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Let’s talk gear. What’s your main axe now?
It’s a Fender Tele with a maple neck and Lace Sensor pickups that lean toward the Gibson mode of pickups.
On the original recording of “You Really Got Me,” you used a semi-hollow Harmony guitar. Can your Tele get you in that ballpark?
No, not really. But it’s just a more modern version of it. It’s similar. The original guitar I used was a semi-acoustic Harmony Meteor with DeArmond pickups.
This is where it all began. Armed with a Harmony Meteor semi-hollowbody, Dave Davies (far right) hams it up in this classic live footage of the Kinks playing “You Really Got Me”—the song that changed rock ’n’ roll—and guitar playing—forever.
You previously used a Gibson Flying V. What took you away from that?
It’s difficult to play [laughs]. And the weight is all wrong—the neck and the machine end. It’s a fancy guitar to look at—it’s really a piece of visual art.
Earlier you mentioned you’re using Mesa/Boogie amps—which model?
A Dual Rectifier.
That’s slightly surprising, given that it’s such an iconic heavy metal amp.
Yeah, but I like it. You can mess around with it—don’t just plug it in and switch on the heavy-metal button [laughs].
Why did you use the Peavey Decade instead of the Dual Rectifier on “Little Green Amp”?
Because I’ve found that when you record, little amps sometimes have more impact. In the studio, you might only need that compressed, tight sound. People don’t know that it’s not a thousand -watt amp when they hear it, if it sounds right. Big amps are good for when you’re playing a big place.
Given that you and Ray are still healthy and making music, what do you think it would take for the remaining members of the Kinks to get back together?
I have no idea. [Maybe] if Ray just had a bit more grace about my value in the history of the Kinks. I mean, he’s always undervalued my input. That’s why I had to make this album. Because, y’know, I will be me—I am a person with ideas, energy, and a spiritual path. It’s emotional and we have to start nurturing and encouraging people around us to help us, not just take the good bit. We’re all in this together—it’s the same, politically and globally. We shouldn’t try and isolate ourselves from other people. We need to learn to integrate ourselves with humanity.
You have a great spirit.
A lot of that spirit grew out through listening to people like Huddie Ledbetter [Lead Belly] and Hank Williams and all these great musicians. The spirit has always been there—rock music has always been a force for the good, I think. We abused it to meet our own agenda for greed and big business, but at the heart of it, rock ’n’ roll has always had a true and pure spirit.
The Kinks’ “All Day and All of the Night” spearheaded the three-chord rock genre. The screams that emanate from the crowd in this classic clip from 1965 make it clear that a revolution was in the making.