Dave Davies Talks Smithsonian TV Series, New Album With His Son & Recent Demos With Brother Ray

Dave Davies
Sky Vision

Dave Davies

Rock stars and their toys are the subject of a new Smithsonian Channel series -- and the Kinks' Dave Davies is happy to be a part of it.

Davies joins Graham Nash, Motown legend Martha Reeves, Moby and others in Rock 'N' Roll Inventions, a six-episode weekly series kicking off at 8 p.m. ET on Monday, Jan. 16. The first episode, "This Damn Music," examines developments such as windup gramophones and 78rpm shellac records, vinyl singles, the jukebox, transistor radios, FM radio, cassette and videos, while subsequent chapters will take on everything from electric guitars and keyboards to studio technology and staging.

"It's an extraordinary work, really. There's a lot of information in that show and I was excited to be part of it," Davies, who appears in several episodes -- including one talking about how he created his signature "You Really Got Me" guitar tone by slashing a radio speaker with a razor blade -- tells Billboard. "I've always been interested in new ideas and new technology. Even now I like the digital stuff. I came up in the era of vinyl and even 78s, of course, but [new technology] helps you write the songs and there's a whole gamut of sound and effects you can experiment with. It's a very creative time."

Davies, meanwhile, is in the midst of his own burst of creativity. In addition to a Kinks The Mono Collection 10-LP box set that came out late last year, more archival projects are in the works according to the guitarist. Meanwhile, Davies and his son Russell have also recorded a new album called Open Road that's due out March 31 -- just before Davies comes across the pond for a North American tour in April. "It's a rock album," Davies says. "There's hard rock elements, but it's not hard rock. It's very melodic, very musical, kind of a little poppier than my last few albums. I think the songs are great; Russell's a great writer in his own right and he's got a lovely voice, and I think our voices work really well together. He does a lot of [electronic] kind of music, but we really put our creativity together and I think it came out really great."

Davies has been doing some other songwriting recently -- with his brother and Kinks partner Ray Davies. He confirms that the two "wrote quite a few demos at Ray's house" last year, "and it was sounding good." Fans had hoped for 50th anniversary reunion in 2015, which never transpired, but the younger Davies holds out hope that their collaboration will bear fruit before people get, er, so tired of waiting...

"He's been working on an album, too, so I think it's going to be a very interesting year for both of us -- and the Kinks," Davies says. "It's difficult sometimes. I've given up wanting to even try and analyze it. If it happens, it happens. It's just one of those unknowables. But just the fact that we get together and try it has got to be good, right?"


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