In a recent phone call to the UK, the New Haven Local Music Examiner caught up with Dave Davies,lead guitarist and vocalist for the legendary "British Invasion" rock band, The Kinks. Dave Davies: musician,writer,Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame inductee, and innovator of a unique guitar sound, inspired generations of hard rock guitarists from different genres, including punk,hard rock,metal,etc..
Born Feb. 3rd 1947,Fortis Green,London,Davies, the last of eight children including his brother Ray, and later bandmate,was exposed to different music styles at an early age,from the music-hall of their parents' generation, to the jazz and early rock n' roll his sisters listened to.Dave and Ray developed a rivalry early on, and in the family front room, worked out the famous two-note riff to The Kinks' 1964 hit, "You Really got Me." This single,topped the charts in the UK, and eventually reached #7 in the US. The Kinks followed up and released three albums and several LP's in the next two years, including the massive hit single,"Lola," in 1970. The band toured at a feverish pace, and headlined for notable UK bands including the legendary Yardbirds.
During the 1980's, The Kinks adapted to the MTV culture of the day with the video of their 1982/83 single,"Come Dancing," that rose to #11 on the UK charts and #6 in the US- their biggest hit since "Tired of Waiting For You" in 1965. In addition to his work with The Kinks, this prolific English musician released several albums as a solo artist, including "Death of a Clown," co-written with his brother and fellow Kinks member,Ray Davies. The single reached #3 on the UK Singles Chart in 1967. Davies discussed his most recent work in this interview, including the autobiographical Dave Davies Kronikles:Mystical Journey(DVD) released in 2010, and his recent CD, a collaboration with his son Russell, The Aschere Project-Two Worlds.
ET-"So your grew up into a musical family,the last of eight children on 6 Denmark Terrace in Fortis Green,London?"
DD-"Yes that's right. My dad played the banjo in a band in the early 60's."
ET-"I've read that you and other notable "British Invasion" musicians in the 60's(Eric Clapton,Ronnie Wood,etc.) played a style of music known as "skiffle?"
DD-"Yes,"skiffle" was a combination of Dixieland Jazz and folk music in the 1950's, and the blues. Lead Belly was a blues player who had a big impact on me."
ET-"I understand that you and your brother Ray worked out the now infamous two-note riff to the hit,"You Really Got Me," in the family front room?"
DD-"Yes,another influence was the rhythm guitar player from The Ventures, and Johnny and The Hurricanes. They focused on the bottom 3 strings(octaves) as opposed to English guitar players who utilized all 6 strings."
ET-"You are one of the pioneers responsible for developing the distorted power chord sound?"
DD-"Yeah, the amp was an Elpico, and I took a razor blade and slit the cone from the center to the edge. I then ran it through a larger Vox as a preamp."
ET-"On your recent CD,The Aschere Project-Two Worlds(2011), you collaborated with your son Russell?"
DD-"Yeah,he's a big Kinks fan, and he's been a musician for the past 10 years. He plays in two bands,Abacus and Cinnamon Chasers.He also DJ's and has done some festivals. The album is a fusion of two worlds,musically, electronic dance and rock n' roll."
ET-"I noticed the CD has a heavy amount of synthesizer layering on it with,of course, your signature guitar work."
DD-"Yes it does."
ET-"You also released The Dave Davies Kronikles:Mystical Journey DVD(2010) and music CD. Can you talk about this work for a bit?"
DD-"Sure.Society has taught us to deal with the trials we face every day by external means, rather than focusing on the internal. The Shaman, indigenous to South America, was a preist/chieftain who one turned to when water/rain was needed, for example. We need to get away from the reactionary(hit and hit back) and utilize the energies around us. As in Yoga, when we breathe deeply, we think deeply."
ET-"What are the prospects for a Kinks reunion in the near future?"
DD-"We are at present talking about doing something."
In 1996,Dave published an autobiography entitled,"Kink," detailing his 30-year career with The Kinks. to purchase Mystical Journey on DVD,or the Aschere Project-Two Worlds on CD, visit http://davedavies.com.