As both cofounder of the Kinks and an iconoclastic solo artist Dave Davies is one of rocks most influential and identifiable figures. His innovative guitar work has been a seminal influence upon multiple generations of musicians, and his uncompromising persona has established himself as an enduring icon of rock and roll attitude.
Davies’ evolution as a musician, songwriter and recording artist has run parallel with his passionate pursuit of spiritual knowledge. “For years it was very difficult to talk about these things, Davies adds: “In the Kinks we’d be having a few beers after a gig and I’d be reading a book on spiritualism or astrology and somebody would pick it up and they’d be horrified. With every step I took towards seeking out my spiritual life, I’d have to deal with family and friends thinking I’d gone a bit mad.”
Growing up in the Fortis Green/Muswell Hill area of London, Dave began listening to the blues of Leadbelly, Muddy Waters & Big Bill Broonzy, the Rock and Roll of Chuck Berry & Eddie Cochran, as well as the music hall & country music he heard thanks to his six older sisters. As a rebellious teenager, he embraced all this music while developing an acute spiritual awareness.
Davies founded the Bo-Weevils and then The Ravens with schoolmate Pete Quaife and his brother Ray in 1963, they soon changed their name to the Kinks, shortly before getting their first album deal with Pye. While Ray wrote You Really Got Me on the piano, Dave was the one who transformed it into the monster guitar hit it became when he invented the sound using a tiny green Elpico amp, paving the way for Garage, Punk and Metal bands to come for many years. Davies comments about “fixing” his guitar amp to get the sound: “I got a razorblade and cut round the cone, so it was all shredded but still on there, still intact. I plugged in my Harmony Meteor (which was my first guitar), turned it up, played it, and thought it was amazing, really freaky. I felt like an inventor! We just miked it in the studio and fed the same speaker output into the Vox AC30.”
Davies’ other guitars of choice in the early days were the Guild Starfire and Gibson Flying V. In the 70s and 80s, he moved on to Gibson Les Pauls, and in recent years, the Fender Telecaster Elite.
In 1967, Davies released his first solo single, Death of a Clown, which reached number three in the charts. He followed it up with such other great solo singles as Susannah’s Still Alive and Lincoln County, plus magnificent album tracks like Strangers and You Don’t Know My Name. A solo album for 1968 was shelved, as the Kinks sales started to slide in the UK but he was finally able to see his first album release in 1980 when the Kinks sales soared in the States. Dave had become disenchanted with the theatrical direction the band had taken in the early to mid Seventies, but the Sleepwalker album saw the band returning to more guitar-orientated songs and the albums soon featured more input from Dave with numbers like Trust Your Heart , When You were a Child, Rock ‘n’ Roll Cities Living on a Thin Line, Close to the Wire and Perfect Strangers.
Dave’s first solo album was Dave Davies (AFL1-3603), which featured Davies performing all the instruments by himself. He went on to release Glamour in 1981, and then Chosen People in 1983. Davies then waited until after the end of the Kinks to record Bug which came out in 2002. Upon leaving a BBC radio interview in 2004, Davies suffered a stroke but just a few years later released his fifth solo album Fractured Mindz. Over the next few years Davies worked on his first DVD, Mystical Journey, co directed with his son Martin, which followed both his spiritual and musical history. Dave reveals in this documentary the spiritual and mystical teachers, writings and influences that inspired him on his mystical journey. Great mystics like Swami Vivekananda, Mabel Collins, Madame Blavatsky, Carl Jung, Israel Regardie, Dr. George King, and others who together helped inspire Dave to find his own spiritual path.
At the end of 2010, Davies released the new album Ashere Project: Two Worlds, which he wrote, produced and recorded with his son Russ.