“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, and this record To the Bone 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 then) King 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’ 1996 double live/unplugged album To the Bone was the balance of material, across the distinct eras and multiple record labels, by the veteran 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”.
“I think there’s an energy in The Kinks’ shows that goes kind of a step further,” continues Ray Davis 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.”
Part one of two. –Redbeard