Music Monday: Battle of the Band

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
  • Lola

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… 🙂

 

61 thoughts on “Music Monday: Battle of the Band

  1. I had never heard that stage fight story, perhaps because we were out in Australia by then. I always enjoyed their music and Waterloo Sunset is a classic and one of my favourites- a great shame they missed out on visiting you. Sunny Afternoon was another favourite of mine.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That would be pretty amazing to see one member of a band deck another member, on stage. It gives new meaning to the term, “hit song.”

    The American Federation of Musicians must have thrown in the towel when punk rock hit the scene.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. that would be quite a sight to see; I wonder if the show continued? And love the “hit song” suggestion 🙂

      and the AFM probably didn’t know what hit them when punk and heavy metal came out…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I once was on a jury for a drunk driving case. The defendant’s excuse was the whole thing never happened. Not just the drunk driving, he said that he wasn’t driving a car that night and had never met the police officer who pulled him over. The funniest part was the guy’s own lawyer seemed frustrated with his client’s answers. It was as if they weren’t even on the same team.

    Maybe next time, you need to write a post about a brawl at the Dunkin Donuts when somebody tried to cut you in line.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Haha! I should have been a lawyer!
        I know when we.had to go to court a few years ago the defense lawyer felt like smacking his head, due to one of his witnesses. It was comic relief for us!!

        Liked by 2 people

    1. that’s why I’d love to be on a jury just once, to hear stories like this. the poor lawyer…

      and given how often I go to Dunkin, you’d think I’d have a story or two. I’ll have to start paying more attention to my visits…

      Like

  4. Drummers are always so sensitive! I do not know if Avery was upset by the questioning of his musical ability or the fact that Davies knew his c**k could never reach the snare. A decade later, a fight is the least egregious thing a band could do on stage. Great post, Jim!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. It’s all in the timing, sadly. I enjoyed the kinks, and it’s such a challenge when there is so much talent and ego on one stage, jockeying for position, and then throw in some mind/mood- altering substances and it’s a recipe for disaster. Amazing many bands survive as long as they do. I agree with brad, that the personal affront to his manhood was probably a tipping point.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. great point, Beth. it is a combustible mix. a that point, it only takes a spark to get the fire going.

      Yes, it is amazing that bands like the Rolling Stones and the E Street Band have stuck together for so long. I guess at some point you have to put the band first and your own ego second. Not an easy thing to do…

      Liked by 2 people

  6. My teenaged son loves all things classic rock and he’s a big fan of the Kinks’ more rocking songs. When I was his age, I absolutely loved Dedicated Follower of Fashion and Dead End Streets. Now when I consider of the Kinks, I mostly think of ‘Father Christmas, Give us your Money’ and I make sure I play it every Christmas. I think very few songs are as real as this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A story that is well known to fans of the group here, of whom I’m one, but always fun to see. I’m surprised that the touring ban’s effect stretched so far over there, though: maybe radio stations didn’t play them either? Looking at your list you guys have really missed out: you should check out all of the songs you have listed, and also one that neither you or anyone else has mentioned: Celluloid Heroes. It’s a fabulous song about people wanting to be like film stars, and how that plays on your emotions. My joint favourite of theirs, along with Waterloo Sunset, which was a Tuesday Tune some months ago.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Sorry, it’s just one of those that I grew up with. I was allowed to have a pop news magazine instead of my weekly comic in those days, and read about it there first. If you need a boredom or insomnia cure I’ve checked back – that post was #28 in the series. I just re-read it: I played Waterloo Sunset and recommended Celluloid Heroes: I’m like a stuck record 😂

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I’d think AFM would bet sued for barring a group from playing in America. That is a lot of power. There would have to be some reason other than a fight on stage I’d think. Maybe the band could claim it was part of the act or they were just working out the Kinks. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The energy of those early singles ‘You really got me’ and ‘All day and all of the night’ (1964 I think) was explosive and so exciting. That distorted guitar sound was awesome. Oh, if only there was something like that now! Today’s charts are pretty dismal and boring. Nice post!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I love the kinks and am from US. I know all of those songs, and if you don’t know them you need to listen ASAP because they are amazing. Celluloid Heroes is one of my favorites from way back. And I still stand by that being one of the best stories in rock music history.

    Liked by 1 person

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