Dave Davies is widely considered to be one of the greatest and most impactful guitar players of the last 60 years. His work as the lead guitarist of the legendary British Invasion band The Kinks helped define the very sound of the instrument throughout the 1960s and beyond. Playing through a razor-spliced amplifier, his unique sound — nasty, gnarled and sneering — imbued singles like “You Really Got Me,” and “All Day And All Of The Night,” with an attitude that resonated with millions of angst-riddle teens who took to their parents garages and basements from London to Los Angeles and started making a racket.
It was to the Kinks’ great credit, however, that they eventually moved past that overdriven sound and in the years after that initial boom, and released albums of heartfelt beauty and touching romanticism. The best example of this particular, pastoral proclivity can be heard on their 1968 release The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society, which is getting a deluxe reissue treatment next week on October 26. Filled with 174 tracks spread across five CDs, the new set offers listeners unparalleled access to what the Kinks were doing at a time when they were officially banned from performing in the United State Of America, and decided to get back in touch with their inate British-ness.
Many of the characters on the record were inspired by real people and real places that the Davies brothers knew throughout their childhood, growing up in the public gathering spaces near their home. It was, for all intents and purposes, the same kind of back-to-basics, yearning for a different time type of record that groups like The Band and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young were rolling out across the pond. Same ideas, very different cultural influences.
“I think The Village Green Preservation Society is about the ending of a time personally for me in my life,” Dave’s brother Ray noted in a statement. “In my imaginary village, it’s the end of our innocence, our youth. Some people are quite old but in the Village Green, you’re never allowed to grow up. I feel the project itself as part of a life cycle.”
Recently, I had the chance to talk to Dave Davies over the phone about the Village Green era, his new collection of unreleased ’70s solo tracks Decade, where things stand with his brother and Kinks chief songwriter Ray Davies, and whether or not a reunion might be in the cards.
Before we get into talking about Village Green, I was hoping we could go back in time a bit first. What was it like to get banned from performing in America in the mid-1960s?