The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world




JULY 2015



It’s often hard to cite definitive moments in musical history but in my mind at least Hard Rock was given birth by the sound that Dave Davies created when he took a razor blade to slit the speaker cone on his tiny Elpico amplifier, running the result through his Vox as a pre-amp. The sound that resulted on The Kinks ‘You Really Got Me’ not only went on to lay the ground for Hard Rock, Punk and Grunge and inspire countless musicians but also gave the world the music of The Kinks: a band who at that point in time had a three ‘single’ deal and were about to deliver the third. The rest is history.


Finally getting to talk to Dave is a moment in life that is impossible to adequately convey. It’s like breaking bread with the man who created the world of music as I know it, and the fact that Dave is one of the most self-effacing interviewees I have ever had the pleasure of speaking to makes his call all the more perfect. Dave Davies is calling me - things couldn’t be better and the fact that he opens with ‘Dave here, sorry I’m late, there was a bit of a cock up on the telephone front’ makes me wish he could see how broad my grin is. The most magical moment of the interview for me though comes when Dave talks about the music that inspired him, there’s so much love and excitement in his voice you can’t help but want to tell him that is exactly what his music inspires in us all.

Mark: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us today Dave.  I think for me like a lot of people your guitar sound was what started the chain reaction that made music so exciting and took us off in a whole new direction back in the day.

Dave: Oh cool, thank you.

Mark: The great news for fans of course is that you’re heading back to the UK to play the Islington Academy in London on Friday 18th December.  You’ve got a lot going on at the moment with the new live album ‘Rippin’ Up New York City’ coming out so soon after last years’ ‘Rippin’ Up Time’ studio album and you’ve got a documentary film coming out too!   

Dave: That’s right, it’s good to be back with so many projects and get back on the road again. There’s nothing like playing live and I’m enjoying myself.

Mark: And so soon after the 50th Anniversary of The Kinks! What’s it like to be heading back to London so soon, I think you were only here last time in April after a few years absence?

Dave: It’s my home town, I do miss it when I’m travelling and touring and I like to get back as often as I can.  I love the city and I love the UK and hopefully I’ll get to move back next year.

Mark: That’s great to hear. We loved the last studio record ‘Rippin’ Up Time’ it really took me back to the early sound of The Kinks, was that the intention?

Dave: Not really, I just wanted to get the songs out there without too much fuss and not spend too much time on things, sometimes you can spend so much time on things you kind of lose the plot a little. And I think that helped the sound and the mood of the record.

Mark: I loved the record and I loved the references to the past like the snatch of ‘You Really Got Me’ that you sound-check in there. Tell us a little about the documentary – what are we going to see in that?

Dave: Well it’s going to be called ‘Strangers’ and it’s about me touring, in America mainly, there’s interviews with fans, it’s about a Dave Davies tour, there’s  some backstage stuff and interviews and hopefully people will get a lot from that, see what it’s like. It’s really shaping up to be an interesting movie.

Mark: It sounds like it’s really going to bring us up to date. I really loved your autobiography from the mid-nineties ’Kink’ – with so many years and life events to add, and so much music in-between have you ever thought of updating that?

Dave: Yeah, it’s something we’ve considered but it’s not there yet (Laughs)!

Mark: That would be amazing as so much has happened to you over the years that followed.

Dave: Oh god! It’s a whole other book! (Laughs)!

Mark: I mean after the stroke and the whole process of getting back to normality and learning to play the guitar again

Dave: I think you’re right; it’s a whole new story. It’s certainly something to think about.

Mark: I guess the one question you must get sick of hearing though is, is there ever going to be a Kinks reunion?

Dave: Well it would be nice to do something wouldn’t it?

Mark: It would.

Dave: Of course a lot rests with Ray and how we would like to do it. I mean it has to be right for us both. But why not? Why not try and do it?

Mark: Why not, I think from the point of view of especially younger fans. I mean if you look at The Kinks and their legacy, could certainly argue that you created, or at least turned Rock and Roll into Rock music. People from Punk and Grunge and even Brit-pop have always cited the Kinks as being the defining band and there are at least a couple of generations out there that haven’t had a chance to see you. Plus a lot of us older guys would love the opportunity to see you together too!

Dave: It was a fascinating time and you probably don’t realise how influential you might have been over the years.  We always tried to keep a certain integrity in our music, which in this business isn’t always easy! We always tried to keep it pure, keep it pure and real.

