It's the Kinks own story of their travels everywhere - and of some very personal memories. It's told exclusively in Rave by Dave Davies! (assisted and confused by Ray, Pete and Mick!)
The blue, blue sky in Australia. That's what I remember most about our recent trip down under. You don't see skies like that in England. But then I don't suppose you see the beauty of ancient grey cities, the deep green quiet of the English countryside in Australia. The only thing we found the same was the fans! They added warmth to the already stifling heat, just as they do to our chill English weather. Our elder sister, Rose, now living in Australia, talked to Ray and me about those differences. We were in her garden in Adelaide. A garden vivid with color.
"Despite the glorious climate and friendly people, it is lonely here sometimes," Rose said. "There is no running around to mum's to borrow a packet of tea, or having my little brothers drop in. Sometimes it rains, when it does I get really homesick. Looking back it seems it rained all my life in England. And you two were always getting into scrapes!" She laughed then - and we remembered....
"When we were children, Ray and I depended a lot on Rose. She was married before we had grown up, and her house was a continual haven in the storms of childhood." I plopped down in a deck chair. "Rose, I don't want to go to the show tonight," I said quickly. Suddenly I wanted very much to stay and just be family again.
Rose came over. "Don't be crazy, Dave." Her voice was a bit sad, although she was smiling. And she was right, of course. You can't go back in life. Though you can remember. Like ten years ago and another garden belonging to Rose, in London this time. I was five years old and I was crying and banging on Rose's kitchen door. "I won't go back to school!" I said through sobs. "But you have only been in school for 3 days, love!"
"Well, there is a mistress there who shouts. She scares me. I threw some plasticine at her. Then I ran home."
"What did you tell mum?"
"That we had the rest of the day off. She tried to take me back to school. I ran away to you."
Mum guessed where I had gone and left me there. Ray and I were always running away to Rose's. Rose never actually sent us home, now I come to recall; we always left of our own accord. I think she believed in making us face up to our punishment alone.
During the time when Ray was eight to thirteen, he was very quiet, deep and lonely. He never shared anything - least of all his mind. And as a little boy I felt completely left out of his life. Rose was the one who really understood him. They had a sort of understanding between them that overcame everything, even silence.
The only time there was any closeness between Ray and me was when we were in trouble! We would face to storm of mum's anger together. Ray would smile at me, shrug and say, "Don't worry, it'll blow over by tomorrow and if it doesn't there's always the next day."
He was quite a philosopher, really. Nowadays, he is still a thinker but not nearly so quiet. He talks to strangers with ease.
They tell me - and I belive them! - that I was rude, sly and objectionable. I've talked about my brother's ways; I feel the need to confess my own. I often got chased by infuriated neighbors who claimed I'd wipe my hands on their clean washing. I made mud pies and threw them at smaller boys, and I let off stink-bombs. It is generally agreed in our family that of the five girls and two boys, I was the least appealing.
They also said I started to improve around the age of eleven. I also started to play a guitar. Ray and I had one each and used to do duets. This was a big step forward. It meant my elder brother was beginning to accept me, and it mattered a lot. We used to play in the lounge of the local pub. I had already started to dream of fame, though I don't think it occurred to Ray that we might one day be professionals.
By the time I was at grammer school and Ray at art college, we had got friendly with a fellow art student named Pete Quaife. Pete used to come to our performances sometimes and walk home with us. One night, after he'd been at our house, Ray came into our room.
"Dave, did you hear what Pete said tonight about becoming a professional musician?"
"Yes, he wants to and so do I."
"Did you hear him hint that he might join us?"
"Yes, funny wasn't it?"
There was a brief silence.
"No, I think it's a good idea." Ray looked at me.
"You mean muck up our duo? It would mean the end of everything we've worked towards. We'd have to start all over again."
Ray didn't argue. "Well, thing about it, Dave. I know it would mean a big change but he is a very good guitarist. We could make ourselves a group, maybe take in that drummer friend of his. Think about it."
I thought all night. Another person in our act? It didn't seem right. But if Ray wanted it, it would be selfish of me to refuse.
