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Kink: An Autobiography Hardcover – February 20, 1997

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Kink: An Autobiography + Americana: The Kinks, the Riff, the Road: The Story + X-Ray: The Unauthorized Autobiography
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Editorial Reviews

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.

From Booklist

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

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Hachette Books; First Edition edition (February 20, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786861495
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786861491
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #854,827 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By DC Denizen on July 31, 2006
Format: Paperback
"One of the Survivors" is the title of a 1973 Kinks song and a fitting description of their founder and lead guitarist, Dave Davies. As detailed in "Kink: An Autobiography," Davies experienced enough debauchery, drama, and excesses in his first 49 years of life to fill several lifetimes. And what's even more impressive, he lived to tell the tale.

While brother Ray's autobiography, "X-Ray," is restrained, Dave's lets it all hang out. Sex, fights with Ray, drink and drugs, fights with Ray, UFOs, fights with Ray...it's all there in no-holds-barred black and white. Equal time is given to various aspects: family dynamics, the Kinks' music, touring, his stormy relationship with Ray, sexual experimentation, the politics of the music business, love, and spirituality. The book covers a lot of ground in 280 pages, and even includes photos and a Kinks discography.

It would be easy to slam this effort because of its ramblings and tangents, especially in later chapters when it seems to lose focus. For some readers, the author's claim to have been overtaken by intelligent life forms is enough to discredit the entire undertaking. But not for me. If Davies believes his body was invaded by extraterrestrials, who am I to question his reality? And while some of his confessions (like cheating on his long-suffering wife Lisbet) and his endless digs at Ray were slightly offensive, to me his story is, at its most basic, a tragic tale of the rivalry between a talented but vulnerable younger brother living in the shadow of his more talented and dominant older brother. In spite of his self-indulgences, it's difficult to hold a grudge.

For any Kinks fan, this is a must-read book. Davies is generous in referencing Kinks songs, e.g.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Jersey Kid on January 29, 2008
Format: Paperback
In the ten years since Dave Davies published his autobiography, a lot has happened to the world and to the brothers Davies. A recent re-read of the book might, therefore, be biased by the accumulated knowledge of events that have occurred in the interim. Such was the case as I was deeply shocked when news of his stroke was announced. I can only imagine how it terrifying would be to awaken in a body that would not fully respond to my commands. For me, the thought that David might never be able to play any of those fantastic, incendiary riffs was a sober reminder of the passage of time. I also had to ponder - in a more-clichéd, but nonetheless objective consideration - whether years of hard-living - though admittedly unlikely to approach Keith Richards levels - had caught up with him.

It is also both reassuring and frustrating to - looking both backwards and forwards - reach a personal belief that the original band and, in particular, the Davies, will never play together. Too much time, too much sibling rivalry and way too much of Raymond's bitterness and meanness will prevent it from occurring. And, even that isn't all so unusual. After all, look at John Fogerty and his litigation with his band-mates...including his brother!

But, I start to digress. Let's go back to the book.

Now, as when I first read it, I felt this book was equal measures of therapy and envy. The former had to do with David's need - maybe a requirement as a result of therapy and/or his religious conversion - to "confess his sins." Depending on your point of view, the list of admitted sins was fairly lengthy: drug use, bisexuality, illegitimate children, adultery, etc, etc., etc.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Borowy26 VINE VOICE on April 16, 2008
Format: Paperback
The Davies family was a large one and it is easy to imagine that Pater dashed off to the Clissold Arms for the odd pint or two simply to escape the estrogen. When Raymond Douglas Davies was born, his arrival was cause for celebration. He was the first boy in the Davies brood. Life changed for Mister Special when Mum surprised the entire household by delivering another son, David, and Ray was no longer necessarily the center of attention. Dave was the eleventh child in the household for those who are keeping score. Had Groucho Marx paid a visit to Fortis Green, he may have been tempted to repeat his celebrated question, "Did your parents have any other hobbies?" if the opportunity presented itself.

Fast forward and in a few years time, "Ray and the Ravens" are performing at debutante parties and trying to score a record contract. The initial recording sessions failed to attract much interest. With borrowed funds, the band returns to the studio one last time and scores a hit with "You Really Got Me." During the session, Ray shoots a nervous glance at his brother as a key guitar solo is about to begin. Dave responds with an expletive that will be covered with an overdub of Ray shouting "Oh, no!"
With high definition recordings, Dave's angry reply is unmistakable and clear. Ray is still embarrassed.

The record label renamed the band "The Kinks" and the group enjoyed a period of critical and popular success during the British Invasion. Intitially, the record albums were balanced in terms of Ray and Dave showcasing their material equally, but in time Ray came to be the dominant creative force in the band. As time progressed, Dave was fortunate to get one lead vocal per recording.
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