His guitar sound made the Kinks one of the greatest bands of the 1960s – not that his brother Ray gives him the credit. Dave Davies opens up to Robert Chalmers about fraternal feuds, ceremonial axes, mystical encounters – and why he hasn't ruled out a reunion
My parents were ... working class, but very supportive of our family of eight children. They moved from the city to the suburbs after the Second World War to give us a fresh start. They were both from Islington, and the street they lived in had been bombed during the war.
For Davies, it's a chance to squeeze back into the songs that made his name – as any man of 66 might wish to revisit an old pair of jeans.
As a founder of The Kinks, with brother Ray, Dave Davies was a pioneer of the British music explosion that ignited the Sixties. Yet, while he devised the trademark jagged guitar sound that inspired many other beat groups, the younger of the two warring brothers was also on a more ethereal quest.
On paper, Pete Quaife had an enviable job: he was touring the world playing bass in the Kinks, one of the biggest rock bands of the 1960s: it was always party time as alcohol and girls were readily available and he didn't have to worry about the group losing its popularity as its leader, Ray Davies, was a master songwriter. In reality, he was constantly caught in arguments and scuffles between the fractious Davies brothers, and quite often they would gang up and take it out on the rest of the group. With an unsettled management team, the Kinks was always on the verge of breaking up.
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A musical based on a song by Ray Davies, frontman of the Kinks, and featuring 20 new tracks by the Sixties legend, will premiere later this year.
The history of President Records, one of the first independent labels in the UK, is inextricably linked to that of music publisher Edward Kassner. Born in Austria to Jewish parents in 1920, Edward dreamed of becoming a composer but his orchestral aspirations were cut short when Hitler annexed Austria.
“He was tipped off by his friends that they were rounding up Jewish boys,” says David Kassner, Edward’s eldest son and now MD of President. “He fled through Belgium and got caught trying to cross the border at Aachen twice. On the third occasion a German soldier caught him but let him go saying that he hadn’t signed up to shoot young boys.”