Some of you may have read the headline and thought, ‘Borden did it again with another typo, leaving off an “s” at the end of Band’.
Well, let me assure you, I meant to write it that way.
I am not writing about a competition for the best new band or anything like that, but more of a battle within a band. One that led to a band member being knocked out cold on stage in the middle of a concert.
Some of the more musically knowledgeable readers may already be familiar with this story, but I just heard for the first time on the radio the other day while I was out driving (probably to Dunkin Donuts).
I am sure there are many arguments among band members, and perhaps even the occasional physical altercation. After all, there could be differences in what musical direction the band should go or who is sleeping with whom. And I would also think that such disagreements get even more heated when out touring since they are around each other 24/7, often in tight quarters.
But this incident seems to take the cake.
I’ll let the Ultimate Classic Rock website tell the story:
… high-running tensions among band members (of The Kinks) came to a head while the group was on stage in May 1965 at Cardiff’s Capital Theatre.
As Kinks leader Ray Davies told Wales Online in 2010, drummer Mick Avory was looking to exact a little revenge on Davies’ brother Dave, who had kicked over Avory’s drum set in retaliation for an alcohol-fueled fight the night before.
The Kinks had performed just two songs at the Capital Theatre when Dave Davies told Avory, “Why don’t you get your c**k out and play the snare with it? It’ll probably sound better.” Needless to say, Avory did not take Dave’s suggestion too kindly. When the dust between the two settled, Dave was laying on the stage unconscious while Avory, convinced he had killed his bandmate, fled the concert hall and went into hiding. Dave was rushed to Cardiff Royal Infirmary and received 16 stitches.
When the police caught up with the Kinks’ drummer, he denied the whole thing happened. The cops cleverly replied however, that they had the entire audience as witnesses to what went down on stage.
Dave Davies ended up dropping all charges against Avory and somehow, against all odds, relations in the band were smoothed over. The same couldn’t be said for their chances of success in the United States, however.
Because of the onstage bust-up and various other misdoings, the American Federation of Musicians refused to let the group tour the United States for the four years that followed the incident, a time when British music had stormed American shores courtesy of the Beatles. The group’s popularity in North America undoubtedly suffered as a result. As Davies plainly stated, “In many respects, that ridiculous ban took away the best years of the Kinks’ career when the original band was performing at its peak.”
“We came about in the first days after Beatlemania, got chased everywhere we went and had to have police escorts to and fro,” Ray said. “I never even heard a note we played for a long time, the crowd’s screaming was always so loud. … We were battlers. But the very thing that makes a band special is what ultimately causes it to break up. What made our music interesting ended up being the very thing that destroyed it.”
Despite the ban, the Kinks still had a successful career. But it is somewhat of a sad story, because as Davies notes, the ban took away some of the best years of their life as a group. When I checked their discography on Wikipedia, I noticed that between 1966 and 1969, they had several high-performing songs in the UK, but none of them charted in the U.S.
And while it is a sad tale, I find it quite humorous that Avory tried to deny what happened, despite the incident taking place in front of an audience full of eyewitnesses.
The band has had several hits (all of the following made it into the top 5 of the UK charts). Some I have heard of:
- You Really Got Me
- All Day and All of the Night
But many I have not:
- Tired of Waiting for You
- Dedicated Follower of Fashion
- Sunny Afternoon
- Dead End Street
- Waterloo Sunset
- Death of a Clown
- Autumn Almanac
The two lists seem to correspond fairly closely with when the band was in place, and is perhaps part of the reason I am not familiar with any of the songs in the second list, since many of them were released during their U.S. ban, and so that may have limited the exposure of such songs to the U.S. audience.
I am sure there are countless other great songs they have released that I am not familiar with, so it makes it hard to choose just one song to share, but here we go. It was hard to resist a song about a clown…
While the song was first issued as a single by Dave Davies it was also part of the album, Something Else by the Kinks.
I think whoever created the video to accompany Death of Clown did a nice job of syncing up the lyrics with the lip movement. And many of the comments mention that this is the song they want to be played at their funeral. You could do a lot worse… 🙂