Dave Davies commemorates Kinks’ signature sound with ‘Little Green Amp’
By Jeff Elbel For Sun-Times Media November 13, 2013 6:06PM
Dave Davies. | IAN HEATH PHOTO
Updated: November 14, 2013 11:28AM
Before recording the Kinks’ breakthrough single “You Really Got Me” in 1964, frustrated 17-year-old guitarist Dave Davies slashed his amplifier’s speaker cone with a razor blade. The distorted roar that ensued became the band’s signature sound, securing Davies’ position in the rock and roll pantheon.
Forty-nine years later, Davies commemorates that event with “Little Green Amp” from his new album “I Will Be Me.” The song reclaims the snarling-dog growl of “You Really Got Me” while inverting its famous riff. Davies confirms the song’s subtext about redirection of negative emotions into growth and creativity.
“It was an important time in the formation of the Kinks, and there was a lot of emotional turmoil in my life,” says Davies. “I was full of rage. Luckily, it came out in a positive way.”
A tender song called “The Healing Boy” celebrates happier times. “It’s about the birth of my grandson,” says Davies. “It sounds quite ordinary, but when you experience it, it’s transformative. He’s my first grandson, starting a new generation of Davieses.”
Family ties figure prominently in Kinks lore.
Dave’s fractious partnership with older brother Ray fueled 23 studio albums. 1993’s “Phobia” verbalized it with “Hatred (A Duet),” during which the brothers flung wicked barbs at one another. “It’s done all in humor, really,” says Davies. “You have arguments with family members, throw things — maybe even a punch. But you realize that you love each other, eventually.”
Even now, the pair profess admiration and take potshots in alternating breaths. Launching his book “Americana” at a New York City bookstore last month, Ray called Dave “an inspiration and an irritant.”
Does Dave feel the same about Ray? “The irritant bit, maybe,” he says. Still, he can’t hide a conspiratorial laugh before admitting, “I think we’ve inspired each other immensely.”
Although the brothers point fingers at each other for stalled attempts at Kinks reunions, they met during Ray’s New York visit. “We talked more positively about hooking up,” says Dave. “I think it would be a shame if we didn’t try.”
♦ ♦ Dave Davies of the Kinks, 8 p.m. Nov. 18, City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph, (312) 733-9463; citwinery.com. Tues., Nov. 19, SPACE, 1245 Chicago Ave., Evanston, (847) 492-8860; evanstonspace.com. SPOTIFY playlist: http://spoti.fi/1auvM9J