Slashing his speakers to create that distorted “You Really Got Me” sound, Davies has clearly been thinking outside the box from the early Kinks days onward. In the late Seventies, Davies became deeply interested in telepathy and mental visualization, and claims to have used these concepts to energize or heal concert audiences many times since then. In 1982, he was telepathically contacted by “five distinct intelligences” from another dimension, who significantly enhanced his consciousness and taught him the principles of “etheric magnetism.” Davies loves to scan the skies for UFOs, and extraterrestrial elements abound on Purusha and the Spiritual Planet, the techno/dance/New Age record he recorded in 1998 with his son Russell. DD is going strong in 2016.

Davies was born at 6 Denmark Terrace, Muswell Hill, North London on February 3, 1947.He was born the last of eight children, including six older sisters and an older brother, later band mate Ray. As children, the Davies brothers were immersed in a world of different musical styles, from the music hall of their parents’ generation, to the jazz and early rock n’ roll that their older sisters listened to. The siblings developed a rivalry early on, with both brothers competing for their parents’ and sisters’ attention.

Davies learned the guitar and played his first show with his older brother, Ray Davies, at the age of 13.

Davies grew up playing skiffle, but soon bought an electric guitar and started experimenting with rock. The Davies brothers and friend Pete Quaife jammed together in the front room of their house. Activities in the Davies household centred around this front room, culminating in large parties, where Davies’ parents would sing and play piano together. The front room and these parties were musically nurturing to the Davies brothers, later influencing the Kinks’ interpretations of the traditional British music hall style. Dave and his brother worked out the famous two-chord riff of their 1964 hit, “You Really Got Me”, on the piano in the front room.

Ray and Dave Davies remained the only two steady members of the band (with the exception of Avory until his departure) throughout their run together. They were accompanied by an oft-changing roster of bassists and keyboardists. Davies played a largely subordinate role to his brother, often staying behind the scenes. Davies would make occasional contributions on Kinks records as lead vocalist and songwriter, with classics such as “Party Line” (the lyrics were written by Ray Davies and the song has been attributed to Ray on many editions of “Face to Face”) and “Death of a Clown.”

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Davies was solely responsible for the signature distorted power chord sound on the Kinks’ first hit, “You Really Got Me”. He achieved the sound by using a razor blade to slit the speaker cone on his Elpico amplifier, which he then ran through a larger Vox as a “pre-amp.” This sound was one of the first mainstream appearances of guitar distortion, which was to have a major influence on many later musicians, especially in heavy metal and punk rock.

“You Really Got Me” was the group’s third released single, after two previous recordings that failed to chart. They had a three-single contract with Pye Records, and needed a hit to get another. Pye didn’t like the song and refused to pay for studio time.The band arranged other financial support to cut the single, which became a massive hit, topping the charts in the UK and reaching #7 in the U.S.

The Kinks released their self-titled debut album in 1964, and embarked on a world tour a year later. While the band came together seamlessly enough, conflict was always in the background. A rivalry had festered between the Davies brothers since childhood, and Dave Davies and drummer Mick Avory soon developed a tumultuous relationship, as well. They fought on stage during their first tour, when, after playing one song, Davies insulted Avory and toppled his drum set. Avory struck Davies with his cymbal stand, knocked him unconscious and caused a gash that required 16 stitches. Later that year, the American Federation of Musicians denied the group the permits required to play in the United States, and although they didn’t specify the reason, many believed it was because of these kinds of incidents.

In spite of internal feuds, the band was garnering both commercial and critical acclaim. Although he often took a backseat to his brother, Dave Davies was an excellent musician in his own right. With his signature, dissonant chord in “You’ve Really Got Me,” he influenced musicians of the day by being the first mainstream guitarist to use distortion on an album. In the past, as a member of the Kinks, Dave Davies had only released his own compositions on B-sides and as part of albums. The Kinks’record label sensed potential sales in a solo release from the overlooked Davies, and issued “Death of a Clown” as his debut. Although credited to Davies, it was technically a Kinks recording, as his backing band was the Kinks.

