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BOOK REVIEW: LIVING ON A THIN LINE by Dave Davies with Philip Clark

| 30 June 2023 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: LIVING ON A THIN LINE by Dave Davies with Philip Clark
Hachette Australia
July 2022
Paperback – rrp AUD$32.99
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Dave and Ray Davies of the Kinks are one of the earliest example of extremely talented brothers in a band with irascible natures and acrimonious relationships. The Gallaghers of their day, stories of them at loggerheads abound, and they’ve notoriously fallen out more times than they’ve had hot dinners.

Dave Davies’ autobiography Living On A Thin Line (the title comes from the 1984 song Davies wrote, which appears on The Kinks’ Word Of Mouth LP, and is consider amongst his best songs) will do nothing to smooth the stormy waters between them, nor will it help the reader choose sides, as it were. It seems pretty obvious that they are both difficult, stubborn, selfish and obnoxious people.

Despite this, Davies’ story is an interesting one. From working class origins to being swept up in the Swinging Sixties and all the social change those days of wine and roses brought with them; through huge success and through fallow years, The Kinks sold over fifty million records, enjoyed massive chart success and influenced countless bands – not least of all Van Halen, The Clash, Oasis, Blur, Def Leppard et al.

Living On A Thin Line is peppered with anecdotes both amusing and intriguing, with plenty of big name cameos such as Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, Marianne Faithful and John Lennon, and Davies doesn’t hold back admitting his over-indulgences in booze and drugs, and his serial-philandering.

Living On A Thin Line is an intriguing light shone on a pivotal time for rock n’ roll, and on two musical geniuses who changed popular culture but just couldn’t get along no matter how much one or the other tried. Davies shares not only his belief in UFOs and his defence of his musical input to the band alongside more personal revelations such as being forced to separate from his first love by their parents and the emotional impact of losing, then reuniting thirty years later with both her and the daughter he had never until then met.

There’s rock n’ roll excess to the gills big and small (truckloads of drugs, of course, and the occasional poop in a hotel sink), breakdowns, a stroke in 2013 – and having to completely relearn how to play guitar afterwards, plus dalliances with bisexuality and the occult as well, so never a dull moment if you can tolerate his (and his brother’s) sheer bastardry.


Category: Book Reviews

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Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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