1947 – Dave Davies, Kinks guitarist and frequent sparring partner with his brother Ray, is born in Muswell Hill, England.
Davies was born at 6 Denmark Terrace, Fortis Green, London.
Davies grew up playing skiffle, but soon bought an electric guitar and started experimenting with Rock.
Main article: The Kinks
Davies founded The Kinks with Pete Quaife in 1963. His brother Ray, who became the best-known member and de-facto leader of the band, joined soon after..
Ray and Dave Davies would remain the only two steady members of the band
Early years (1963 – 1966)
Davies was responsible for the signature distorted power chord riff on The Kinks’ first hit, “You Really Got Me”. especially during the Punk rock period. Davies later commented
“ I was getting really bored with this guitar sound – or lack of an interesting sound – and there was this radio spares shop up the road, and they had a little green amplifier in there next to the radios, it was an Elpico I started to get really frustrated, and I said, “I know! I’ll fix you!” I got a single-sided Gillette razorblade and cut round the cone like this (slitting from the centre to the edge of the cone), so it was all shredded but still on there, still intact. I played and I thought it was amazing, really freaky. I felt like an inventor! We just close-miked that in the studio, and also fed the same speaker output into the AC3O, which was kind of noisy but sounded good. ”
Dave Davies, in The Guitar Magazine – January 1999
“You Really Got Me” was the group’s third released single, after two unsuccessful ones that failed to chart. The single was a massive hit, topping the charts in the U.K. and reaching #7 in the U.S.
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. Avory later claimed that it was part of a new act in which the band members would hurl their instruments at each other.
Davies would remain with the group as they steadily evolved, as Ray’s songwriting skills developed and he began to lead the group in a whole new direction. The group would abandon the traditional R&B/Blues outfit and adopt a more nostalgic, reflective style of music, as showcased in songs like “Autumn Almanac” and “Waterloo Sunset”, as well as their LP The Village Green Preservation Society.
Mid-60’s Solo work
Main article: A Hole in the Sock of (Dave Davies)
In July 1967, Davies released his first solo single, credited entirely under his name, (although co-written by his brother and fellow Kinks member Ray Davies) entitled “Death of a Clown”. 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 release, “Death of a Clown” rose to #2 in the UK Singles Chart. Wanting to profit off of the new buzz that was suddenly surrounding Davies, a solo LP was scheduled for release some time in 1968 or 1969.
The follow-up single, “Susannah’s Still Alive”, was released in November 1967.
“Lincoln County” was chosen as the next single, but failed to chart. By the time one or two more singles were met with the same results, a combination of Davies’ own disinterest in continuing and Pye’s decision to stop killed off any hopes of an album.
Dave Davies would contribute the following songs to Kinks records in the ’60s:
* “Wait ‘Til The Summer Comes Along” (Kinda Kinks)
* “I Am Free (The Kink Kontroversy)
* “Death of a Clown” (Co w/ Ray Davies – Something Else by The Kinks)
* “Love Me Till the Sun Shines” (Something Else by The Kinks)
* “Funny Face” (Something Else by The Kinks)
Davies at the Rainbow Theatre, 1972
The solo LP was recorded throughout the Village Green Preservation Society and Arthur sessions. were commercial failures. After Arthur, The Kinks would go on to make a comeback with their hit single “Lola” and their concept album Lola versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One in 1970. Dave would record two songs of his own for this LP, the acoustic “Strangers” and the hard-rocking, proto-punk “Rats”. The band would make several major switches in style and lineup throughout the ’70s, from a standard rock group with the rootsy Muswell Hillbillies to a large theatrical ensemble with their records Preservation (Parts One and Two), A Soap Opera and Schoolboys in Disgrace.
Davies would make 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. He produced albums for the likes of Claire Hamill and Andy Desmond. Ray Davies would comment 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 would leave RCA records in 1977, switching to Arista.
* “Strangers” (Lola versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One)
* “Rats” (Lola versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One)
* “You Don’t Know My Name” (Everybody’s in Show-Biz)
* “Trust Your Heart” (Misfits)
1980s and Onward
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 #11 on the U.K. 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.