The Kinks released three albums and several EPs in the next two years. They also performed and toured relentlessly, headlining package tours with the likes of the Yardbirds and Mickey Finn, which caused tension within the band. Some legendary on-stage fights erupted during this time as well. The most notorious incident was at the Capitol Theatre, Cardiff, Wales, in May 1965, involving drummer Mick Avory and Dave Davies. The fight broke out during the second number of the set, “Beautiful Delilah”. It culminated with Davies insulting Avory and kicking over his drum set after finishing the first song, “You Really Got Me”. Avory responded by knocking down Davies with his hi-hat stand, rendering him unconscious. He then fled from the scene, and Davies was taken to Cardiff Royal Infirmary, where he received 16 stitches to the head. Avory later claimed that it was part of a new act in which the band members would hurl their instruments at each other.

During the late 1960s the group steadily evolved, as Ray’s songwriting skills developed and he began to lead the group in a whole new direction.The group abandoned the traditional R&B/blues sound and adopted a more nostalgic, reflective style of music, as showcased on songs like “Autumn Almanac” and “Waterloo Sunset”, as well as their albums, such as Something Else by the Kinks and The Village Green Preservation Society.

In spite of internal feuds, the band was garnering both commercial and critical acclaim. Although he often took a backseat to his brother, Dave Davies was an excellent musician in his own right. With his signature, dissonant chord in “You’ve Really Got Me,” he influenced musicians of the day by being the first mainstream guitarist to use distortion on an album. In the past, as a member of the Kinks, Dave Davies had only released his own compositions on B-sides and as part of albums. The Kinks’record label sensed potential sales in a solo release from the overlooked Davies, and issued “Death of a Clown” as his debut. Although credited to Davies, it was technically a Kinks recording, as his backing band was the Kinks.

Upon its release, “Death of a Clown” rose to number three on the UK Singles Chart. Wanting to profit off of the new buzz suddenly surrounding Davies, a solo LP was slated for release some time in 1968 or 1969. The follow-up single, “Susannah’s Still Alive”, was released in November 1967; however, it only reached #20 on the Melody Maker chart. The release of the solo album was held back, and it was decided to wait and see how another single would fare. As anticipation grew for the release of the new LP, it was nicknamed A Hole in the Sock Of.] “Lincoln County” was chosen as the next single, but failed to chart. By the time a fourth single “Hold My Hand” met with the same result, a combination of Davies’ own lack of interest in continuing and Pye’s decision to stop killed off any hopes of an album.

Eventually the tracks intended for Davies’ first solo album were assembled for a 2011 compilation by Andrew Sandoval entitled Hidden Treasures. It combined the singles, B-sides that were released for various Kinks singles and a handful of album tracks that Dave had recorded for Kinks albums. Three tracks included on “Hidden Treasures” had never been released before until this compilation “Do You Wish To Be A Man”, “Crying” and “Are You Ready”. Many of these tracks had been assembled previously for “The Album That Never Was” released in 1987 but this album primarily consisted of the released singles and b-sides that Davies recorded and released from 1967-1969.

In 1970, the Kinks scored a massive international hit with :Lola.” The story of a transvestite was very controversial at that time, and many stations, particularly below the Mason Dixon Line. In spite of that, it was a huge success. In 1980 a version of this song on  the “One for the Road – Kinks Live” got enormous airplay resulting in a Billboard Top 10 Album.

The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society and Arthur were released in 1968 and 1969, respectively. Although they received unanimous acclaim,Village Green failed to chart internationally, and Arthur was met with a mediocre commercial reception. These records, although praised by critics and the rock press, were commercial failures.

in 1970. Dave recorded two songs of his own for this LP, the acoustic “Strangers” and the hard-rocking “Rats”. The rootsy country-rock, and Americana themed Muswell Hillbillies was released in late 1971, and was well-received with critics, but failed to sell strongly. Their next five albums, Everybody’s in Show-Biz,Preservation: Act 1, Preservation: Act 2, The Kinks Present A Soap Opera and Schoolboys in Disgrace, which added a large theatrical ensemble, were critical and commercial failures.

