Dave Davies on Reviving the Kinks: 'Where There's Life, There's Hope'

The Kinks guitarist on his new live album, an upcoming biopic and those never-ending reunion questions

Two years ago, Dave Davies told Rolling Stone there was a "50/50 chance" of a Kinks reunion in the near future, but the singer-guitarist now says those odds have been downgraded. "I'd say there's an outside shot," he tells Rolling Stone. "But where there's life, there's hope. I know Ray has a lot coming up, and I do as well, so we'll see how things span out in the next few months. A lot of it depends on how Ray and I feel by the end of the year, physically, emotionally and psychologically. I wish I could give you a more definitive answer, but I don't want to jump the gun."

The Kinks haven't performed since they quietly disbanded after a 1996 summer tour. Eight years later, Dave suffered a stroke that temporarily robbed him of the ability to play guitar, but he's since released two solo albums and has gigged regularly. "I've completely recovered," he says. "And I feel really good. I'd rather be 48 than 68, but you can't fight age."

Davies is currently in London for a series of meetings related to the upcoming Julien Temple-directed Kinks biopic You Really Got Me. "We're just trying to iron out a few issues in the script," says Davies. "It seems like everybody is really keen to move on it. They're planning on shooting in March." The movie covers the entire four-decade history of the band. "But it focuses mainly on the early days around 1964," says Davies. "Then it progresses at light speed into fairly recently. Let's hope everything works out with it. Hopefully I can be involved with the project throughout as a consultant, and maybe extra music for the soundtrack. We'll see."

One issue the movie will almost certainly touch on is the creation of the distortion effect on the "You Really Got Me" riff, which was famously created after Dave sliced up the speaker cone of his tiny green guitar amplifier with a razor blade. In recent years, Ray has taken credit for the maneuver, causing no small degree of animosity between the brothers. "It's so irritating," says Dave. "He wrote the riff and the song, but it's my interpretation of the sound. That is mine. Together, we made a really breakthrough record. Maybe he doesn't like the fact that I created a really important guitar sound. I don't know."

"I've completely recovered [from the stroke]," says Davies. "I'd rather be 48 than 68, but you can't fight age"

Dave has also beefed with original Kinks drummer Mick Avory over the years. "Obviously when you spend that much time working with people you have ups and downs," he says. "It's like a marriage. People have arguments and slam doors and go away for the weekend on their own. That's just life. We've been through a lot of good times and a lot of bad times."

They haven't spoken face-to-face in some time, but they occasionally communicate via e-mail. Would he be invited to play drums at a Kinks reunion? "It's possible," Davies says. "I don't know how he's doing physically or psychologically. He looks well though." (Original Kinks bassist Peter Quaife died in 2010.)

Davies resumes his solo tour in Boston on October 8th. Last November, the musician played two nights at New York's City Winery, which he recorded for his new live album Rippin' Up New York City. The 16-track collection features selections from his solo career alongside Kinks classics like "I'm Not Like Everybody Else," "Death of a Clown" and "You Really Got Me." "It's not the whole show," says Davies. "But it is representative of the shows. It's what I consider the tracks that work best."

Davies remains focused on his upcoming tour and an album of new material that he's writing with his son Russell. He also met up with Ray in London to discuss the movie. "I saw him just a week ago," he says. "The last thing he said to me was, 'I'll call you soon and we'll have a cup of tea.' But he hasn't called yet. I'm sure he's really busy."