"I think Pete would be a big help," I said at breakfast. Ray looked relieved. "I thought you were dead choked so I made up my mind to tell you I'd given up the idea. You sure, Dave?" I was sure. And thank goodness I was. We would never have got anywhere without Pete.
Our music became the most important think in my life from then on. We practiced hard but the new drummer didn't work out. We found another but this didn't work, either. We were pretty depressed. The urge to turn professional had caught hold of us. So we put an advert in the musical papers. "Drummer wanted for smart go-ahead group." But smart and smart don't always tie up. So when I went down to the pub where I was to meet someone called Mick Avory - would-be Kink drummer - I got a bit of a turn. He stood over six feet tall, in suit, shirt and tie, and had the shortest hair I'd ever seen. "Ha, he's just got out of prison!" I thought. He looked amazed at my appearance and rather longingly at my shoulder-length hair.
"Have a drink," he said. Then - "you advertised as a smart group. I thought you meant conventional smart." He hesitated again. "I went and got all of my hair cut off. It was as long as yours. And I bought a shirt and tie." We both burst out laughing. Poor Mick, he was really upset.
We all got on well with Mick from the start. It was terrific having him around. A group's members really need to respect each other, both as musicians and as people. Otherwise the group's no good.
The next step we took - that was in 1963 - was to record a song. For a long time we had thought about doing so, but it was no good until we had a first-class drummer. After much messing about as to what we would record, we persuaded Phillips Records to see us. They turned us down. Then we met our manager, Larry Page, and he arranged for us to record at Pye. There again, things didn't work out because we wanted to record one of Ray's compositions. We did "Long Tall Sally" instead. It was released without results. Our second record was called "You Still Want Me", but the fans didn't want it and though it reached the top 40 in some charts, it went out again the next week! At this point in our career we were a bit frustrated.
Then Ray penned "You Really Got Me" and Larry Page listened to it in the recording studio.
"I think you are on your way," he said excitedly. "If you don't make it with this one, start to worry."
Of course, as you know, we did make it. Much to our great delight the record zoomed into the charts in 1964 and we became famous. For an instant, we sat back and cheered. But then we realized you cannot ever afford to sit back because as soon as you have taken time off to say "Aren't we in a good position!" someone else has come along and taken the position from you! We worked hard to promote our next record, "All Day and All of the Night", and it proved a winner, too.
I think the Australian tour this February was the highlight of our career to date. Travelling "on business" as we did, was a chance few people get. We started the tour in Perth, which is in Western Australia. The audiences were marvelous to us on our opening night. They yelled just like they do in England. At the end of the show they stood up and clapped, a sort of special thank you, and we felt quite moved. When we got back to the dressing-room we were very quiet, each scared to say how he felt in case he sounded soft.
We found the Australians very proud people. They have a beautiful country which they have developed magnificently. I think people should always be aware of what they have done - or do. We are of our small achievements. When we were in Melbourne the audience ran down the gangways throwing wild heather on to the stage and calling "we love you, Kinks." Afterwards, we talked about it and were pleased. It was an achievement and it wasn't being big-headed to say so.
On our way home, we spent 36 hours in Singapore, but it was too hot and humid. We spent every moment we could in the swimming pool, but we felt pretty rough. I had been advised not to swim because of an infected ear, but due to the heat and my even greater obstinancy, I did. "Oh, for the coolness of a Pye recording studio," I moaned to the others. "Yes, and the sound of wrong chords," they threw back. As I stood on the top board, I had an idea for a song which is on our new LP "Got My Feet On The Ground." I should have, too. It was a rotten dive and made my ear worse.
Back in England our record "Tired of Waiting" had reached number one. That Sunday we flew back I stood on the tarmac beside the aircraft and looked up at the gray sky, and I felt suddenly nostalgic for that other great continent, on the far side of the earth.
Our sister, Rose, has an English tree amongst her gum trees and native plants and it was in bloom when we were there. One night she made us go into the garden.
"Take a look," she said. The sky was darkest blue, smothered in starts and the tree stood out against it, olive green. I'd never seen a sky so huge; it seemed to stretch to eternity.
But it wasn't really the sky or the tree from home, or the sweet-smelling grass that endeared Australia to us. It was the fans. They gave their admiration and love, and made the other side of the world like home.
Rave Magazine, November 11, 1965