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 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 would later comment 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 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 would record 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 record.
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 onto Columbia records, who released their final studio album together, Phobia, on April 13, 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 would contribute 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 eventually disbanded in 1996.
1980s – 1990s Contributions
* “Living On A Thin Line” (Word of Mouth)
* “Guilty” (Word of Mouth)
* “Rock ‘n’ Roll Cities” (Think Visual)
* “When You were a Child” (Think Visual)
* “Dear Margaret” (UK Jive)
* “It’s Alright (Don’t Think About It)” (Phobia)
* “Close to the Wire” (Phobia)
Solo Work 80s – Present Day
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 was named after its own serial number. AFLI-3603 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 released his first true solo studio album in twenty years, Bug, in 2002.
In January 2007 Davies released Fractured Mindz, 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).
In February 2010, Davies releases a DVD, Mystical Journey, and will be touring in support of the release.
A Gibson Flying V
Davies has played a number of guitars over time, the most recognizable of which is his Gibson Flying V. Davies bought it in 1965,
Davies would later comment on his Flying V:
“ I used to play a Guild custom built guitar and the airline lost it on our first American tour in ’64 or ’65. In those days I used to only carry one guitar around and I had to get a replacement quick. I went into a store and they didn’t have anything I liked. I saw this dusty old guitar case and I said ‘What have you got in there?’ he said ‘Oh, that’s just some silly old guitar.’ He got it out and I bought it for about $60. ”
Davies has played many other guitars throughout his career. He has played several models of Gibson Les Pauls over time, including a 1960 Goldtop and a black ’78 model. On his website he lists the following:
* Gibson Les Paul
* Fender Elite
* Fender Telecaster
* ’54 Fender Stratocaster
* Gibson Artisan
* Gibson Futura (early Explorer body prototype played by Davies on the Shindig TV show)
* Gibson L5-S
* Gibson L6-S
* Guild 12-string acoustic
* Harmony Meteor
Stroke and Personal Life
On 30 June 2004, Davies suffered a stroke while exiting a lift at Broadcasting House, where he had been promoting his then current album, Bug. He was taken to University College Hospital in Euston. Davies was released from the hospital on 27 August. Davies said in a 2006 interview:
“ 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. ”
-Dave Davies, Daily Mail, October 10, 2006.
By 2006, Davies had recovered enough to be able to walk, talk and play guitar. He will return to touring in 2010, playing a few gigs in New York and New England, as well as one in Los Angeles.
He is a friend of horror director John Carpenter, and his work is featured on Carpenter’s remake of Village of the Damned. Carpenter also acted as godfather to Davies’ son, Daniel. Daniel is the singer and guitarist in the hard rock band Year Long Disaster.
Main article: The Kinks discography
Release date Title Chart Positions
UK Singles Chart US Billboard Hot 100 Australia Belgium Canada Germany Netherlands New Zealand Sweden
1967 “Death of a Clown” #3 #31 #5 #3 #2
January 1968 “Susannah’s Still Alive” #20 #18 #27 #10 #18
July 1968 “Lincoln County” #15
January 1969 “Hold My Hand”
1. Dave Davies (AFL1-3603) (1980)
2. Glamour (1981)
3. Chosen People (1983)
4. Purusha and the Spiritual Planet (1998)
5. Fortis Green (1999)
6. Fragile (2001)
7. Bug (2002)
8. Fractured Mindz (2007)
Live and compilation albums
* Solo Live – Live Solo Performance at Marian College (2000)
* Bugged… Live! (2002)
* Rock Bottom – Live At The Bottom Line (2000)
* Transformation – Live at The Alex Theatre (2003 release from Meta Media)
* Transformation – Live at The Alex Theatre (2005 release on Angel Air)
* Kinked (2006 release on Koch Records)
* Belly Up (2008) – recorded live at the Belly Up Club in San Diego on 29 April 1997, which was at the start of Davies’ first major solo tour of the United States.
* In the Mouth of Madness soundtrack, lead guitar on track # 1 (1995)
* Village of the Damned soundtrack (1995)