cover image Kink: An Autobiography

Kink: An Autobiography

Dave Davies. Hyperion Books, $30.95 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-7868-6149-1

Davies's tale of drunkenness and cruelty on the road with the Kinks, the British rock band he and his older brother Ray formed in 1963, perfectly mirrors the band's own trajectory. The first several chapters (years) breeze along with stylish energy, but in time the compelling passage (hits) dry up and the book (band) loses its way. Released a year after Ray's own memoir, X-Ray, this autobiography showcases his long-overshadowed brother's own sharp eye for characters, while giving him a forum to claim credit for the band's signature guitar sound (as on ""You Really Got Me""), and for this or that riff or idea. Davies recalls the paradigmatic rock star's life: rampant alcohol use; hanging out with Lennon, Hendrix and groupies; drug-fueled hotel trashings; bisexual encounters (with names named); wanton adultery; and the usual lamentations on greedy management types. Davies's notoriously violent relationship with his brother is fully explored, but recollections of never-famous people significant to the author prove equally engrossing. In dealing with the band's later years, however, Davies proves less interesting. Although the Kinks sporadically charted in the 1970s and '80s, Americans tuned them out after 1982--a reality Davies blames on record executives. His mystical spirituality also proves tough to swallow (""The intelligences poured a brilliant beam of white light through my forehead and out to the crowd""). Ultimately, readers of this Kinks chronicle must employ the same selectivity they've shown in consuming the band's music. Photos; discography. (Feb.)