State Of The Kinks
By Dave Davies (as told by Elliot Cohen)
Trouser Press - November 1979
"I don't expect to be a Kink for an eternity. If I wasn't still
enjoying what I'm doing, I'd look a lot older."
Photo by Ebet Roberts
Low Budget was the first album we ever recorded outside of England. Ray now has an
apartment in New York, so we all got together for about a week or ten days. Ray had
a multitude of new songs and some very specific ideas on how he wanted them to sound.
I think the good thing about the al bum is that it's very spontaneous. We did it
very quickly. Misfits was a good album tech nically, but a bit sterile because of
all the work that went into it; it took so long. Low Budget was done so fast that
it has a lot of qualities that are lost when you put too much in, try to overrefine
I've actually finished recording a solo LP with which I'm very pleased. It was all
done with a three-piece band, just me, a session drummer we used on a couple of Misfits
tracks named Nick Trevesic, and a bass play er I've been friends with for a long
time. It's quite sort of basic rock 'n' roll which I've al ways enjoyed doing anyway.
The Kinks always have a new live album in the works. I don't know yet if we're going
to release it. Some of it's very good, some of it's bloody horrible. It would be
nice to have a new live album out. A lot of people who make live albums now, they
never turn out live anyway. Our first was pretty dreadful. It was recorded on a four-track
with very few overdubs because we didn't have the fa cilities for it. Nowadays you
can keep all the shouting and screaming in and do everything else again in the studio.
So there are very few live albums that are truly live anyway.
When the Kinks started, we attracted what were considered (in those days) outra geous
people - maybe because of our names. Gay or straight, I suppose they sort of left
their mark on Ray; we carried it on and found ourselves doing these silly things
we picked up from these silly people we'd met previously. When we first came over
here all the people who came backstage were all guys. Other bands used to attract
female groupies, but we would only get guys - gay guys, straight guys. A lot of people
used to comment how amusing it was to see so many guys backstage after a gig.
People always try to put someone in a particular category. I suppose if part of Ray's
personality is to act campy, people feel com pelled to define him, put him in a box
so they know what he is. But it's just an expression of what he is; I don't think
it has anything to do with whether he's actually gay or not. I've often been asked
whether I feel in competition with my brother. Logically I know I should say "Of
course," but I really don't feel that way. I have a very different personality
than Ray and I don't think I could ever lose that. We've been bound to gether for
a long time but I think we have very different views and are very indepen dent of
It's difficult, with Ray writing so much of the music, for the Kinks to do more of
my songs. I write a lot, but we can't play every thing. I don't feel I should impose
any re strictions on what Ray wants to do, as long as it doesn't impede what I ultimately
want. A group of people has to work as a unit; if Ray's the figurehead and the unit
works, it's all right with me.
Not that I haven't thought about quit ting - nearly once a week for the last ten
years, in fact. I don't know why really. There's still something very special about
getting up on stage, feeling that you play well, and getting the audience to respond.
All the traveling and the shit that goes with it becomes a pain in the ass, but there's
still something magical for me about getting on stage with the Kinks.
Dare I say it, there's bound to be some conflict with a lot of talented people in
one area. Mick and I came close to blows early this year when we were playing Lowell
Uni versity. We were ready to go at each other but there were a few people around
who managed to keep us apart. It was one of the last gigs of the tour, and we don't
tend to get pissed off at each other from living together nearly all the time. But
if none of us had any personality, no one would get any work done. There has to be
a certain amount of friction to do anything creative.
I like to feel I can do what I like and not have to rely on the group - socially
or any other way. On stage it's obviously different. Mick and I have a lot of respect
for each other, and I think our opposing ideals and views stimulate us. It's probably
one of the reasons we've been playing together for so long. Mick can be very abrasive
at times, but basically he's a very pleasant, sociable sort of guy. I love Ray very
much and I love Mick in my own sort of way, but I like my own in dependence, and
I don't like to be imposed upon by other people whether I love them or not.
I don't expect to be a Kink for an eternity. I'm interested in many different areas,
such as music and philosophy. I think one reason why I enjoy my role in the band
so much is that it gives me time to pursue interests that I hope later on I will
be able to express through my writing. I feel quite happy with the way things are
going right now. I can play and express myself and I've got time to do whatever else
I want. I suppose some times Ray is so totally involved in writing our music that
he can't enjoy life as much as I do. If one spreads himself out a bit, it can be
a lot more fulfilling. I've written quite a lot of poetry which I might take out
of the closet one day.
|Photo by Ebet Roberts
I still feel really young onstage; I'm still al most the baby of the band. If I wasn't
still enjoying what I'm doing, I think I'd look a lot older. I also feel more fulfilled
onstage than I have in the past because I enjoy play ing Ray's songs now; during
the concept per iod I wasn't particularly into playing music onstage. The concepts
themselves were great - I think Preservation should have been made into a movie -
but musically the concepts weren't going in a direction I was particularly keen on.
Now that it's gotten back to more rock 'n' roll roots sort of stuff, I feel more
into playing with Ray.
I don't want to play rock 'n' roll forever; I won't be able to anyway. But it's a
great arena for expressing your craziness. It's good for people who find it enjoyable
and it's very therapeutic for me as well. I suppose we're fortunate enough to be
allowed to express our craziness. There are a lot of people who never get the opportunity
to do that.
By Dave Davies (as told by Elliot Cohen) - Trouser Press - November 1979
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