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Q&A with Dave Davies: Whether the Kinks will reunite, the magic of ‘Lola’ and the little green amp

Geoff Edgers and Dave Davies on Jan. 15 in Edgers’s weekly Instagram Live show “Stuck With Geoff.” (The Washington Post)

Like so many, national arts reporter Geoff Edgers has been grounded by the coronavirus. So he decided to launch an Instagram Live show from his barn in Massachusetts. Every Friday afternoon, Edgers hosts an hour-long interview show he calls “Stuck With Geoff.” So far, that has included actress Jamie Lee Curtis, journalist Dan Rather, comedian Tiffany Haddish and musician Elvis Costello, among many others. Recently, Edgers chatted with Dave Davies, guitarist and co-founder of the Kinks. Here are some excerpts from their conversation.

(This interview has been edited for clarity and length.)

Q: Can I ask you a dumb question that I get asked all the time? I know the answer, but I want to just get rid of the question. Jimmy Page did not play on "You Really Got Me." Is that a correct statement?

A: Absolutely correct.

Q: But you can't stop the question from coming, right?

A: You can’t stop the music.

Q: You can't stop the music. You're right. Look, we're here today to talk about the Kinks' 1970 record, "Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround." With songs like "Strangers" and "Rats," and then "Lola" and "Get Back in Line," it feels like this is the best example of you and your brother, Ray, working together as singers.

A: It was a big turning point for us because we started to gain in America, so we connected with our American audience again, and that helped. And I think we’re really close on the album. I think you can hear it through the vocal arrangements and attitude of some of the songs.

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Q: In "A Long Way From Home," he's singing to you.

A: Well, we talk about this on the album. There’s a section where me and Ray have a conversation in the kitchen, and when I first heard the song, I thought he was singing about me. But then I thought, “Well, no, it’s like our dad talking about us both.” When you write, you have a character you jiggle around. So I guess it’s fair to say my dad would be the character really singing the song. And emotionally, it feels right.

Q: Did you see the Bee Gees documentary?

A: No, but I’m a big fan of the Bee Gees. I remember we realized the Kinks played in Fort Lauderdale years ago and the Bee Gees came backstage afterward and I’m crying. I think that brother connection, they understood the pain and the helpfulness.

Q: You reunited about five years ago, and Ray got up there and played a song with you. What is the state of play with the Kinks and you and your brother today?

A: We’ve been talking about it. I mean there’s a lot of material and, you know, it could still happen.

National arts reporter Geoff Edgers interviewed rock musician Dave Davies of "The Kinks" on Instagram on Jan .15. (Video: The Washington Post)

Q: I think about "Lola and Powerman" and the way you worked as partners creatively, but I feel like every time I read about what's going on recently, it's like Ray calls you in and says, "Dave, I've got some stuff." But can you really create something special that's a partnership when it feels like not as much of a partnership?

A: Yeah, but when you’re brothers, you’re locked into the emotion, and if there’s a love of connection and music — I mean, music to me, it saved my life when I was a young man because I was a rebellious kid. And a rebellious old man.

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Q: Dave, do you still have that little green amp?

A: We looked high and low. Don’t know what happened to it.

Q: Tell people who aren't in the club what that little green amp is.

A: One day, what year was it, 1963? I saw this little green amp, like two doors down from where we lived. And it was only 10 quid and I paid for it, expecting something amazing to happen when I played. But I had an argument with my girlfriend that day, and I was in a fit of rage and thought this amp didn’t sound right. So I got a razor blade. I slashed the cone speaker, and not really knowing what I was doing at the time, didn’t expect it to even work. But I plugged it in and played and it sounded like a dog barking, and I loved it. We all grew to really love it and wrote this unusual kind of almost jazzy riff on the piano, which became “You Really Got Me,” and I started blasting it out through my little green amp. It seemed like everybody hated it when we were doing it, but when the record became No. 1, everyone said: “Told you so.”

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