Mark: I think you have and there’s a real quality to the music of The Kinks, the whole primal feel of it still sounds so fresh and really hasn’t dated at all, it still sounds so elemental.


Mark: With spending so long in the industry Dave, are there any bands over the years that you feel have had that certain something? And if not exactly have been as influential as The Kinks, have at least managed to capture something of the spirit you had?

Dave:  That’s so hard. Things are so different these days. But I think maybe Blur. They were very talented people.

Mark: Blur, I think, captured that ‘Englishness’ that you had, maybe more than anyone of their generation.
Dave: They might have borrowed a few things from us, but then that’s what music is isn’t it? You need people to inspire you and then you go on to do new things, or different things.

Mark: Taking it all the way back, was there any other option for you other than being a musician with the amount of music that was in the house when you were younger?

Dave: Well I didn’t like school very much, and I got chucked out at an early age, but I was a big football fanatic and I could have been a footballer I guess, but I think once music got a hold of me I think that pretty much took over my imagination.

Mark: And we are all so grateful it did. What is it that keeps you creative these days? What is it that inspires you at the moment?

Dave: It’s that overwhelming need to work, and I think that’s an inspiration for anybody: there are just so many new things to do and things to explore. I’ve always had an adventurous spirit and I always find new things to interest me musically.

Mark: There are some interesting themes lyrically on ‘Rippin’ Up Time’ – where did that title come from? Was it what you used to call going in the front room to play back in the day or is there another meaning to the title?

Dave: ‘Rippin; Up Time’?

Mark: Yes.

Dave: It kind of came from a combination of what I’m feeling now and memories of the past and what the world would be like in the future. It’s a mix of what happens when all those things come together. That’s kind of what ‘Rippin’ Up Time’ is all about and it kind of set the tone for the album.

Mark: It fits what you’ve done there really beautifully.

Mark: There’s one person I’ve always wanted to ask this next question of, and that person is you: who was your most enduring influence as a musician, especially in those early days?

Dave: I think looking back at the 50’s Lonnie Donegan was a big influence because he kind of introduced us to the Blues – people like Lead Belly and Big Bill Broonzy who was also a big influence – he had the voice, he wrote songs and he played great – Big Bill Broonzy. And also John Lee Hooker – who I thought had a great tone – he was very inspiring. But there were a lot of people – Eddie Cochran, Ricky Nelson, so many…

Mark: A lot of great names and ones that the kids can go and check out …

Dave: Oh yeah, they should!

Mark: As someone who has been involved I the creation of so many great albums, is there one album that sticks out for you – an album that you would have loved to have been a fly on the wall in the studio to see how it all came together?   

Dave: Oh wow, that’s such a hard question to answer! Because how I experienced it and came into music must have been so different than for my heroes. I mean I was a big fan also of The Everly Brothers and I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall for some of those sessions with Chet Atkins with him producing and molding that sound, I mean that must have been really special!  I mean songs like Elvis’ ‘Treat me Nice’! I would have loved to have been in that room! That must have been phenomenal! That vibe at that time!
Mark: Magical moments from music history!

Dave: And when you listen to ‘Something else’ by Eddie Cochran – it’s timeless! The sounds and the riffs and the feeling – it’s like “what’s going on”! It’s so exciting and exhilarating and uplifting! It makes you want to dance and get out and do something!

Mark: I think you’ve just encapsulated all I love bout music there – it is all about how music moves you, that incomparable feeling you get when you hear something like that. That’s the magic that will never go away and that’s what your music does for people of my generation.

Mark: I just have one final question for you if that’s cool?
Dave: That’s cool.

Mark: What is the meaning of life?

Dave: (chuckles) Good question! I think the meaning of life is to live it the best we can. It’s hard to be fearless in this weird, weird world… And to not take life too personally, because nobody knows it all. Try and be the best version of what you can, that’s all you can do.

Mark: I think that’s a wonderful thought to leave us with, and thank you for talking to us Dave. When I started interviewing, years ago one of the people I most wanted to speak to was you, so thank you for ticking that off the top of my bucket list.

Dave: Oh man, that’s very touching and thank you very much, take care of yourself.

Mark: And you keep on making music for us.

Dave: I’ll try, take care mate. Cheers.


Dave Davies spoke to Mark Rockpit - July 2015  



The Kinks’ Dave Davies plays London’s Islington Assembly Hall on Friday 18th December 2015.

Tickets are available from the 24 Hour Box Office: 0844 871 8819.
ook online:


Photos by Ian Heath and Al Pereira


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