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Ray Davies is in good company

Kinks leader teams with Springsteen, Bon Jovi and others on 'See My Friends.'

April 09, 2011|Matt Diehl

"Ray Davies is an extraordinary storyteller; his lyrics have the compression and power of poetry," Niffenegger says. "The song I imagined playing in 'The Time Traveler's Wife' was 'You Really Got Me' -- I was looking for a group that would make the reader think '1964,' and the Kinks debuted that year. My second book, 'Her Fearful Symmetry,' is set in London. Whenever I am crossing Waterloo Bridge, my favorite Kinks song, 'Waterloo Sunset,' plays in my mind."

His song craft also exudes a cinematic scope that's influenced directors, including Wes Anderson, who has prominently featured Kinks' songs in films "Rushmore" and "The Darjeeling Limited." "Ray Davies' music is one of the greatest inspirations in any medium for my own work -- as much as any book or movie, ever," says Anderson.

A Kinks reunion, meanwhile, remains elusive. The group's 66-year-old frontman has been famously estranged for years from his younger brother, Kinks' guitarist Dave Davies (who hasn't performed since suffering a stroke in 2004). "I would be happy to do a reunion if the intention was to do some new music and not just revisit the past," says the elder Davies, who is busy regardless. This year, he will serve as curator for London's prestigious Meltdown Festival (previous curators include David Bowie, Massive Attack and Richard Thompson).

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday, April 14, 2011 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 News Desk 2 inches; 96 words Type of Material: Correction
Ray Davies: An article in the April 9 Calendar section about singer Ray Davies' new album misattributed a quote about Davies' influence. It was Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons, not Ted Dwane, who said: "The bands that influenced me to start songwriting, like Blur, were influenced by the Kinks. Ray stays true to his roots: He's heralded as the great British songwriter because his songs come from that genuine experience. Someone from Nebraska can still relate to 'Till the End of the Day,' but if you're British, it's a treat to really understand the references."

There's also the possibility of a "See My Friends 2." Additional songs from the Alex Chilton session remain unreleased, and Davies maintains a list of potential collaborators, including the Who's Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend, Paul Weller, Nick Lowe, Ron Sexsmith and Blur/Gorillaz mastermind Damon Albarn. "Like all sequels, it will have a different curve," Davies says. "It's a blessed thing to be able to create an image in one's mind. I still haven't worked out how it's done, but it's always very rewarding when I finally make it happen."


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