Kinks- One for the Road- Ray Davies

“When we’re on stage is the only time when it’s not serious,” muses Kinks kingpin Ray Davies, the seminal band’s lead singer and masterful songwriter. “There’s so much recording nowadays that’s got to be so high tech and so intense. (Recording live ) took some of the pressure off of it, because the guys in our band, they’re pretty good. I’m probably the worst musician in the band. They’re very good players, and this record One for the Road  shows them off as players as well.”

“The Kinks have always been a very good live band,” continues Sir Ray, now officially a “Well Respected Man” after being knighted by Prince Charles. “We’re not fond of studio recording, we never have been, because we started off as a dance band, really, getting gigs at colleges and things. We find it boring recording tracks.”

One of the best features of the Kinks 1980 double live album One for the Road  was the balance of material across the distinct eras and multiple record labels by then of the veteran London British Invasion band that became harbingers of heavy metal with “You Really Got Me” and “All Day and All of the Night”, progenitors of punk rock with “Lola” and “David Watts”, and purveyors of perfect pop with “Waterloo Sunset” and “Celluloid Heroes”.

“Recording companies are worse than ex-wives. I think they hang onto things longer, and they get more cruel and more trivial the more that you deal with them. Especially when you leave them. They like to hang onto everything.”  ” I think there’s an energy in The Kinks’ shows that goes kind of a step further,” continues Ray in this classic rock interview. “The audience is very much a part of what we do. It’s a subliminal thing that goes on. The audience is a very important factor in what we’re doing. It’s not just us going out, (you) seeing bands, you like their hits and (hearing them ) duplicate their hits, ‘Thank you and good night’, and go home. There’s more to it than that. There’s something else that goes on in a Kinks show. Sometimes it’s nice, and sometimes it’s hell out there! But you never know until we’re on stage. It’s similar I think to going to a football game,” the Poet Laureate of Rock points out. ” You know who might win, but you never can tell until the final whistle. It’s a bit like a Kinks concert.”

When I good-naturedly poke Sir Ray about the Kinks’ reputation as being, shall we say, mercurial on tour from night to night, he didn’t protest.” Well, even when we’re inconsistent we’re the best band in the world,” Davies chuckles.” I remember doing Madison Square Garden ( in New York City ) for two sold out nights. I walked on stage, tripped over a microphone lead (cord), and fell into the orchestra pit! ‘Rock star’ isn’t something that you can associate with The Kinks because it’s everything that we’re anti-. We’ve always been that way, and the more various managers and record companies have tried to make us posture and make us rock gods, there’s something that turns us off of that. Even among our peers ( Beatles, Rolling Stones, Small Faces) we’re regarded as outsiders, which is fine by me.That’s why I think a lot of newer bands that come along they kind of identify with The Kinks. I suppose if they are the ‘children of a family’, then we are a lot like older relatives. The Kinks are sort of vagrant uncles that come back to the house on Sunday for the free meal!” – Redbeard