Davies made several attempts at solo albums throughout the ’70s, but he never felt enough enthusiasm or interest to see the projects through. He would often act as the producer and engineer at the Kinks’ main studio, Konk, in his spare time, producing albums for the likes of several popular rockers of the day.  Ray Davies commented on his brother’s studio and solo work in a November 1975 interview:

My brother is all right, his life is dedicated to getting the [Konk] studio together. He’s really into that. He’s started recording, but I might even have to get a contract with him and say he’s got to deliver [a solo] album. It may be the only way he’s going to record is at gunpoint.

— in Hit Parader Magazine

The Kinks left RCA Records in 1977, switching to Arista. The group shed all of the extra backing vocalists and brass instrumentalists that had accompanied them throughout their theatrical years, and reverted to a five-piece rock group again. Their debut LP for Arista was entitled Sleepwalker, and was a commercial and critical comeback for the group. It was the first album in what critics usually call the “arena rock” phase of the group, in which more commercial and mainstream production techniques would be employed.Dave later commented that he was glad to be back to more guitar-oriented songs, and he has listed Sleepwalker as one of his favourites. His composition and earnest, almost desperate lead vocals, not to mention his particularly ripping lead guitar sound, led to airplay — especially on college stations — for his idealistic “Trust Your Heart” on the 1978 Misfits album.

Davies would see the group through both success and failure, as they reached their commercial peak in the early 1980s. The group began adjusting their commercial methods, embracing the MTV culture that was selling records at the time. The music video for their 1982/83 single “Come Dancing” helped hoist the record to #12 on the UK charts, and #6 in the U.S — their biggest hit since “Tired of Waiting for You” in 1965. The song was a nostalgic look back at childhood memories of the Davies brothers, remembering their elder sisters going out to dance at the local palais, and coming back home to the front room at 6 Denmark Terrace.  dave d 2

The Kinks’ popularity faltered in 1985, and soon their records ceased to chart altogether. Mick Avory left the band after the Kinks’ last album for Arista, Word of Mouth, mainly due to the growing animosity between him and Dave Davies.Ray Davies said that Avory was his best friend in the band and he unwillingly had to choose sides, as said later in a 1989 interview:

The saddest day for me was when Mick left. Dave and Mick didn’t get along. There were terrible fights, and I got to the point where I couldn’t cope with it any more…Mick had an important sound. Mick wasn’t a great drummer, but he was a jazz drummer — same school, same era as Charlie Watts.

Bob Henrit was brought in to take Avory’s place. At Ray Davies’ invitation Avory agreed to manage Konk Studios, where he also served as a producer and occasional contributor on later Kinks albums.

The group switched to MCA (US) and London (UK) records in late 1985, and began work on their next album, Think Visual. The record was released in 1986, but only reached #81 on the Billboard charts. Critics were lukewarm towards it, and it did not receive significant radio play. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic.com later commented that the album “represented an artistic dead end for the Kinks, as Ray Davies continued to crank out a series of competent, but undistinguished hard rockers.” Dave Davies contributed two songs to Think Visual, “Rock ‘n’ Roll Cities” and “When You were a Child”. Rock ‘n’ Roll Cities was chosen in the US as the lead single for Think Visual, and at its release it received a fair amount of play on mainstream rock radio. Davies and Mick Avory seemingly reconciled, as Davies asked him back to play drums on this track.

