’s kind of reflective, and it’s also a very lonely song. Ray, even when he was young, he seemed often a lot older than his years. Especially those first crazy years, when I was out partying. He was sort of sitting around like my dad. I think it was a combination of his seriousness and worry.

“A similar thing happened with See My Friends,” Dave Davies continues, recalling the making of another key track from Something Else, included on both The Essential Kinks and The Anthology. “We worked on the arrangement and got what we thought we’d record, but when we went to listen to the playback – those those were the days when you couldn’t wait to get into the control room – but when we heard See My Friends we all felt like, ‘Huh, that’s what it sounds like?’ When we were doing it, we were all locked in with the mood, and when we heard it back it sounded horrible. So we had the inspiration to just pump it through some tube compression. Then when we heard it back it had that sudden surging feel from those old-fashioned tube compressors. They’re just amazing. Lovely. That gave it the warmth and drama it needed.”

Arthur was great too,” Davies says of the album that came after the remarkable, if overlooked The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society, which the Davies brothers discussed with me recently for Esquire. While Village Green is well represented on The Anthology, there are several from Arthur and they’ve never sounded better.

“It was based on real life people, from my mother’s brother and other family members who had gone through these experiences,” Dave Davies says of the 1969 album, likely the second “rock opera”, after Village Green. “It’s like a hangover from the Second World War. Those stories that our uncles and mother and father would have talked about, people who died and got lost in the war, these terrible experiences they went through. It has one of my favorite songs, Young and Innocent Days. I love that song. I do it in my show. That’s the poignant pathos again.”

“I think that what training I had was from writing and being an artist in college,” Ray Davies says of the twists and turns he’d taken as a writer to get to Arthur. “I’d draw my experience. The songs were character-driven. They had observations about people. It was like musical theater. The songs were very lyrical; very English folk, country. Every tune had a different cast and subject matter. I think in our own way, we were savvy enough to know that the subject matter made the content. In other words, the subject matter dictated what the record would be like.”

As for the huge leap the band had taken as players, and that Ray had made as a writer, in making Something Else, Village Green, and then Arthur, Ray Davies sees it as a natural progression and part of growing as artists.

“I think I was exploring a new art form,” Davies explains. “I do love making snapshots of people. Arthur was a bigger project. In a sense, Something Else was as well, heading in that direction. I think we wanted to explore making something that was a whole album experience, rather than picking out four or five key tracks. We thought, ‘Why make an album if it’s only going to be three or four hits?’ So I wanted to make something that would be a complete experience. Again, culture was evolving at that time. In America, we had people coming out, listening to our first records, and exploring the long form process. The Doors had L.A. Woman, though that was a bit later. But other people were heading in that direction.”

“With The Kinks, it was mainly about the writing, not so much about me and my image. I became like an actor and adapted my performance according to the role I was given.”

As for the ban the band endured from playing the U.S. from 1965 through 1970?

“It disillusioned us, because we had to worry about the American market,” Ray Davies admits. “That was a market that we cherished. So the ban was a terrible blow for us. In many respects, I didn’t think I was going to get to go to America ever again. So I immersed myself more in English subject matter, like on Village Green.”

“:If we’d been on tour in America, I probably still would have written about those subjects, but the records would have sounded a lot different. And the band may have gone down a slightly different route.”

As we wrap up, I ask Ray for some last thoughts on revisiting those long-ago days, especially in preparing The Anthology, as well as what fans might expect from him in 2015.

“When I listen to our old records, it’s a learning process for me as well,” he admits. “I discover bits and pieces like, ‘Oh, that double-tracking didn’t work.’ And then I’ll remember how we didn’t have the budget to re-record it. Things like that. As I sat down and listened to the Anthology box set, it was interesting for me hearing our learning curve – seeing how we evolved. Those records were made at a certain time, and there’s a definite sequence and evolution of the band. I find it fascinating listening, particularly the outtakes. I love all that stuff. And I think that the fans who like the music do like to hear the process, too. The outtakes and genuine studio conversation is all part of that. Everybody knows the music.”

