Dave Davies’ unusual self-portrait for MOJO is accompanied by his equally colorful description of himself:
I would describe myself as… handsome, sexy, 5ft 10 and a half, 12-and-a-half stone. Dark hair. Inventor. Metaphysician. Musician. Innovator. Gorgeous. Intelligent. Fabulous father. Loving, compassionate, kind. Generous. Modest. Humble. Magnetic personality. Generally wonderful.
Bob Dylan’s self-portrait was probably a bit better, but who knows, maybe Dave will grow into it!
Director and Kinks fan, Julien Temple beautifully captures Ray Davies’ wistfulness in his excellent documentary on the former-Kink, Ray Davies: Imaginary Man. Davies is allowed to gently meander around his past life, talking about his childhood, his family of 7 sisters and 1 brother, his early days with The Kinks, the development of his writing skill (the quality and consistency of which now makes him seem at times better than, if not on par with Lennon & McCartney, Jagger & Richard), and onto his life of fame, of parenthood, of growing-up, all of which seemed to happen so fast.
It would seem Davies has always lived his life with one eye on the past—from the nostalgia of The Village Green Preservation Society through to his film Return to Waterloo, Davies takes solace from the past. It gives his music that beautiful, bittersweet quality, as Milan Kundera reminds us that:
The Greek word for “return” is nostos. Algos means “suffering.” So nostalgia is the suffering caused by an unappeased yearning to return.
But it’s not just about wanting to return to some mythical past, it’s also about loss—whether this is the loss of the past, of opportunities, of career, or, even of memory—for without memory we are nothing. Memory keeps us relevant, and all artists want to be relevant. Throughout Temple’s film, Davies makes reference to this sense of loss, from the remnants of Hornsea Town Hall, to the changing landscape of London, or the songs he has written. And put together with the brilliance of the songs, the wealth of archive, and Ray Davies’ gentle narration, Temple has created a clever, beautiful, and moving film, which leaves you wanting to know and hear more.
Happy Birthday Dave Davies - founder of The Kinks and highly original guitarist, whose innovative playing style influenced Psychedelic Rock, Heavy Metal, Punk Rock and Brit Pop.
Mr Davies continues to make wonderful music and has just released a fab new CD Fortis Green 2, a follow-up to his 1999 release, named after the district in London where Davies was born, sixty-six years ago. The album is exclusively available at Dave Davies homepage.
Happy Birthday Dave Davies and long may you continue to make music.
Dave Davies - ‘Fortis Green 2’ promo
The Kinks - ‘Got My Feet On The Ground - written and performed by Dave Davies
The Kinks - ‘Susannah’s Still Alive’ - written and performed by Dave Davies
Dave Davies - ‘Death of a Clown’ Live Belgian TV, 2002
Of course not—as we have a whole thirty-minute concert of The Kinks to watch! And it’s a candy box full of all our favorite centers!
02. “Acute Schizophrenia Paranoia Blues”
03. “Dedicated Follower of Fashion”
06. “Good Golly Miss Molly”
07. “You Really Got Me”
08. “All Day And All Of the Night”
09. “Waterloo Sunset”
10. “The Village Green Preservation Society”
In June 2004, Dave Davies suffered a stroke as he was exiting a lift, in BBC’s Broadcasting House.
Suddenly the right hand side of my body seized up and I couldn’t move my arm or leg. Although I didn’t lose consciousness, I couldn’t speak. Luckily my son Christian and my publicist were there, so they carried me outside and called an ambulance.
Though he had warnings signs - waking up one morning to find he couldn’t move his right hand or speak when he opened his mouth - and was examined by a doctor, nothing indicated the imminence of his stroke. As Dave later wrote in the Daily Mail in 2006:
I was told I’d had a stroke - or, in medical terms, a cerebral infraction. An ‘infarct’ is an area of dead tissue and there was a patch of it on the left side of my brain - the bit that controls movement on the right side.
The doctors told me I had high blood pressure and that this was what had caused the stroke. They thought I’d probably had high blood pressure for at least ten years….
