A Conversation With Dave Davies

By Marc Holan

Scene - March 7-13, 1985

For over twenty years, The Kinks have given us some of the greatest rock 'n' roll music ever made. The Brothers Davies have survived in the face of passing fashions (just like Ray satirized so brilliantly in "Dedicated Follower Of Fashion"), and their latest album, WORD OF MOUTH, is arguably one of their finest efforts in at least a decade.

The fact that the new album is as much if not more the product of Dave Davies' abilities as a singer-songwriter-arranger-producer-engineer as it is of Ray's adds another dimension to the brothers' ever-evolving relationship. With Ray tied up with finishing RETURN TO WATERLOO, a 60-minute music-video statement, the responsibility for "bringing everything together" for WORD OF MOUTH fell squarely on Dave's shoulders. The results, as heard on tracks like "Sold Me Out" and "Living On A Thin Line," are some of the most inspired guitar playing on a Kinks' record since "All Day And All Of The Night" and "You Really Got Me."

The new Kinks' lineup with drummer Bob Henrit replacing original Kink Mick Avory will be playing the Coliseum Thursday, March 14, and the following interview with Dave Davies was done just before he was to catch a flight back to London for a four day break in touring the States. Although bothered by a persistent stomach virus, Dave brightened at the chance to discuss WORD OF MOUTH and various other topics.

SCENE : The new album has three of your songs on it, and that's more than on any Kinks album in recent memory. Was that something that you really wanted on this record?

DAVE DAVIES : Yeah, with Mick leaving ... and I've always wanted to be more involved on the production level anyway. You see, Ray was involved with the WATERLOO film, and it took some of the burden off of him by me doing a lot of work in the studio. So we split the work up. Probably for the first time in many years, we actually worked very closely together on a project. I obviously wanted a couple or three songs on the album, and we worked very closely with "Thin Line" to get it to sound how we both wanted it to sound, which isn't always easy.

SCENE : It was a major change for the band with Mick leaving, wasn't it?

DD : Well, yeah, but he's still involved with us in certain business areas. We have a recording studio and offices, and Mick is still a part of that, obviously. He'll always be a part of The Kinks in some way or another.

SCENE : Was it just the touring he couldn't handle?

DD : It was the touring, and I felt that we needed a new injection into the band's blood system. Every few years you feel like you need someone new to keep it going like new blood to stimulate things.
I'd worked with Bob on a couple of solo projects I'd done, and we just tried it session-by-session and day-by-day to see how it went. It seemed to fit in all right. I think it did anyway. I hope I'm not being presumptuous, but I think we sound better now than we have in a long time.

SCENE : Do you like to tour?

DD : I like it, and I dislike it. I like playing, very much. That's a difficult habit to kick, playing in front of a live audience. I mean, last night we played a great gig for 11,000-12,000 people, and you can't get that feeling anywhere else. But I hate traveling.

SCENE : Especially, here in America, where the distances between gigs are so great.

DD : That's right, and what makes it worse is, I don't like flying. I have to grin and bear it or go in the crew bus, which sometimes I like to do anyway. That's a lot of fun. You play cards, have a drink and play video games.

SCENE : Are you still going to do any solo albums?

DD : I'd like to, yeah. I'm hoping this year ... maybe after this summer, because we're going to be pretty busy up to the fall. I'm hoping to get involved with a new record company. I'd like to do it properly this time, maybe with the proper promotion.

SCENE : You obviously weren't able to get out and tour in support of your solo albums.

DD : Yeah, and the last album I did with Warners, they didn't really help me very much. They didn't give me much money to do a lot with, and you can't really do anything without money. Unfortunately.

SCENE : What happened between the STATE OF CONFUSION and WORD OF MOUTH albums?

DD : Lots of things. There was my problems with Warner Brothers, and then there was Ray's bust up with Chrissie. On top of that, he was doing the WATERLOO project, so they all kind of came together on top of each other, really. When you've got so many things on your mind, it's hard to get anything done, which is what happened last year, really. Last year was a strange one for us in all kinds of different ways on the personal level.

SCENE : There was a report that you had left the band. Was that report true?

DD : No, not at all. I don't know what that was. We were supposed to do some gigs, and they got canceled. We were in the middle of recording or something. I can't even remember now. It was last October, wasn't it?

SCENE : Yeah, it was.

DD : Rumors got started. You know what it's like. You know, word of mouth. People exaggerate things, but I still don't know where that rumor came from. It was actually even announced on MTV.
Someone sent me a press clipping from a Chicago paper saying that I'd been institutionalized, put in a loony bin. And I thought,(laughs) That's great. I wish somebody had told me. (laughs) I find that it all makes for good reading, but it's a pity it's not true.

SCENE : Do you personally feel that The Kinks have gotten all the credit they deserve over the years?

DD : No, I don't, but I don't really mind it. I suppose I was more angry about it a few years ago, but I think we're doing quite well now. I'm fairly happy now with what we do. We have a measure of success, and I still like to feel that we've maintained some form of integrity with our music which, probably if we'd had a lot more success, we might not have achieved. So in that way, I think we've gained a lot.

SCENE : Do you think that's one thing that holds you all together?

DD : It's possible, yeah. Take the fact that I've always felt that we've always been struggling to a certain extent. I've never been in a position where I didn't have to work, because I haven't been financially that well off. Possibly Ray might have been in that position at some point in his career, but I have to work. From a creative point of view, I felt that I've always struggled, and outside of The Kinks, I'm still kind of struggling a bit. But that's the way it is.

SCENE : So The Kinks are going to be touring through the fall, right?

DD : Well, we're going back to Europe, and we may be back here in the summer, hopefully.

By Marc Holan - Scene - March 7-13, 1985

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