Dave Davies talks about landmarks in Kinks history
By Richard Green
N.M.E. - February 1971
THROUGHOUT the Kinks' chequered career there have been six major landmarks
according to Dave Davies. Six things which in various ways improved the group and
helped to push it a little further. There were also three lesser events which, if
they had turned out the right way, would have provided that extra stimulus.
It's over six years now since the Kinks had their first hit with 'You Really Got
Me' but Dave, went back further than that when he recalled the group's devel opment.
"The first big thing was before we had a hit record, when we did a tour with
the Hollies," he began, "Working with big names was a good thing for us,
it helped us a lot.
"I remember you came into the dressing room and said we were like a copy of
the Rolling Stones
and Ray chucked you out!"
We laughed at that incident which occurred on only the second occasion that I met
the group. I'm glad to say that our relations have improved a great deal since then.
Dave went on: "'You Really Got Me.' We had quite a following before that near
Manchester and Liverpool and places. Everyone thought we came from Liverpool for
some reason. One night, some bloke who was introducing us said: 'And now, all the
way from Liver pool - the Kinks!'
"The next big thing was 'Tired Of Waiting' which was No 1 all over the world.
It was a change of style for us, we got a bit posher! Our material started to get
a hit more melodic after that.
"Then there was the Australian tour with Manfred Mann. That was very successful.
It was our first big overseas tour. Then it was 'Sunny Afternoon' - that enormous
hit all over the uni verse."
There was a period of medium sized hits and the odd flop before the final landmark.
"What started us going back was recording 'Arthur,' the LP," Dave pointed
Out. "We started getting things together a bit more. Going back to America opened
up a new thing for us."
Of the period in between. Dave said: "We had a string of smallish hits. 'See
My Friends' at the end of 1965 was a musical change. There was that terrible 'Dedicated
Follower Of Fashion' in 1966, the one Kink record I haven't got."
The three lesser events Dave listed thus: "'Wonderboy' was a big one for us
although it wasn't a hit. That was one song we really felt something for. 'Plastic
Man' was good but in a way the lyrics were ahead of its time. The sound on the record
wasn't the best possible sound we could have got.
"'Shangri La' could have been a turning point if it had made it. We were going
in a different direction then, going off the track we had been on before."
Dave's publicist handed him a list of all the Kinks' records and he looked at it,
snorted with laughter and commented: "I didn't know we'd had so many flops.
We made so many bad records!"
The list reminded Dave of two more records and he told me: "Before 'Lola' we
weren't work ing very much and didn't know where to work. The material was still
there, we probably didn't know which direction we were going in. 'Driving' was a
com promise record, it wasn't that bold."
I asked Dave if, at the beginning of the group, he had had any idea how popular the
Kinks would turn out to be and how much he'd changed during the group's career.
"Personally I wasn't really wor ried about the future," he admit ted. "I
was so much involved with what I was doing at the time. The only way you can do it
is to let it happen.
"You might be writing great songs for six months and then do nothing for six
months. The only plans we had were knowing what we weren't going to do. We decided
to go out with the inten tion of being different from every other group, both musically
and in image. I think we've done that to an extent without being totally cut off
"I didn't really think about what would be happening later, I'm sure Ray did.
If you worry too much about the future, you can't concentrate on what you're doing
now. I don't think I have changed over the past five years. I find it difficult to
criticise myself and what I've done, other than musically.
"Musically I've improved, you must do. Music means more to me now than it did
then. In the beginning we'd do shows and sometimes I didn't really want to play so
I'd get drunk and come late and not care if it was a bad show, but today I worry
about it a lot more."
Pete Townshend said recently that he was influenced at one stage by a couple of Kinks
records and I wondered if Dave agreed that the Kinks had influenced many people;
"Pete could have been influenced when the Who started, the time of 'I Can't
Explain' and they even did a 'B' side of one of our LP tracks," he agreed. I
can see Kink music in other people's but that can be just coincidence. Some of the
Lovin' Spoonful things and some of John Sebastian's sound familiar, but that could
happen to anybody. Every time you put a record on you can get influenced by what
When he spoke about the stature of the Kinks he showed an honesty. "I don't
think we're really famous," he stated. "We're as big as we want to be because
to be ultimately big like the Stones the responsibility is too great.
"We're in a sort of class of not being a big group but being a well-known group
and we're not in a position of having to set a trend like the Zeppelin.
"There's no other group like the Kinks, it's just the way it hap pened. When
we started we were just another rock band and there was another twenty groups doing
the same thing."
Dave seems somewhat uncertain about the future, preferring, as he says, to concern
himself with the present.
"Naturally we want hit records though I don't think we'd make a record for completely
commercial reasons, he mused. "Though 'Lola' was a commercial success it was
still something we wanted to do. I don't know what direction we want to go in but
the LP has just been released in America and we're gonna do an extension of that,
we've got three or four tracks already.
"I can't say how long we'll con tinue as the Kinks. The times you talk about
splitting a group up ... the first American tour we did, we came off stage one night
having played terribly and I just said 'Forget it, I want to leave,' but then at
other times you play so well you just forget it.
"Maybe this time next year I'll be a dustman or something, who can tell? I'd
be a fool if I thought I'd be a member of the Kinks when I was 35 but I'd really
not worry about it. I'm happy as long as I feel that what I'm doing is right for
By Richard Green - N.M.E. - February 1971
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