6/4/2012 – Doing Ray

Wiggy sends me a text. “We should do some Kinks”.

Of course we should do some Kinks. Everybody should do some Kinks. It will keep you honest. If “You Really Got Me” was released today…..it would jump out of the radio and slit your throat. That song made the Who and the Stones and the Beatles, collectively, sound like a pack of Mormon girl scouts. The first punk rock song. The first heavy metal song. Or both. Dave Davies….who got that guitar sound out of his 8 watt amp by slicing it with a razor blade, once said “it wasn’t called heavy metal or punk when I invented it.”

Oh, and “All Day and All of the Night” be even be better.

Growing up I spent almost as much time trying to figure out Ray Davies as I did trying to figure out Pete Townshend. This is one of the reasons I’m so mixed up these days….because if there’s one rocker more fucked up in the head than Pete Townshend it’s Ray Davies. Davies had more neurosis than a pack of psych wards. Him and his band had the misfortune to be banned from playing in America from 1965 to 1969, supposedly for stomping the shit out of an important member of an US musicians union. So while the Who and the Stones became royalty on the backs of the Beatles, the Kinks were sidelined. I can only imagine what the brother’s Davies could have done to the hippies at Woodstock. Flower power might have ended then and there.

So Ray stayed home and wrote weirdly brilliant song (noted rock critic Robert Christgau called “Waterloo Sunset” the “most beautiful song ever written in the English language”) cycles like The Village Green Preservation Society, Arthur, and Muswell Hillbillies, sold no records, and grew perpetually cynical and pissed off. He took out much of his anger on his poor kid brother Dave, introducing him onstage by saying things like “now the little twerp is gonna sing something” and usually getting bashed in the head in reply. The Davies brothers made the Everlys and the Gallaghers look like the Hardy Boys.

Muswell Hillbillies remains one of my favorite records of all time. When I listen to it, I can understand why Ray Davies has remained reclusive and sneering behind a pair of ray-bans for the last 30 years or so. His line “for Christ sake have a cuppa tea…” is every bit at good as “oh no there goes Tokyo”.

In 2004 at the age of 60+ he was mugged in New Orleans. After being bashed on the head and being relieved of his wallet, he actually got up and chased the guy….who ended up putting a bullet in Ray’s leg. Nobody fucks with Ray Davies.

So yea Ray, we’re gonna do ya. For Christ sake it’s an honor.

And as you once said….”I’m Not Like Everybody Else”.

Neither are we.

In a bit..

–tf

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