The Kinks former lead guitarist and co-founder for the legendary band, Dave Davies, rocked the house last night at the Bergen Performing Arts Center in Englewood, New Jersey. With this show Dave Davies, who is now 67, just wrapped up his tour in support of his recently released seventh studio album, Rippin’ Up Time, that was released last month on the Red River label. With the new album, which was recorded mostly in Los Angeles, Davies wanted to focus on conveying the emotion and the ideas that he had out musically, which he feels is easier to do than to get these across lyrically. The concept behind the album was a meshing of past, present, and future. He reminisced about the early days with the Kinks, but also acknowledged that even while being able to look back at these old memories, the music he is producing now is the future that he had dreamed of.
The Kinks were a legendary band with a fascinating history that included a rise to huge success early on, followed by a downfall that included the near death of frontman Ray Davies, and then a resurgence and return to popularity. In 1981 and 1982, the band had an extensive world tour that included dates at Madison Square Garden, as well as a final show for the tour in California before a crowd of over 200,000. Yet, within years, the band had another decline in popularity as they carried on in the eighties and into the nineties. They played their last show together in 1996 before splitting up, although rumors of a reunion have persisted ever since.
The Kinks were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. Many rock historians credit the Kinks with a unique style that strongly influenced hard rock, heavy metal, and punk for decades into the future. Dave Davies famously cut with a razor the speaker cone of a little green amp. It was an experiment, and he was not entirely certain that it was going to work, but he just wanted to try something that could better interpret his anger musically. Yet, what this simple act produced was a revolutionary new sound on the band’s breakthrough hit You Really Got Me which truly changed rock history. This new sound influenced many bands since, including some big names such as The Beatles, The Who, The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, The Clash, Van Halen, Oasis, Green Day, and the Pretenders, just to name a few. Davies says that the sound fit the way he felt at the time.
A number of songs from The Kinks have been covered by notable rock acts such as The Pretenders and, most famously, Van Halen, who did a legendary cover of You Really Got Me. But Davies is actually less than thrilled with that particular cover, claiming that Van Halen played better when intoxicated. He recalled one funny instance when a young fan came up to him and complimented him for what he mistakenly thought was the Kinks cover of a song that this fan assumed was a Van Halen original, although it was in fact the opposite.
The Kinks should have celebrated a 50 year career in 2014, but there are things that continually get in the way of such a possible reunion. Most visibly, there is the infamous quarrel between the brothers Davies, Ray and Dave. The two brothers have feuded and engaged in a very pubic tug of war over the image and control of the legendary band that they co-founded together. The two brothers fought both verbally and even physically over the years, both on and off the stage. Dave Davies argues that it was he who came up with the signature sound that allowed the band to break big half a century ago with the hit You Really Got Me. Both brothers have expressed interest in a reunion of The Kinks, and Dave has gone on record as saying that there is a 50/50 chance that such a reunion could happen. However, he also said that he does not simply want his brother to be in control, patronizingly allowing his younger brother to tag along and play the guitar. But he says that he is ready to talk with his brother Ray, and believes that they can work out their differences and make a reunion happen. Most likely, a world tour is not realistic, Dave says. But the band might be able to cut another album, and then do a few tour dates to support it.
In the meantime, The Kinks former lead guitarist Dave Davies rocked Bergen County last night to close out his tour. While he agreed that a reunion with his old band would be great for sentimental reasons, Davies acknowledges that Rippin’ Up Time is the present in terms of his music. He sounds appreciative just to have the opportunity to produce music and tour once again, having recovered fully from a stroke in 2004. This was the first and only show for Davies in New Jersey, where he now resides at least part-time with his girlfriend, who is a native of Bergen Country. However, Davies admits to not having acquired a Jersey accent just yet.
For now, however, the current tour by Dave Davies that just concluded was as close as possible to seeing The Kinks on their 50th anniversary. The Kinks former lead guitarist Dave Davies rocked Bergen County last night, as he mixed old songs by the Kinks with new ones from his solo career, including his recent album. Davies performed such famous and defining tunes from the Kinks as I’m Not Like Everybody Else, All Day and All of the Night, Tired of Waiting for You, Where Have All the Good Times Gone? and, of course, You Really Got Me. Dave Davies did nonetheless dedicate a song, Young and Innocent Days, to his brother Ray last night, although he smiled and playfully shook a fist, a way of not so subtly acknowledging the well documented tensions between the two. Dave Davies also performed some songs from his solo career, including the sweetly soft Flowers in the Rain, and King of Karaoke, during which a dancing girl came out wearing decorative glasses and provided backing vocals.
By Charles Bordeau
Photo by ultomatt and Joy Haydn- Flickr License