From Publishers Weekly
Davies's tale of drunkenness and cruelty on the road with the Kinks, the British rock band he and his older brother Ray formed in 1963, perfectly mirrors the band's own trajectory. The first several chapters (years) breeze along with stylish energy, but in time the compelling passage (hits) dry up and the book (band) loses its way. Released a year after Ray's own memoir, X-Ray, this autobiography showcases his long-overshadowed brother's own sharp eye for characters, while giving him a forum to claim credit for the band's signature guitar sound (as on "You Really Got Me"), and for this or that riff or idea. Davies recalls the paradigmatic rock star's life: rampant alcohol use; hanging out with Lennon, Hendrix and groupies; drug-fueled hotel trashings; bisexual encounters (with names named); wanton adultery; and the usual lamentations on greedy management types. Davies's notoriously violent relationship with his brother is fully explored, but recollections of never-famous people significant to the author prove equally engrossing. In dealing with the band's later years, however, Davies proves less interesting. Although the Kinks sporadically charted in the 1970s and '80s, Americans tuned them out after 1982?a reality Davies blames on record executives. His mystical spirituality also proves tough to swallow ("The intelligences poured a brilliant beam of white light through my forehead and out to the crowd"). Ultimately, readers of this Kinks chronicle must employ the same selectivity they've shown in consuming the band's music. Photos; discography.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Davies, lead guitarist of the Kinks and foil to the group's leader, his brother Ray, states up front that his "battles with Ray are notorious in the rock world." They also typify a common '60s rock-band dynamic, the lead singer^-lead guitarist rivalry-partnership, which in the Davies' case is complicated by being brothers. Their books' differences in style exemplify their personality differences. Ray's distanced narrative, X-Ray
, in which he mentions himself only by name or initials, was reminiscent of that TV dream of alienation, The Prisoner
. Dave's memoir, in the usual first person, is more direct, like the five-note hook of "You Really Got Me" that snared fame for the Kinks in 1964. The story of the brothers' collaboration on that song is just one of many gems of rock history Dave offers, and the fact that only Ray is credited for it is one example of the conventional wisdom Dave explodes. Davies and Davies produced edgy, often ingenious music, in part, apparently, because of their stormy personal relationship. Rock fans, particularly guitar-hero worshipers, need to read this book. Mike Tribby