The Kinks split up in 1996, and there’s many reasons fans doubted they’d ever get together again. Bassist Peter Quaife died in 2010. Guitarist Dave Davies has been at odds with drummer Mick Avory ever since a 1966 gig in Cardiff, Wales; Davies, angry about an argument from the day before, spat on Avory, and in return, the drummer hammered him with a high-hat cymbal. Most crucially, Davies and his brother, Kinks frontman Ray Davies, have spent decades at war, getting on about as well as Cain and Abel.
This weekend, however, Ray Davies teased the prospects of a Kinks reunion, telling The Sunday Times of London, “I met Dave only last week to talk about getting together again. We’ve also spoken a few times on the phone and emailed.”
Dave Davies confirmed the face-to-face contact on Facebook yesterday, posting, “Ray & Dave Davies have started meeting about a potential The Kinks reunion, but we’re not quite there yet.” This followed Dave telling Rolling Stone last year that a 2014 tour celebrating the band’s 50th anniversary was a real possibility: “I’d say the odds of that happening are 50/50,” he said. “The ball is in Ray’s court.”
Returning serve, Ray Davies said this weekend that he would want to begin by making a new Kinks album before touring: “We both agree we don’t want to do old stuff or tour with past hits — it’s got to be something new.” Last year, Dave dismissed the possibility of making an album, saying, “I can’t face the concept of days and days in the studio with Ray.”
“He’s been composing his own songs,” Ray said of Dave, “but I’d really like to write with him again.” There are actually very few songs credited to both Davies brothers (the most prominent being 1967’s “Death of a Clown”), but Dave has long contended that he was the co-writer of Kinks hits such as “Lola” and was unjustly denied credit. It is, however, just one of his many grievances with Ray — having big brother stomp on his 50th birthday cake was another. (“Ray, what an asshole he is,” Dave told Rolling Stone last year.) With all this bad blood, fans shouldn’t start lining up for tickets just yet. Dave has previously batted away reunion talk by saying, “I don’t want to see the legacy of the Kinks soured by two miserable old men doing it for the money.”
Although Ray has bruited the possibility of a Kinks reunion for several years, the band is now much closer to reforming than before. The success of the London stage musical Sunny Afternoon, about the early days of the Kinks, opened to rave reviews in May. And while that may not have resolved the Davies brothers’ differences, it seems to have gotten them communicating with each other. They’ve also demonstrated previously that they don’t need to like each other to make brilliant music together.
Asked by the Sunday Times about the relationship between him and his brother, Ray responded with an elegantly concise sentence that implied they had reconciled while actually saying the opposite: “Things are as good as before.”