Dave Davies of The Kinks is back out on the road with a new album, a revived passion, and three shows in New Jersey and New York this weekend.
Decade is the latest release from this Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, who was voted one of the top 100 guitarists of all time by Rolling Stone magazine. Davies’ style set him apart from others during The Kinks’ heyday so it’s no surprise that this new offering makes what’s old, new again.
“It’s a collection of unreleased recordings I made in the late ’70s,” said Davies, 72. “I got together with my sons Simon and Martin; it was their idea of putting out the material after all this time. I’ve been carrying (the recordings) around for years and never took the project seriously enough to have them properly released. And now, after all of this time, we decided that it’s the right time to put them out. I’m very excited about the project, it’s gotten some really good reviews and it’s quite a unique idea.”
The making of a record can be tense and stressful, especially when opinions vary or ideas clash. How did Davies handle these moments while working with his sons?
“The thing was that when we started going through the tapes, I said, ‘I don’t know if I can do this. It’s too emotional.’ Then Simon said, ‘Let me have a go at mixing it, I’ve got some ideas,’ and he brought new ideas. It was the impetus that got me interested in it, really.
“So I suggested that he do it, which took a lot of pressure off of me, because sometimes when you’re too close to an album or a piece of music, you can’t see the wood from the trees, you know? Sometimes it takes someone else to give a more objective view, to make it work. Sometimes you lose all objectivity. It’s hard to be a critic of your own work, sometimes — a lot of the time.”
Davies launched his spring tour at the Scottish Rite Auditorium in Collingswood, April 9, and performs at the The Concert Hall at the Society for Ethical Culture in Manhattan, April 12 at 8 p.m.; the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, April 13 at 8 p.m.; and The Space at Westbury Theater in Westbury, N.Y., April 14 at 8 p.m.
Backing him are an old friend, and a drummer with a New Jersey connection.
“The lineup that I’m using at the moment is a three-piece,” Davies said. “My bass player is a dear friend of mine that I’ve known for many years, a guy called David Nolte. He plays bass and sings and plays keyboards as well. And my drummer is Dennis Diken (of The Smithereens).
“I really enjoy playing with those guys. I quite like the three-piece; sometimes it’s more powerful and a tighter sound.
“I love the Count Basie, I played there on the Pat DiNizio celebration after his death and that was a special night. It was very touching. I’m really looking forward to going back there.
“The show will be a rock show. There will be songs of mine and songs from The Kinks that I’ve cherrypicked; I’m very excited to be back on the road again. My shows are a mixture of old and some new songs thrown in; there’s old, new, in between, really. I play ‘You Really Got Me’ and ‘I Need You’ and some older songs. I try and mix it up, if I can.”
Armed with past success and history on his side and a new disc lighting his future path, does he ever look back and wish that he could have done anything differently?
“We all have regrets,” he said, “but I tend to be optimistic in nature, and I tend to like to move on. I don’t get too down. I’ve been doing this a long time; you’re always going to have low times, nights where you don’t feel as good. You’ve got to be optimistic.
“Life is too short. You’ve got to try and enjoy it and have some fun and try and entertain. You’ve got to entertain people and mix in the heavier songs with the lighter songs; you’ve got to mix it up.”
For more information, visit davedavies.com.