The Kinks’ Ray Davies Says Pete Townshend Weren’t In The Same League As Him

Serra Ozturk

The Kinks’ Ray Davies sat down with Mojo and opened up about his relationship with The Who’s Pete Townshend. When he was asked whether there was any rivalry between him and Townshend the singer replied:

“No. We were different. We weren’t in the same league (laughs). The High Numbers opened for The Kinks, on several occasions. I always knew they’d be outstanding someday. When I say ‘a different league’ to The Who, I mean we were playing a totally different game.”

Ray shared that his band was in a separate lane from The Who and a few other bands who took a similar path to break into the scene. He added:

“The Kinks were always in their own little world, while The Who, Led Zeppelin, Jimi all went off on that very American journey, very corporate. Pete and I are friends but we don’t push it. We respect each other, and part of that is respecting each other’s privacy.”

When 60’s rock bands made it big in the US, The Kinks were blacklisted after a violent incident between Dave Davies, and drummer Mick Avory during a performance at a TV show. Ray told Mojo that he was initially frustrated that The Kinks were left out from the biggest market.

However Davies also shared that the band’s cancellation brought them a new sense of artistry and a chance to return to their roots. The singer recalled the time The Turtles called them and invited them to the US; he said:

“I remember in the late ’60s one American band [The Turtles] phoned me up after they had a Number 1 hit and said, ‘I want you to fly to America to produce an album for us.’ I said, Why do you want me? I can’t tour in America and my records don’t get played in America. All I can bring you is failure. They said, ‘But there’s poetry in that failure.'”

Although Ray saw the band as a ‘failure’ for a brief moment, he soon realized that they could do anything with their sound moving forward. He continued:

“So The Kinks were allowed to be more poetic because there were no expectations for record companies demanding a certain type of record. We were allowed to be experimental.”

You can read Ray Davies’ interview with Mojo here.

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