Dave Davies: Kinkdom Come
Kinks guitarist Dave Davies relives his tumultuous life, from growing up with brother Ray in postwar London, to global success with the Kinks, and the despair that followed.
Dave Davies, the legendary guitarist of the Kinks, relives his tumultuous life and times amidst the serenity of his Exmoor sanctuary. Walking across the moors that have fascinated him since childhood, Dave takes us back to life with Brother Ray in an extended working class family amidst the austerity of postwar London. Bringing to life its deprivations and triumphs, he reveals the profound sense of community and family bonds which underpins the extraordinary story of the Kinks. From their formation at a North London Secondary Modern, through time spent as backing band to an upper class crooner at debutante balls, Dave tells how the Kinks career as Searchers sound alikes was almost over before it began.
That all changed though when Dave attacked his amp with a rusty Gillette razor blade in the front room of their semi detached house in Muswell Hill. Slashing the speaker, he produced the distorted, barking dog guitar riffs which powered their first hit, You Really Got Me, catapulted the Kinks to worldwide fame and in the process rearranged the sonic architecture of the 1960s. Finding himself at the unlikely age of 15 enshrined along with Brian Jones and Keith Moon as one of the three undisputed Kings of Swinging London, Dave trailblazed the rock 'n' roll lifestyle. As he puts it, Dave did the partying and Ray wrote about it. In America Dave's shoulder length hair and subversive sexuality on stage drove teenage TV audiences wild whilst scandalising the Rat Pack generation.
Dave explains why The Kinks' refusal to compromise who they were resulted in them being banned from America at the height of their fame. For the next four years, while the Beatles, Stones and Who went onto global megastardom, the Kinks re-invented themselves as the quintessential English group with timeless hits such as Sunny Afternoon, Waterloo Sunset and Days. With disarming honesty, Dave reveals how the burning glass of fame caused the sibling rivalry between him and Ray to explode into violence on stage and mental cruelty off it. He tells how, by the end of 60s, the breakdown of the relationship between the warring brothers and his own surfeit of girls, drink and pills led to the mother of all rock 'n' roll meltdowns. Following the failure of his briefly successful solo career, Dave finds himself locked in a New York hotel room, listening to voices telling him to jump.