He's A Dedicated Follower Of Arsenal

By Richard Mehler

Matchday - September 1998

Photo by Jackie BluesteinMatchday sits down for an impromptu chat with DAVE 'The Rave' DAVIES, guitarist/song writer and soulful backup singer for the leg endary rock group, THE KINKS.

MD: I take it you're an Arsenal supporter?

DD: Yeah. My old man was a big Arsenal sup porter. Living in Muswell Hill, it [Highbury] was quite close on the bus. We used to go every Saturday - me, Ray, and my dad. He was a sup porter when Ted Drake (42 goals in 1934/5 season - an Arsenal record) was a player. He used to drink with him in the local pub.

MD: Who were some of your childhood heroes?

DD: Derek Tapscott was my idol. He played inside forward for Arsenal. I remember watching him pass by our house. I couldn't believe it! Later on, Charlie George became a big hero of mine. I was at that Final (1971 FA Cup-giving Arsenal the double) when Charlie scored the winner - Unbelievable! A friend of mine went to one of the last home matches last season. He went to the bathroom to take a piss and there was a guy standing beside him going 'Arsenal, Arsenal, Arsenal' He looks 'round, and it's Charlie George - Great! It's like he's become an ambassador for the club - still a supporter - Fabulous!

MD: Did you hang out with any footballers back in the 1960's or 70's?

DD: I hung out with Tony Woodcock when he came here. He was a very nice guy. But sadly, I didn't really get to know the players at that time. Well, football's become very trendy now. It wasn't so much so then.

MD: What are your impressions of the club's new look under Arsene Wenger?

DD: I think what he's done for us is phenomenal from what I can glean from the news papers and hearsay, Wenger was very impressed with the players George Graham brought in like Steve Bould and Tony Adams. When Bruce Rioch was manager, Wenger supposedly called him up and told him that he should buy Dennis Bergkamp. So, it was like he had this vision for the club two years before he actually arrived. But he's smart enough to realize how to integrate these very talented new players like (Patrick) Viera and (Emanuel) Petit into the side. That's why Arsenal is so strong. They have the three areas of the team well spotted. They have skillful yet aggressive players. It's great because when these players first came to Arsenal they learned so much from the English players. The English league is one of the most competitive in the world and I think these French players love all this aggression and it has improved their game. They're going to take it back to France with them.

MD: Did you play much as a kid growing up in North London?

DD: Are you kidding? Absolutely - I was cap tain of the school team, loved it. The last two years of school were taken up by my gui tar, girls, and football. It's quite Interesting that Ray and I went in for another type of team sport. Being in a band is like being on a team.

MD: Did you and Ray ever play on the same side?

DD: We played on the Showbiz Eleven and the Melody Maker Eleven together. Some years ago, when Ray and I went on a trip with the Showbiz Eleven, I had the privilege of playing with Danny Blanchflower and Billy Wright. Blanchflower was a great passer of the ball - you don't realize it until you play with someone like that. I also played with John Charles who was one of the first million pound British (Welsh) players that went to Italy in the early 60's. I never saw anyone kick a ball that hard. Frightening!

MD: In what ways do you think the game has changed in recent times?

DD: Things have changed quite a bit. Like Wenger's team are on a strict diet. They can only eat certain types of food. There was a center forward in the late 50's who played for Spurs called Bobby Smith. I played with him in a charity game once. He used to have half a bottle of Scotch and
before he went out on the pitch he would drink half of it and then rub the rest of it on his legs to keep warm. The passion now is massive. It's so competitive. There is so much money involved that players have to be super fit on top of their game.

MD: Do you still put on the boots?

DD: Yeah, but obviously not seriously. I like to have a little kickabout now, but I used to play fanatically.

MD: Do you recall exactly where you were during the England v Germany 1966 World Cup final?

DD: The Kinks were supposed to do a show at a festival in Exeter in the southwest of England. We were all ready to drive to the gig. We thought that if we timed it just right, we could catch the game as well. The streets were like the Blitz, nobody around. Muswell Hill was a ghost town. And of course, the game was phenomenal, unbe lievable it went into extra time. 'Shit, we're not going to make it to the gig!' But we were not going miss this. By the time we got to the show everyone had gone home and the promoter was really pissed. He kicked Ray right up the arse!

MD: Dave, how's the tour going?

DD: It has been great. There's a Dave Davies anthology coming out the end of August. It's called Unfinished Business. We're going to do a tour at that time to coin cide with the release. This tour has been a warm-up. It's been such a lot of fun. I've got a great little band.

MD: How do you like being the front man now?

DD: Oh, I love it! I really enjoy it.

MD: Any final words?

DD: Up the Arse!

By Richard Mehler, Matchday - September 1998

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