Interview: Kinks front man Ray Davies talks about Sunny Afternoon

Sunny Afternoon

Sunny Afternoon

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The life of the former front man of The Kinks certainly has a retro flavour at the moment with a musical based around the band’s songs coming to Northanpton’s Royal & Derngate next week.

Ray Davies has been heavily involved in the musical of Sunny Afternoon, which is running from Tuesday to Saturday, January 10 to 14.

Ray Davies

Ray Davies

He said: “I found myself thinking about significant times in my life around the time of Sunny Afternoon.

“So many things were happening to me around that time: overworked, infighting among band members, lawsuits with managers and publishers that nearly gave me a breakdown and the rest.

“I wanted to write about that time in my life when so much was happening to me.

“British music was starting to conquer the world and England were on the verge of winning the World Cup. I put all these elements together and wrote a short script.”

From there it went to trial runs on the stage before West End shows and heading out on tour.

However Ray admits that he still found the writing process hard.

He said: “I think the hardest thing is trying to remain objective. I think it is quite a compelling story about how I began this journey and the story is important.

“It needs to be a great story for The Kinks fans but also for those who maybe don’t know much about the band, their origins or music for that matter.

“I think people will enjoy the show. It brings a new generation to the story who may connect with the songs but not necessarily the band per se.

“I think they will enjoy it on a number of
levels.

Given that the musical started its successful life in the capital city, London plays an part in the show, and one that Ray was very keen to look at the whole of England.

He said: Well, London is very present in my life. I always wrote about what happened within a square mile of where I lived. There is an element of London in Sunny Afternoon but itis more about England, and for that matter Britain, at the time and going to America and the confrontations over there.

“It sounds strange now but at the time, we were seen to be invading America. People in the USA thought the British invasion was taking their music away from them and possibly corrupting a young American generation.

“It is also about how different classes band together. There is a very touching moment in the show where our manager who is from the upper class and us bonded.

“I think that was a very key thing in the Sixties because we all had a common quest and it was more about social bonding.”

But with the success brings the fame, an aspect that for publicity-shy Ray bought a whole new set of problems.

He said: “I remember keeping a low profile at the workshops for the show once the writing was done but at times I had to jump in if I felt things were not quite right; I had that detachment which again, really helped me get through it.

“There is a lot about me in the show which, looking back, I was a bit shocked to see portrayed live but I had to be objective. It is also important that the creative process is collaboration, collaboration, collaboration. The pay-off is that you get something very special. Other than that I remain a very private person.”

However despite the succcess of Sunny Afternoon don’t expect a Kinks reunion anytime soon.

Ray said: “I often hear rumours of Kinks reunions but we can’t do that of course because we lost Pete Quaife, one of the originals a few years ago.

“I miss Pete and I miss that team effort a lot; I’m not sure it’s something we could do without him. But never say never and one never knows.”

Performances of Sunny Afternoon take place throughout the week.

For further information or to book tickets for the show in advance call the box office on 01604 624811 or alternatively visit www.royalanddderngate.co.uk.