...Two weeks after my stroke, I finally plucked the courage to pick up my guitar. I held it across my lap, pressing on the strings. I could feel everything but the hand itself was virtually immobile.
I knew I was going to have to work very hard if I was to get better, and I started using meditation and visualisation. I thought if I could visualise myself running, walking and playing the guitar, it might prompt my brain to remember how I used to be.
It took Dave 18 months of physio, determination and hard work, to get “about 85 per cent back to normal”.
I believe my stroke was meant to happen to slow me down. I’d like to write and male films and start a foundation where I can help people be more spiritual…
...For now I appreciate my slower pace of life. I feel I have discovered an inner strength which I know will see me through any adversity.
Made in 2011, Julien Temple’s pastoral documentary Kinkdom Come is a touching portrait of the other half of The Kinks, Dave Davies.
Opening with Davies in the wilds of Exmoor, where he revels in the desolation and the quiet, Temple’s film moves through Dave’s life story, examining key moments in his childhood, his career as guitarist with The Kinks, his openness about sexuality, his (some would say torturous) relationship with his brother Ray, and the damagingly high cost of that all of his fame, success and position as “iconic Sixties figure” has cost him.
Throughout, Dave comes across as an honest, gentle soul, slightly lost, beautifully innocent, almost ethereal, as if he is a visitor from some other galaxy.
Though his stroke in 2004 made Dave Davies more mindful of what he is doing and “appreciative of the chance to do it,” there’s still little chance of a Kinks reunion anytime soon, as Dave tells Neil McCormick in an interview over at the Telegraph:
“About an hour with Ray’s my limit, so it would be a very short reunion.”
Dave talks to Neil about his relationship with Ray, his time in The Kinks and his thoughts about being a sixties superstar:
‘I felt that I was indestructible, but rock and roll does that, you strap on that guitar and think, ‘F—- the world.’ I wasn’t a very academic kid, and music was the way for all that feeling and angst and sex and love and anger to be channelled.”
Dave has always been “the other Kink”, and it is his dysfunctional relationship with his more famous, more acclaimed and, arguably, more accomplished brother that has come to define him in the public’s eye. They could be the prototype for the Gallagher brothers, their bickering, battling relationship so mutually dependent and disharmonious that, even though the Kinks disbanded in 1996, Ray still constantly hovers at the edges of conversation, alluded to directly and indirectly.
One moment Dave will describe Ray as “a vain, egotistical arsehole”, but another he will profess profound respect and affection, saying: “How could I not love my own brother? I just can’t stand to be with him.”
Dave and Ray grew up in a large (six girls, two boys) working-class family in Muswell Hill, close to where we meet. “I had to look sibling rivalry up in the encyclopaedia: for years, I didn’t even know what it meant. He was my older brother. I looked up to him; he inspired me.
“I thought what we were doing in the Kinks was collaborative. But Ray uses different words to me. He would talk about me as his muse. So I’m important to be in his life, but only as a support for what he’s doing. That’s a pretty hard pill to swallow.”
Davis is still performing, and claims he sounds and plays better now than ever before. He is working on a ‘new’ alum, and though never as prolific as Ray, Dave is still a fine songwriter, as this classic track, “Death of a Clown” attests.
You’ve really got to hand it to Dave Davies: neither a stroke, nor advanced age, has seemed to mellow the former Kinks guitarist’s… intense hatred for his older brother, Ray. If this new interview from the Daily Mail is anything to go by (!) don’t expect the famously feuding Muswell hillbillies to reform the Kinks anytime soon, if ever. This is classic!
“The last time we were all together was at my 50th birthday party.
Ray had the money and I didn’t, so he offered to throw it for me.
‘Just as I was about to cut the cake, Ray jumped on the table and made a speech about how wonderful he was. He then stamped on the cake.”
A Kinks reunion? Never! Not since my brother Ray stamped on my 50th birthday cake (Daily Mail)
Below, a clip of Dave Davies performing “Death of a Clown,” a song about the great Stan Laurel of Laurel and Hardy fame. From the Kinks LP, Something Else.