The English rock group The Kinks disbanded more than 20 years ago. The brothers Davies stopped working with each other after years of fighting, and frustrated by their handling by several record companies. The Kinks were over.
Since then, the brothers Davies have ventured into solo careers producing albums, touring, writing books and dealing with health setbacks. While they are not united in music, they deal with each other in business. Their legacy and back catalog are still important, in a time of audio remastering and deluxe packaging their old work. Quietly, they admit to using time together in their recording studio. No recordings have surfaced or talk of any upcoming releases.
The Kinks were part of the original British Invasion of the mid 1960s. At first it was their raw, melodic sound that got them noticed, then it was their storytelling and descriptive songs that showed great depth to their music. After being banned from touring in the U.S., their popularity went dry and The Kinks all but disappeared from the scene. In the late 1970s their creativity reappeared and they reconnected with audiences. This phase continued into the mid 1980s when success faded again. Changing record companies didn’t help and the last ten years of the band was met with neither critical nor commercial success. At the end of the day, they packed it in.
For me, the period from 1979 to 1983 was rich with radio friendly tunes and a band operating on all cylinders. Ray Davies has always been as talented a lyricist as Bob Dylan, capturing stories of life experiences inside of rocking melodies. Last year Ray became Sir Ray, with a knighthood no less. It was Dave’s main job to unpolish the edges of Ray’s romanticized view of English countryside life with taut guitar licks. Dave and Ray have always fought for influence and position, both literally and figuratively.
It is late in life, only Mick Avory, the original drummer remains. Pete Quaife, who played bass through the 1960s has passed away. Other musicians have come and gone. Dave is 71 and Ray is 73, but many classic rockers are still active in their seventies – Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney, Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, Brian Wilson, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan.
A new record and a world tour would be a financial windfall for the Davies boys. After 20 years of only solo activity, the world would still be interested. They know the value of The Kinks, if they could produce the classic sound again. So why don’t they accept an offer and bring the band out of mothballs? In recent years there have been comments from each brother, some positive about a reunion, others against the idea. If they wait too long, it will never happen. Does the world need any new Kinks music? Fans would say yes, even if many of them are long in the tooth. The key has always been the ability of the Davies to work together, or even be in the same room with each other, or on the same stage. Will they reunite? I’d love to see it, but I’m not holding my breath for another British Invasion, or even a friendly landing.