If it ain't broke, break it: the unspoken motto of The Kinks
October 7, 2014 5:53 PM   Subscribe

"HH [Henry Hauser]: Ryan and Nina are right on target. The Ray-Dave sibling rivalry sparked many of The Kinks' most spontaneous (and brilliant) musical moments. The Storyteller, Ray's riveting account of early life in the Davies household and his band’s rise to prominence, has him describing how he and Dave exchanged scornful looks while recording "You Really Got Me". The elder Davies swears that if you listen closely, you can actually hear Dave yelling "Fuckkkoffff" right before his guitar solo. Ray salvaged the track by covering up Dave's profane exclamation with his own unscripted outburst ("Owwwww noooooo!"), and the impromptu rock scream turned into one of the most memorable quirks in Kinks history. It perfectly captures the animalistic agony that accompanies hopeless infatuation. Without the Ray-Dave rivalry, it would never have happened."

Henry Hauser, Ryan Bray, Nina Corcoran, and Stevie Dunbar at Consequence of Sound hold a round-table discussion in "Dusting 'Em Off: The Kinks – The Kinks".

From 2011, "You Really Got Me: The Story of the Kinks by Nick Hasted – review" by Alex Needham for The Guardian:
Thoughout their career, the band's motto seems to have been "if it ain't broke, break it". As Hasted's book makes clear, their most dramatic disasters have been self-inflicted. A 1965 Cardiff gig almost ended in decapitation when drummer Mick Avory threw a cymbal at Dave Davies's head after being informed by the guitarist that "your drumming's shit – they'd sound better if you played them with your cock". Three years later, Ray's refusal to hand over the sublime album Village Green Preservation Society to the record company on time ensured that it tanked.

The Kinks only seemed to feel at home on a sinking ship. After "Lola" returned them to the charts in the early 70s after a series of flops, and it was followed by another hit, "Apeman", the Davies brothers were positively displeased to find themselves back on Top of the Pops. "It did have that smell of: 'Oh blimey, not that again,'" Dave Davies tells Hasted. Happily, several catastrophes were around the corner, entertainingly detailed here – though the Kinks did become huge in America in the 70s and 80s, something often overlooked by British fans, who always associate them with their 60s run of era-defining singles, from "You Really Got Me" to "Days".
Bonus link: "Ray Davies denies Kinks will reform 'with or without' Dave Davies" – Sean Michaels for The Guardian, August 28, 2014.

Previously on MetaFilter (self-link): Long live the the Village Green – and the Mellotron
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (28 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
 
Presumably, bands’ first albums should catch them before any beef has formed

Nina Corcoran has not listened to Surfer Rosa lately...
posted by mykescipark at 6:03 PM on October 7, 2014


Several years ago I worked at a publishing company and we had our share of twenty-somethings, enslaved to all things indie/alternative. Anything to do with "classic rock" was met with scorn. At least three of these youngsters were handed my copy of Kink Kronikles. Every time the CD box was returned to me in a couple days with shaking hands and begging to know if there was more where that came from. God save the Kinks.
posted by Ber at 6:26 PM on October 7, 2014 [12 favorites]


Congratulations, I just spent 75 dollars on music.
posted by bird internet at 6:51 PM on October 7, 2014 [5 favorites]


Haha! 'sticking closely to the mercy beat and R&B sounds that were in vogue at the time'.
posted by unliteral at 7:00 PM on October 7, 2014


Heh indeed. Mersey me, I believe the editor is a bit wet behind the ears!
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 7:22 PM on October 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: We are the Custard Pie Appreciation Consortium
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:27 PM on October 7, 2014 [4 favorites]


I recently cleaned my old vinyl copy of Word of Mouth with wood glue, it turned out great.

The Kinks are still one of my favorite bands, saw them in concert at The Boathouse in ~87.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 7:27 PM on October 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


There are Beatles people and there are Stones people, and I am a Kinks person.

Here's a full concert video from a few years back...

posted by Cookiebastard at 7:27 PM on October 7, 2014 [6 favorites]


Heh. Either the writer or the interviewee said "Mercy Beat".

Mersey. As in Merseyside. As in opposite to Liverpool.
posted by clvrmnky at 7:49 PM on October 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


"celluloid heroes never feel any pain"

but vinyl heroes... they had it rough
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:53 PM on October 7, 2014


I saw them in Minneapolis in 1986 with my big sister and her (overwhelmingly pretty) college roommate. I was 13. That concert was great, but to be honest it kind of ruined me for most 80s music…in the best possible way.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:05 PM on October 7, 2014 [2 favorites]




So I've just got to say, "Thank you, Mr. Pearson (the 4th grade teacher one door over from my class at the Montessori-ish, artsy grade school I went to)"!

