Dave Davies – The Kinks

The youngest of Fred and Annie Davies eight children, David Russell Gordon Davies was born February 3, 1947 in London. From the music of their parent’s time to the music of his older sisters, all eight children were steadily surrounded by music of varying styles.

As normal in any family, there was strong sibling rivalry, most especially between the two boys. Competing for attention from both parents and and 6 sisters, older brother Ray and the younger Dave would develop a rivalry that would still be present today. As Dave would embrace all of this music, he would be developing a spiritual awareness as well. Later years revealing that he kept it to himself for the most part, as his family would think he had gone mad when he discussed it out loud.

At the age of fifteen, Dave was expelled from school when found having intercourse with Sue Sheehan, his girlfriend. When Sue’s parents found out she was pregnant, the couple’s families separated them. This relationship had an impact on Dave and he penned several songs based on this forced separation. Ray finally met his daughter Tracey in 1993.

The two brothers would develop their musical talent as they played at home with their parents playing and singing along with them and a close friend, Pete Quaife. Together, in 1963, they founded the group The Bo-Weevils, then The Ravens and eventually changing the name to The Kinks. Soon after changing the name to The Kinks, they signed with Pye for their first album.

From the musical sessions and parties in the Davies family’s front room, their 1964 hit ‘You Really Got Me” was worked out by the two brothers and Pete Quaife. It was Ray that is credited for writing the son but Dave’s customized amp that gave it the sound that made the monster hit it became. This same amp has gone to be used by bands all over for years.

On their first trip to the US, 1964-1965, the airline lost Dave’s Guild custom built guitar. Needing a replacement, the store he went to didn’t have anything he liked. Then he saw an old guitar in a case that caught his eye and he purchased it for $60.

Dave Davies is an unpredictable force in rock. It is his guitar-rock styles that have made heavy metal and punk what it is today. From Green Day to Van Halen, this Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member has left influences all around the world of rock music. Davies’ evolution as a musician, songwriter and recording artist has run parallel with his continuing passion to pursue a spiritual knowledge. Dave Davies’ guitar choice then were the Gibson Flying V and the Guild Starfire.

Dave’s lifestyle was somewhat lavish compared to Rays as he enjoyed fancy outfits, the best in guitars such as his Gibson Flying V. While Dave is considered to be an awesome musician, most band members and his brother find it challenging to work with you and get along with him. Both Dave and Ray deny any possibility of the Kinks reuniting ever.

Ray’s songwriting would continue to develop in the late 60s and the group would remain to steadily evolve. Ray’s songwriting started leading the group in a new direction, abandoning the traditional R&B/Blues and go with a nostalgic and reflective style. This style is showcased on “Autumn Almanac” and “Waterloo Sunset” and their albums,”Something Else by The Kinks” and “The Village Green Preservation Society”.

Within the next 2 years, The Kinks released several EPs and 3 albums while they toured relentlessly. Tension began building within the band as they headlined tours with The Yardbirds. Fights broke between the members on stage, some became legendary such as the incident while performing in Wales, May 1965, between Dave Davies and drummer Mick Avory. During their second number, Davies insulted Avory and kicked over his drum set as he finished “You Really Got Me”. Avory then knocked Davies down with his Hi-Hat stand, then fled the scene. Davies, unconscious and received 16 stitches to the head. Later, Avory would claimed that it was part of the act, where band members would hurl their instruments at each other.

Over the years, Dave Davies played several guitars. The one he played at live performances and the most recognizable was his Gibson Flying V that he purchased in 1965. He was one of a hand full that played Flying Vs at the time. After guitarist such as himself, Jimi Hendrix, Albert King and Lonnie Mack the interest in the Flying V took off and in time would become a signature axe for heavy metal bands.

The year 1967 would be a busy year for Dave Davies as he married Lisbet, a cousing of Quaife’s wife and his first solo single was released, reaching number three on the charts. He had other solos to follow as well. He and Lisbet would have four sons before the marriage ended in 1990. Dave also has three other children from another relationship.

Dave made attempts at a solo career throughout the ’70s, but his enthusiasm and interest lacked and the projects would never be completed. He would spend time between producing and engineering at Konk, the main studio for The Kings as well as produce albums for Andy Desmond and Claire Hamill.

For the group, it began to fall apart when, at the age of 29, Ray’s wife left him and their children in 1973. His fellow band members felt for him and would attempt to comfort him. Ray announced he was retiring at a concert and later that same night would attempt suicide by overdose.

In 1977 The Kinks went to Arista Records, leaving RCA all of the extra backing vocalists and brass instrumentalists that had been with them through the years, thus becoming a five-piece rock group again. Their album “Sleepwalker” was their debut for Arista, a commercial and critical return for the group and was the first “arena rock” album for the group. This was a favorite of Dave’s. Along with his talented composition and almost desperate yet earnest lead vocals along with a ripping lead guitar sound, such as in “Trust Your Heart” had much airplay primarily on college stations.

The group returned to the studio a month later and Dave felt there was still a future for the group even though there was still the rivalry between the two brothers. They finished up an album with one song in particular having special meaning to Dave “Perfect Strangers”. As Ray Davies mixed the album one weekend and Dave went on a short holiday, he returned only to find that Ray a removed most of Dave’s guitar parts. An argument ensued and a fight broke out. In 1996, The Kinks appeared together for the last time and Ray announced he was going solo.

In 1996 Dave’s autobiography, entitled Kink, was released. He spoke of his bisexuality that included a relationship with Long John Baldry as well as the tense professional relationship between the Davies brothers during their 30-year career.

With the Kinks being done as a group, Dave Davies recorded “Bug” in 2002 and in 2004 after finishing a BBC radio interview, he suffered a stroke. In 2010, with his son Russ, Davies wrote, produced and recorded “Ashere Project: Two Worlds”.In February 2010, the DVD, Mystical Journey, was release and Dave had a US tour planned to support the release but his doctor advised to postpone it.

Dave the hell-raiser and Ray the quiet one, together they were one of the few that invented rock and roll and made it what is today. For Dave’s 50th birthday, Ray sponsored a birthday party for him. When it was time for Dave to cut into the cake, Ray took the attention and jumped up on the table, talking about how great he himself was and then stomped the cake.

Now, with both brothers in the mid sixties, they remain distant from each other. Any rumor of the group reuniting have been squashed by both with Dave referring to his brother as an asshole. They are noted as having the longest lasting feud in rock and roll history and only communicate by email when needed for business purposes. They don’t even come together for funerals of past band member such as when Pete Quaife passed away in June 2010.