“I don’t want to see the legacy of The Kinks soured by two miserable old men doing it for the money,” says Dave Davies. In a series of frank interviews, Uncut discovers the state of The Kinks in the 21st Century – a saga involving Godfather-style confrontations, flamenco songs, cursed concept albums, a troublesome pet rabbit and the tantalising prospect of, at last, reconciliation…
Originally published in Uncut’s February 2014 issue (Take 201). Story: Nick Hasted.
In the late summer of 2013, two brothers, both in their late sixties, met in a pub in Highgate, north London. Ray and Dave Davies, the creative heart of The Kinks, were talking seriously for the first time in nine years. They were meeting to discuss whether as The Kinks’ 50th anniversary loomed there was any future for their great old band. “We got together in August, and the first few days were beautiful,” recalls Dave. “We went up the pub and had a few Guinnesses, and we were talking about all kinds of shit, the old days and what-ifs.”
Getting to this point had not been easy for the brothers. The last time Ray and Dave tried to write together was in late 2003, six years after The Kinks had played their last show at the Norwegian Wood festival near Oslo, on June 15, 1996. Then, before anything between them could be taken much further, two things happened. On January 4, 2004, Ray was shot in New Orleans; five months later, on June 30, Dave suffered a massive stroke. Any plans they may have had then for a reunion were duly scuppered. Following his stroke, Dave spent a month at Ray’s house – ostensibly they were both there to recuperate, but predictably the brothers found themselves arguing instead. “That was the last time we spent any significant time together,” admits Ray. In the interim, however, Dave recovered from his stroke and last May, he started playing live again, giving rise to speculation of a Kinks reunion to coincide with their 50th anniversary. That seemed increasingly unlikely, however, after comments Dave gave in an interview in Rolling Stone
in September last year, where he described his brother as a “cunt” and an “asshole”.
But over a series of exclusive interviews with Ray, Dave and original Kinks drummer Mick Avory, conducted during October and November 2013, it becomes apparent that plans for a reunion are very much alive. “It’s as close as it’s ever been to happening,” Ray confirms to Uncut. Of course, any new Kinks activity relies entirely on Ray and Dave getting on. Speaking to both Davies brothers, you can’t help but pick up on their frustrated fraternal love – as well as a mutual desire to give each other one more chance.