SKF NOTE: Great songwriters have a special place in my heart. Performing onstage in front of an audience is often nerve wracking, but that experience for band leaders, front-men, must be scarier than it is for sidemen. When the front-man is also the band’s chief songwriter?
Then the front-man, chief songwriter, goes out on his own. His legendary band behind him, the songwriter pursues a solo career. He still loves his old songs, but recognizes his need for new songs from a new point of view.
Ray Davies‘s first Top 10 hit with the Kinks was “You Really Got Me” in 1964. He’s still writing valuable songs from his unique worldview. The songs are not Top 10 hits, but so what?
Americana: The Kinks, the Riff, the Road: The Story is Ray Davies’s book about his post-Kinks musical quest. His two albums correspond to the book: “Americana” (2017) and “Our Country: Americana Act II” (2018).
Mr. Davies’s book, “Americana” is a quite interesting introspective. The excerpt here is Davies making good points for any performing musician. Great bands are sometimes greater than the individual band members. According to Davies, the Kinks are a case in point.
In searching for new musicians, a new band, Davies finds that a roomful of virtuoso players won’t necessarily “gel as a band.”
“I was longing for those happy mistakes, those errors that make a band unique,” writes Davies. See if you can spot the “happy mistake” in the 1965 video above of the Kinks appearance on the “Shindig” tv show.