In an interview with Mojo last month, Ray Davies said he plans on reforming the Kinks next year - with or without his brother Dave. "He's invited to the party, but if he doesn't want to do it, [the reunion] will happen anyway," he reportedly said. "He's very welcome to turn up if he wants. I'd much rather work with him than without him…If somebody can't or won't play, there are other players out there. [drummer] Mick [Avery] and I want to do it."
The news sent shockwaves across the Kinks fan community, and within hours the group posted a retraction on their official Facebook page. "Mojo is wrong," they wrote. "There will be NO Kinks reunion without BOTH Ray and Dave Davies. Ray Davies claims to have never said this."
Sitting in Rolling Stone's midtown Manhattan offices, wearing a purple sport coat with a Star Trek pin on his lapel ("I love Star Trek: The Next Generation, especially Data"), Dave Davies was not pleased after reading the initial Mojo quotes. "I had a big problem with that," he says. "The second statement was fairer, more realistic." His girlfriend Rebecca Wilson jumps in to clarify the point: "Legally, Ray couldn't do that anyway…And a lot of big shots are interested in booking a reunion tour."
The famously feuding brothers recently spent some time together in England, where they jammed a bit and then got into a spat over the new West End Kinks musical Sunny Afternoon. "There are a few minor issues with that," Dave says. "There are still some hiccups and I'm not happy with a few elements and we're trying to knock them into shape. I feel good about it. We can work it out."
Last year, Dave told Rolling Stone there was a "50/50" chance the Kinks would tour in 2014. Needless to say, that didn't happen - but he remains optimistic about next year. "It would be a shame if Ray and I didn't do something next year," he says. "I'm prepared to talk. If Ray's got some great ideas, let me hear them. I have my own ideas about how it should be presented. But I don't want it to be a Ray Davies show where he lets his little brother stand in the corner, which he likes to do. It has to be done properly and respectfully. We have so much great music that goes back so many years. We both want to do something next year."
Dave has completely recovered from a 2004 stroke and has been touring on his own, but he's still unwilling to agree to any sort of extended outing with a reformed Kinks. "A world tour is out of reach," he says. "But maybe we record an EP or something and do a few shows. I would love to do something. But there has to be an element of joy involved."
This year marked the 50th anniversary of the group's breakthrough single "You Really Got Me" and many assumed the group would capitalize on that with a reunion tour. "In a way, this so-called 50th year has been a bit of a curse," says Dave. "It becomes counter-productive when people want me to do things. It's like being told, ‘Make an album!' I'm the sort of person that doesn't respond to that sort of pressure. And health wise, I just can't do it."
Ray Davies has been pushing for a reunion for the past couple of years. "A year ago I might have said, ‘Fuck Ray, he's such an asshole,'" says Dave. "‘Why should I bother doing that? I've got my own career.' But now I'm starting to feel like it would be a shame if we didn't try and so something."
One complicating factor in any reunion is the issue of who will play drums. Ray has indicated he'd like to play with Mick Avory (who was in the group from 1964 to 1984), but Dave isn't so sure about that. "Mick wasn't in the band for a major part of our career," says Dave. "Maybe we'll use different musicians when we play material from different eras of the group and Mick will play for part of it. We haven't gotten close enough to figure out what we're going to do." He went on to point out that Avory didn't play drums on many pivotal early Kinks singles, including "You Really Got Me."
Dave hopes any reunion plans will begin coming together when he flies to England later this month. "We had our bust-up over Sunny Afternoon," he says. "But I'll visit with Ray and we'll kiss and make up. It'll be great."