We had an end-of-school year party with his class, and he brought some Kinks Greatest Hits LP, put it on the record player, and we 3rd and 4th graders all rocked out like crazy. I knew The Beatles and The Stones, Jimi Hendrix, and The Doors by that time, but The Kinks. Wow, man. That was just the real fucking deal.
posted by droplet at 8:13 PM on October 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


Congratulations, I just spent 75 dollars on music.


That sounds fun. Unfortunately...

I'm on a low budget. I'm not cheap, you understand. I'm just a cut price person in a low budget land.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:20 PM on October 7, 2014 [6 favorites]


As a fan of the Kinks' music I don't really care about the character of the people in the band, though I do recall seeing Ray being a dick to Dave about Tears of a Clown. I've heard of the reports from time to time but really, they just sound like a lot of other people who really don't do themselves any favours. Sad as that is.

The article does focus on the music to a greater degree than normal (though perhaps not always accurately) but it inevitably goes to the "rivalry" being the key to quality of the songs. How could they possibly know this?
posted by juiceCake at 8:35 PM on October 7, 2014


begging to know if there was more where that came from

And the thing about the Kinks is there is always A LOT MORE where that came from.

joseph conrad is much more into the Kinks than me, but my overwhelming impression on buying my first Kinks compilation -- of 60s hits, I think: HOLY SHIT these guys know a great guitar riff when they see one. So many of those early songs -- All Day And All Of The Night, for example -- TOTALLY DRIVEN by Dave's guitar.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 9:20 PM on October 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


I love The Kinks so hard. Other than that I've got nothing to say.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:30 PM on October 7, 2014 [5 favorites]


Like the article pointed out the Kinks were the first to make a monumental hit, while using an edgy, distorted guitar sound, paving the way for other heavier sounding groups.
posted by Meatafoecure at 9:57 PM on October 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


In an interview a very long time ago Pete Townsend talked about Ray Davies being ten times the songwriter he was and how that was just a thing he had to deal with.
That edgy proto-punk sound of early Kinks still sounds like it was recorded 5 minutes ago.
Also, edgy proto-punk, but with an absolutely brilliant songwriter in the mix. Not too many bands were so fortunate in that respect.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 10:39 PM on October 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


There are Beatles people and there are Stones people, and I am a Kinks person.

OMG that's exactly what I always say.
posted by mr_roboto at 10:56 PM on October 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


There are Beatles people and there are Stones people, and I am a Kinks person.

Pity the poor Move people.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:28 AM on October 8, 2014 [6 favorites]


I read somewhere that Ray pimped Dave to an old guy. (Sounds like the Gallagher brothers in Oasis).
posted by Narrative_Historian at 1:47 AM on October 8, 2014


There are Beatles people and there are Stones people, and I am a Kinks person.

This the motto my wife and I are working hard to teach our kids.
posted by threecheesetrees at 2:24 AM on October 8, 2014 [4 favorites]


Heh. Either the writer or the interviewee said "Mercy Beat".

Mersey. As in Merseyside. As in opposite to Liverpool.


Probably an American spelling corrector. Merseybeat was the term for music from Liverpool, which is on one bank of the Mersey, the other side being Birkenhead.
posted by epo at 2:57 AM on October 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Pity the poor Move people.

It wasn't my idea to dance.
 
posted by Herodios at 3:53 AM on October 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Back in the early '80s I turned on the radio late at night and heard what sounded like a weird punk-rock cover of the famous Van Halen song, "You Really Got Me." I thought it was a pretty cool version. Then the DJ came on and said, "That was the original recording, by the Kinks, from 1964" and I just lost it. That was recorded the same year the Beatles were singing about holding your hand? Mind blown.
posted by Brachinus at 4:43 AM on October 8, 2014 [5 favorites]


I could slip a lyric in here, but I'm not like everybody else
posted by jonmc at 6:10 AM on October 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


A few years back I took my daughter, then 20, to see Dylan at a festival here in the UK. She weighed up the choice of a free ticket against the seriously uncool idea of going to a rock festival with her Dad… and took the ticket.

Anyway, Dylan was terrible. What staggered her was that just about everyone headlining was at least 10 years older than Dad (Dylan, Debbie Harry, Van Morrison), but the star of the show was Ray Davies.

He was having an absolute blast on stage, dressed as the most English of Englishmen in a three-piece suit. And lying on the grass, in the sun, with a beer, listening to him singing Taxman and Lola, was just about the best music I have ever heard.

Shortly after, I read an interview with his daughter who said that one of the saddest days of her life was when she realised that her Dad was cooler than she was, and always would be.

No danger of that in my family, though ;-)
posted by 43rdAnd9th at 8:50 AM on October 8, 2014 [4 favorites]


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