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Davies Still Hopeful For Kinks Reunion


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Ray Davies

Gary Graff, Detroit

A few weeks back, a supposed reunion by the Kinks was trumpeted by several outlets. But frontman Ray Davies tells Billboard.com not to get its hopes up just yet.

Davies acknowledges he's had reunion discussions with the members of the Kinks' original lineup -- his brother, guitarist Dave Davies, bassist Pete Quaife and drummer Mick Avory. But "it depends on if Dave and I get together," he says, acknowledging that the younger Davies is still recovering from a stroke he suffered in 2004. "He's gradually getting his strength back, but he's playing again, so that's a good sign."

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this would be a very interessting reunion... this is the first time I have heard about dave's stroke... having that happen and recovering enough to reunite would be a HUGE accomplishment

yet another great band, who maybe is overlooked in terms of influence and popularity...

I'm not sure it will happen, but the fact that it is being looked at is amazing, considering everything that has happened

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Ray Davies open to Kinks reunion

By Cassandra Szklarski, THE CANADIAN PRESS

TORONTO - As the driving force behind British rock legends the Kinks, Ray Davies is responsible for some of the most enduring songs in pop music.

Now, the singer-songwriter behind such influential masterpieces as "Lola," "You Really Got Me," and "All Day and All of the Night," admits he finds himself both excited and disheartened by the changing face of music.

Davies, 63, sat down recently with The Canadian Press to discuss his new album, surviving a violent mugging and the prospect of a Kinks reunion:

CP: Tell me about the album, "Working Man's Cafe."

Davies: Well, the cafe doesn't exist anymore in the way it did. You know, I remember playing songs in coffee bars and there are Starbucks now. ... It's looking for a place to actually find yourself and have connections and it resonates as being home. I'm probably looking for home in (the title) song.

CP: Where do you live now?

Davies: I've settled in London for a bit, but I'm thinking of moving now.

CP: Where would you go?

Davies: I don't know. I want to find a community. The village I live in is near where I grew up and it's in the north of London. It's a really nice village but I want to find a community. ... I find (the village) a bit detached. And London is becoming quite expensive to live in.

CP: You also sing about the creeping globalization.

Davies: That song, "Vietnam Cowboys," was really inspired by a friend who was a film producer. ... War becomes entertainment. And how desensitized people become about seeing people getting shot, getting blown up. We see it on television everyday.

CP: And you experienced that first hand when you were shot in the leg by a mugger in 2004.

Davies: I did. And it hurts. Every time a bullet goes in it really does hurt. You're seeing it rather grotesquely portrayed in the film called "No Country for Old Men." I had that same injury as that guy had, and I couldn't get in the bath and stick needles in to make it (better). You just can't do that ... with that sort of injury you can't even walk, let alone (treat yourself). But maybe he was such a maniac he felt no pain.

CP: How do you not lose faith in humanity after such a violent incident?

Davies: When you're in hospital and you're struggling for your life, which I was ... you cannot be jaded, you're hanging onto the moment. ... I was trying to feel alive, it made me feel alive, appreciate the good things.

CP: What happened with the case?

Davies: The guy that shot me got away in a car and they caught the driver, who confessed to being the driver but there was an extradition hearing. It all got so complicated, and in America every state's got a different law. The guy basically skipped the state and they had to have an extradition proceeding to get him back. I know the guy's name and I know where he lives but I can't do anything about it.

You have a choice, you hang on to something - I'm alive, I'm OK, I was in a near-death situation - but what do you do? Hold up everything else? I want to make records, I want to write songs. I believe, ultimately what goes around, comes around.

CP: You released this album as a free insert with the Sunday Times last October, didn't you?

Davies: That was an issue with the record company after I delivered it because they were going out of business. They were bought by one of these mega-mega monolith-type companies. They were bought by the dark force.

CP: What company was this?

Davies: It was a company called V2 that did exist, it was in the process of being sold.

CP: And who bought it?

Davies: Universal. Darth Vader. I'm not saying they're all bad, there are some good creative people there but I think when it's an acquisition, there's not much thought given to the music and I had no say over that, really. I wasn't even contracted to do that. And I thought they'd do it in a more intelligent way by putting other tracks on from the last record and maybe demos. But they put most of the record on it, which was really dumb.

CP: Why?

Davies: It was the fear and panic in which I saw this English company crumble. And people I quite respected there lost my respect because they became cowardly in the way they do it. ... When you're young and brave and have a vision you can achieve things. The Kinks did that. The record company didn't want to put the version out that we wanted to put out with "You Really Got Me" and we really fought long and hard and risked being sued but because of it we had a vision - at least, I had a vision - and it went out and it was No. 1 in England. Any other way, it wouldn't have resonated with an audience. I knew my audience.

CP: What did you think of Radiohead's move asking fans to set their own price for their current album?

Davies: That was a commercial decision, I think, because they were out of contract, probably in negotiations and they weren't getting the contract they wanted. So they put it as a freebie and then they did a massive deal for the rest of the world. ... I think that those boys are more in control of their destiny than other bands.

CP: What else is on the horizon?

Davies: I want to do a collaboration album ... and I want to try (doing) a really good instrumental record ... and I'm doing a choral thing. I did a show for the BBC last October, "The Electric Proms," and I used a choir and some songs. And I'm doing a show in London this summer at Hampton Court Palace, using the band I tour with but with an 80-piece choir. So that'll be fun.

CP: And I have to ask this question, I know you get asked this all the time -

Davies: Are the Kinks going to re-form?

CP: Yes. What's your relationship like with Dave?

Davies: My brother and I get along well, as well as we've ever gotten. He was seriously ill himself. ... He had a stroke a few months after (my shooting). And he got really angry. I think when people get that sort of thing there's so much pent-up anger inside them, they feel responsible for it. I can't put myself in his shoes but he's recording at home. The others want to do it, the original band and the various incarnations of the band. It would be fun to do and I want to set a rule that we have new music as well.

CP: What do you think of these reunion tours, like with the Police?

Davies: They've milked it to death, haven't they? ... (Stewart) Copeland's a great drummer and Andy (Summer) is a good guitar player and (Sting) is good. But I saw the Police play in New York when they first came over and, I don't know, a good thing about the Kinks is, it's never the same every night.

CP: It seems a lot of fans are drawn to these reunion tours because they want to see if there'll be a blow-up on stage.

Davies (laughing): The Kinks would definitely not disappoint in that area.

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