MICK AVORY INTERVIEW
For twenty fruitful years, Mick Avory played drums for legendary British band The Kinks! Now, he’s drumming with The Kast Off Kinks, a band composed of former Kinks members, John Dalton and Ian Gibbons included. Here, in an exclusive interview with “Pulse” author Steve Rudd, Mick opens up about his time with The Kinks…
Hi Mick, how are things?
Things are going well with the band. We’re fully booked with gigs for 2016, and 2017 is filling up, so we’re pretty busy!
I get the impression that you’re almost always on tour with The Kast Off Kinks! The number of dates you’re playing this year alone is simply staggering. How do you cope with being on the road so much?
Well, we work every month of the year, so we don’t actually do tours that start and finish; it’s just a continuous run of gigs throughout the year. I think that we all enjoy it. We’re all equal and get on well, so that takes a lot of the pressure off.
So tell us a bit about the formation of — and your involvement with — The Kast Off Kinks…
The band was first formed by John Dalton to play at The Kinks Convention in November each year. The idea was to raise funds for Great Ormond Street. Then we gradually started to do a few gigs out of the contacts we all had, and it grew from there. The current line-up features myself on drums, John Dalton (who played in The Kinks during the sixties and seventies) on bass and vocals, Ian Gibbons (who played with The Kinks during the eighties and nineties, and who continues to play with Ray Davies) on keyboards and vocals, and Dave Clarke (formerly of the Beach Boys) on guitar and vocals.
Do you enjoy playing in The Kast Off Kinks as much as you enjoyed playing with the original Kinks?
I did have some good times with The Kinks, and we did some iconic gigs, but it blew hot and cold with them, and it was sometimes unpredictable and volatile… something I couldn’t endure right now. However, all Kast Off Kinks members are in their sixties and seventies, so we’re pretty mellow, and we still like playing our interpretation of the songs.
Would you say that the majority of Kast Off Kinks fans are people who grew up with the original Kinks, or have you amassed a cross-generational following?
There are obviously many people in the audiences who were fans of the original band, but there a good few “newer” fans who like the songs in a retrospective way. The “Sunny Afternoon” musical has also made more people aware of The Kinks’ music.
Have you guys ever written any fresh material together?
No — that’s not what the band is about, and it’s not what people want to hear from us… unless Ray writes something for us!
Reflecting on the twenty years that you played in The Kinks, what are your abiding memories?
I often think about the early years, the publicity stunts we used to do, Carnaby Street, and all the pubs we used to use. Back then, it was all fresh and exciting. We didn’t have any restraints in the form of Human Rights, Political Correctness, Health and Safety, or Compensation Culture!
Did you get any sense of how influential The Kinks were at the time, or have you only become conscious of the impact that The Kinks had in retrospect?
It takes time for any influences to seep in; it’s not something immediate. As time went by, though, I began to realise it.
Given the band’s popularity, did any of you surrender to full-on rock ‘n’ roll excess? If not, how on earth did you resist?
I don’t think we were stereotypical rock ‘n’ rollers, and we were all different from each other. We mainly just had a few drinks with friends. We all lived at home in the old days!
Do you have any regrets about leaving The Kinks in 1984?
No. I had come to the end of my time with The Kinks, and my relationship with Dave (Davies) was getting worse. I knew nothing could get resolved, so I left. I think I had the best years with them.
Upon leaving the band, did you continue to play music straight away, or did you have a break from the industry for a while?
I didn’t give up. I initially played with Russ Ballard’s brother, and John Rogan from the Roulettes.
You’ve also played in a band called Shut Up Frank with Dave Clarke, Noel Redding (the Jimi Hendrix Experience bassist) and Dave Rowberry…
Dave Rowberry and Noel Redding go back a long way. I first met Noel when he played with a band called The Loving Kind back in 1965. I met Dave Rowberry when he played in The Mike Cotton Sound the same year. I subsequently met Dave Clarke through Noel. I was trying to put a band together with musicians that had played with other well-known bands. I put the idea to Dave, and he was interested, so we sought out available people, ending up with Noel and Dave. Sadly, Noel and Dave are no longer with us.
How can people find out more about The Kast Off Kinks?
Come and see us! Expect all the hits, including “You Really Got Me,” “Dedicated Follower of Fashion,” “Sunny Afternoon,” “Lola,” “Days,” “Waterloo Sunset” and “Come Dancing”! Further information is available at www.kastoffkinks.co.uk