“Those people who know The Kinks’ music will know most of the tracks. But it’s the process leading up to the take, the mood in the room when we recorded it, all of that stuff is very important. You can pick up on that. I remember a classic recording I heard by someone called Eddie Lang, who’s a jazz guitar player. He made a record with Bing Crosby, and somebody said in the session, ‘You have a bad cough, Eddie.’ He died soon after. It’s stuff like that that acts like a letter box, or time capsule, into the world at that time. That’s why outtakes are so fascinating.”

“Currently I’m working on archiving a lot of our video footage and audio tapes. And I like to know what’s going on when the camera stops running, what people say after a take, or what they say before a take. I’ve found an outtake for a master where I talk for about five minutes about how I wanted the song to sound. I was explaining to the band how I wanted the piano. It’s things like that that can give you a guide into what the record sounds like. You can hear this stuff, and then listen to the finished record, and understand the reasoning behind it. It’s historical. It’s all fascinating. It doesn’t say whether the record was good or not, but you can listen in on the process, and to me – and the fans too – I think that’s fascinating.”

As for the state of relations within The Kinks, both Ray and Dave seem resigned to the way things are for the moment.

“People don’t realize – especially Americans – with family and brothers, you get used to a certain level of abuse,” Dave Davies tells me when we wrap up our conversation and have a chuckle over the state of the relationship between Noel and Liam Gallagher, at least as it’s portrayed in the press.

“People used to get surprised at the level of abuse between me and Ray. When we were in the studio environment, with our disagreements, I saw engineers just aghast at the way we would go at each other. We probably just thought it was what people did, but it’s not good.”

For his part, Ray seems open-minded when I ask him about a future that includes working with his former bandmates.

“I actually ran into (The Kinks’ original drummer) Mick Avory last week,” he tells me. “Mick said to me that he always wanted to be a jazz drummer. And I just want to try out doing instrumental tracks. I love instrumentals. I started off as playing guitar in an R&B band, as I said. And lyrics are fine. That works, and I can do that. But it’s a relief to just riff and sit down and play with guys, to be part of a unit; a rhythm unit.”

“Part of the conversation prompted me to think about getting in the studio again. We have recorded a few songs already without Dave but we might try a few different things; just get a bass player and work on a few riffs. I made a documentary years ago for television about Charles Mingus and some of the tapes that he played you could hear his process. He was very much like a rock and roller in using trial and error. I think that most people think you go into the studio and make the final record, but there’s all of this trial and error leading up to it. I find that compelling and exciting. It’s revealing.”

“I’d like to make a record that’s really simple. As my career evolved, people expect the most intricate lyrical and rhythmic brilliant things. But I just want to write simple songs that move people, so that’s what I’m trying to do at the moment.”

He’s also planning to finish an album based on the song fragments he used in Americana.

AmericanaCover“I had lots of songs written for the book, and I’m going to use a lot of them,” he tells me, saying that he’s planning to get back to work on the project later this month with longtime guitarist Bill Shanley. “It’s something that I’ve done mostly in my home studio. I think it’ll be quite ambient; an ambient sounding record. Last March, in early 2014, I played two shows where I tested some of the material, and they went down really well.”

“So it’ll be quite an ambient record and hopefully it will come out the last part of this year, I daresay. So I’m breaking the songs out into certain types of subject matter to make it more narrative. It’s exciting, as ever ambitious, with some spoken word. Again, it’ll be experimentation. I want to try something different, not something that’s formulaic in any way. Hopefully it will work out.”

As we part, ever mindful that the press are always on the hunt for a story about a Kinks reunion, Ray Davies offers up some encouraging words for the faithful.

“I’m hopeful,” he says. “Again, with Dave, I don’t know how to read him. Mick (Avory) and I talk about music, and we play it until we get it right. And it takes a long time. With Dave, you just have to do it the first take. There’s not an easy way to get us to play together. That’s nothing new, but whatever happens, it’ll probably be different components put together, sliced together. I’d really love to see everybody come up with something, though. You know, the dream continues.”


Editor’s Note:  This random quote from youtube about Ray Davies is a fantastic summation of the impact of the Kinks.

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