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Ray Davies: ‘I Might Just Disappear’

Ray Davies
Ian Gavan, Getty Images

Ray Davies knows his classic songs have taken on lives of their own — and at this point, they may even overshadow their creator.

“I think the songs will be remembered,” the Kinks co-founder muses during a new interview with the London Evening Standard. “I might just disappear.”

Davies’ reflective mood was partly prompted by a discussion of his autobiographical stage musical Sunny Afternoon, which, as the Standard observes, points to the death of his older sister Rene as arguably the pivotal moment in his pursuit of a career in music. Left with the guitar Rene gave him, Ray “implies that the songs he wrote were an attempt to repay that debt.” Looking back now, Davies says that after his sister’s death — which occurred on his 13th birthday — “I wasn’t depressed exactly but I went into withdrawal. Songwriting helped me get through that.”

Having directly experienced music’s healing power, Davies has set about trying to open that same door for today’s London youth, opening the Kinks’ old studio in an attempt to offset the growing dearth of art schools. “Nowadays, there are so many challenges for young people. To enable them to break through that barrier of emotion to convey their feelings through song would be a step to self-awareness,” he argues. “It’s not a cure, but it’s an important step. The whole point of doing music is to discover yourself as well as write songs. I really want to find a way of carrying that on.”

While Sunny Afternoon continues its stage run and the oft-rumored Kinks reunion remains on hold, Davies intends to keep carrying on his own legacy — the Standard‘s report notes that he’s putting together a new band for some solo shows this summer, followed by a new blues-influenced album, currently called Americana, scheduled for next year.

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