Ray Davies set the rock world aflutter late in June when he casually seemed to say that the Kinks were getting back together — and then characteristically undercut his comment by saying they’d be reuniting at the pub. Mark Goodman and Alan Light of SiriusXM’s “Debatable” grilled Davies on the subject today, asking him directly whether the famously fractious group, helmed by Ray and his younger brother Dave since 1963, are actually sorting out their differences and getting back together for the first time since 1996 — and as he’d said, reuniting with founding drummer Mick Avory for the first time since the early 1980s.
“We’ve got nothing to sort out — we’ll never get on!” Davies replied, referencing Dave and Avory. “But if we acknowledge that, we can make good music, because [Dave] is an outstanding guitar player. I still love winding [Dave] up,” he laughed. “I tried winding Gary up, but Gary’s too cool,” he said, referring to Gary Louris of the Jayhawks, with whom he has collaborated on his two recent solo albums, including the just-released “Our Country: Americana II.”
Pressed further, Davies said, “If I can get Dave and Mick in the same room — I’ve spoken with them independently and they’re both on board spiritually, but whether they can handle it, I don’t know.
“I’ve got all these great songs — I think they’re great — that need to be aired,” he continued. “There’s something about the chemistry of the Kinks — if I can get them on the right day, we can produce it. It will be down to the music — if we can make four or five tracks that we really feel are energized and in keeping with what we can do, I’ll consider it.
“Individually they’re both up for it,” he concluded. “There’s a whole reservoir of songs we half-did in the ‘70s and ‘80s, so there’s material there — we wouldn’t just go out and play the hits.”
He then said although he’d met with the two of them very close together on the same day, he didn’t think he’d been in the same room with Dave and Avory since the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nearly 30 years ago.
The famously fractious group — whose founding members include the Davies brothers, Avory and bassist Pete Quaife, who died in 2010 — formed in 1963 and rocketed to stardom the following year via their third single, “You Really Got Me.” A string of classic singles — including “All Day and All of the Night,” “A Well-Respected Man,” “Waterloo Sunset,” “Lola” and more — followed throughout the decade; the group remained a successful recording and touring act well into the 1980s and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.
However, the group and particularly the Davies brothers were renowned for their arguments both on and offstage. Quaife left in 1966, returned, then left for good in 1969; Avory left in the mid-1980s; the Davies brothers last performed together in 1996 but both have continued to tour and record as solo acts in the years since.
“The trouble is, the two remaining members, my brother Dave and Mick, never got along very well. But I’ve made that work in the studio and it’s fired me up to make them play harder, and with fire,” Ray Davies told the BBC last month. “So if I can recapture those moments…”