The group recorded several more records for MCA, their last studio effort for them being 1989’s UK Jive. UK Jive was received slightly better than Think Visual, but it failed to enter into the Top 100. Dave Davies contributed the song “Dear Margaret” to the vinyl record — the cassette and CD of the album also contained two further Dave Davies songs, “Bright Lights” and “Perfect Strangers”.

dave davies feature

The group left MCA and struggled to find a record label that would accept them. All four original members were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, but this failed to revive their career. Eventually the Kinks signed to Columbia records, who released their final studio album together, Phobia, on 13 April 1993. Despite lots of publicity pushing and press attention, the record was unsuccessful, peaking at #166. Singles released failed to chart as well, mainly due to a record label mix-up that delivered the records to store a few weeks late. To Phobia Davies contributed the songs “It’s Alright (Don’t Think About It)” and “Close to the Wire”.

Columbia dropped the group in 1994, forcing them to retreat back to their old Konk Records. The group released To The Bone on the small independent Grapevine Records in 1994.

The Kinks took a break from recording and touring in 1996. Ray and Dave reunited onstage to perform “You Really Got Me” onstage at the Islington Assembly Hall in London on 18 December 2015. Rolling Stone magazine called their performance “rousing”.

After the aborted solo effort, Davies’ solo career was not revived until 1980, with the release of Dave Davies (AFL1-3603), which featured Davies performing all the instruments by himself. The album, named after its own serial number, peaked at #42 on the Billboard 200. He went on to release Glamour (1981), which charted at #152. Davies brought in a back-up band to play with him on this record. Chosen People was released in 1983, but failed to crack the Billboard 200.

Davies had a stroke in 2004 while leaving an interview at the BBC. He has since recovered almost completely and continues to write and record music.

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Davies released his first true solo studio album in twenty years, Bug, in 2002. Fractured Mindz followed in January 2007, his first album of all new material in nearly five years. It was also his first new studio effort since his stroke in the summer of 2004 besides the track “God in my Brain” (which was recorded and released on the compilation album Kinked in January 2006).

Two Worlds was recorded throughout 2010 by The Aschere Project, the production team of Dave Davies and his son Russ Davies. Both members wrote, produced, and recorded all the tracks. About the album’s genre, Dave stated “it’s a mixture of rock, kinda classical and electronic music.” In February 2010, Davies released an autobiographical DVD filmed by his other son, titled Mystical Journey. His planned US tour in support of the release was postponed per doctor’s advice.It was announced in February 2013 that on 4 June 2013, Davies would be releasing his sixth studio album entitled I Will Be Me worldwide. Davies undertook a short tour of the US to promote the album Dave Davies performed his first UK show in thirteen years in February 2014.In October 2014, to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Kinks, a new album by Davies, with many tracks looking back to the start of the band, titled Rippin’ Up Time was released. Davies appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to promote the album in 2014. This episode was the highest rated Tonight Show episode in 2014.

In 2015 the Dave Davies solo album Rippin Up New York City was released on Red River Entertainment. Dave Davies embarked on a solo tour to promote the album in the USA in October and November. On 18 December he was joined onstage by brother Ray Davies to perform the Kinks’ hit ‘You Really Got Me’ together at Dave Davies’ concert in London at the Islington Assembly Hall. This marked the first time in nearly 20 years that the brothers had appeared and performed together.Other band members included Jonathan Lea on second guitar, Tom Currier on bass, Dennis Diken of the Smithereens on drums and Debi Doss and Rebecca Wilson on backing vocals.

In 1990,  Graham Nash inducted The Kinks into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and performed a rockin’ version of “All Day and All of the Night.”

At age 15, Davies was caught having sex with his girlfriend at his high school, and was subsequently expelled from school. He later discovered that she was pregnant, and their families forced them apart. He didn’t meet his daughter until 1993, and the experience deeply affected him and his work. He wrote a number of songs about the struggle, including “Funny Face,” “Susannah’s Still Alive” and “Mindless Child of Motherhood.”In addition to the daughter he fathered at 15, Davies married in 1967 and had four sons. He and his wife divorced in 1990. He also has three children from another relationship.

Davies is bisexual, a fact that he discusses at-length in his 1996 autobiography, Kink.

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