After reinterpreting his past for “The Kinks Choral Collection,” which comes out Nov. 10, Ray Davies says that “my initial instinct is to write some new songs again.” And he may well record them with some familiar colleagues.
“I’ve been in the studio with a couple of the Kinks, actually,” Davies tells Billboard.com — specifically original drummer Mick Avory and later members Jim Rodford on bass and Ian Gibbons on keyboards. “We’ve got four, five new songs…and I’m just sort of getting them motivated and seeing what they’re playing like, because I haven’t played with the Kinks for eight or nine years.”
Davies says he’s not sure when or if his brother, guitarist Dave Davies — who suffered a stroke in 2004 but continues to make music — will become part of the proceedings. “We’ll see how he reacts to it,” Davies says. “If he’s physically able to do it is another matter, because he was quite seriously ill. But we’re in communication, and we’re not disregarding it yet.”
Davies isn’t putting any sort of time constraint on releasing the new music — which would be the Kinks’ first since “Phobia” in 1993 — but says he’s enjoying having his old bandmates around. “I’ve discovered there is definitely an interplay between the way Mick plays drums and my vocals,” Davies explains. “He waits for the vocal. Most drummers just lay down a backbeat, but Mick feels the songs, so there’s a definite continuity there that you wouldn’t get with any other player, so it’ll be interesting.”
The Kinks sessions are currently on the “back burner,” however, while Davies prepares for an eight-show U.S. tour that begins Nov. 12 and includes four dates with choirs to recreate “The Kinks Coral Collection’s” arrangements — including hits such as “You Really Got Me,” “All Day and All of the Night” and “Waterloo Sunset” and a suite from 1968’s “The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society.”
“I never thought I’d be doing them like this, in this way,” Davies acknowledges. “It’s not a re-recording of the Kinks music; it’s a reinterpretation. I think it will be interesting for people who have the Kinks catalog…to actually sort of compare and hear the songs more fleshed out and put in this kind of style.”
Davies will perform Nov. 18 on CBS’ “The Late Show with David Letterman” and says “there’s talk of doing something on a larger scale next year, some outside concerts with choirs.” He’s also considering another volume of choral pieces to “dig deeper into the reservoir of old material to see what else can be done.” Also on his docket: a British tour of the musical “Come Dancing” with hopes of eventually opening it in London’s West End; and a “collaborations record” that he says may include Metallica, with whom he performed at the recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th anniversary concerts in New York City.