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The following was written by Pete a few weeks before he passed,
this is the true and correct story of how the Kinks started.
An extract taken from one of many essays and short insight memories by Pete Quaife
‘When I first met Ray’
……………….After the class was finished for the day Mr. Gill our music teacher called out to Ray and me as we left the classroom.
(I can remember exactly where we were standing. I have always wanted to place some kind of plaque there as a reminder).
He walked over and asked if he could make a suggestion.
“Yeah, alright, sure,” we both said, unsure of what was coming next.
What he then said was, as far as I am concerned, the actual beginning of the Kinks.
“You two lads have a lot of talent,” he said, “and I was wondering. Do you think you could form a small combo and play at the upcoming school dance?”
I don’t mind admitting that I, for one, was dumbfounded. Both Ray and I looked at each other, waiting for the other one to reply.
“Do you think we could do something like that?” Ray asked me in a quiet voice.
“I dunno,” I replied, still in a state of shock, “I aint never been asked to do summinck like that before.” We both ummed and aahed and shuffled our feet, looking everywhere else but at the Mr. Gill. It was Ray that made the final decision.
“Er, look. Umm, can we let you know?” he asked.
“Yes, that would be fine,” said Mr. Gill, nodding in agreement, “but I think you should think carefully about my proposal as I think that it will a very popular choice.”
Ray and I turned away and began to walk slowly away, both of us feeling a little taller than we had before.
“Honest, Pete,” said Ray as we walked towards the stairs, “do you think we could do this? I mean, how do you feel about it?”
We stopped at the top of the stairs and I said, “I don’t see why not. The only thing though, is that it’s just you and me. Just two guitars and that’s not right, we need a drummer and a er, bass thingy.”
Ray looked thoughtful for a minute before saying, “Well, you know my brother, Dave, plays guitar. Maybe we could use him in a group.”
This came as news to me. I had absolutely no idea that Ray had a brother. In fact it was then that I realised that I knew absolutely nothing about his family at all.
“Brother? You’ve got a brother and he plays guitar as well? Can he play?” I asked, slightly confused, “I mean, it’d be great if he can cos it’d mean that we wouldn’t have to go round looking for another guitarist.''
“No,” said Ray, “no, Dave can play pretty good. Good enough to play in a group.”
“That’s great,” I replied, “but all we need now is a drummer. Do you know any drummers?” I asked Ray.
“Not really, no,” said Ray shaking his head, “do you?”
I thought about it for a while when, with a flash of inspiration I replied, “Of course! John Start. He plays drums. John Start!”
Do not ask me how I came to know John Start. I think it was something to do with the crowd that we hung around with. They were a bunch of snobby pricks that thought that the sun shone out of their fat arses and guarded their little clique jealously. I was ‘interesting’ only because of my musical talent and John was happily ‘accepted’ because his father owned a jewellery shop. We flittered in and out with this lot as their whims dictated. On certain days we were acceptable enough to stand around with them, looking terribly smart and casual and other days we were politely ignored. They adored people that were ‘different. Peter Collard was occasionally followed by this crowd only because he could ‘Trad Dance’, smoke a pipe and knew all about Trad bands and their music. Another was Rod Stewart (yes, the Rod Stewart), who was always smartly clad in the latest fashion and was considered to be a ‘catch’! However, Rod mostly hung around with, what seemed to us, some very strange people that sported dark clothing and Pancho Villa moustaches and only talked about ‘music
John and I had started a slow friendship
during our time at school. His family lived on
John had told me that he was trying out the drum kit his father had bought in a moment of madness. Other than this I had no idea how good John was! I just trusted to the fates!
Anyway, Ray asked me to ask John if he would be interested in playing drums with us. This I dutifully did at the earliest opportunity. John accepted almost immediately when I contacted him.
Then came the kick in the nuts.
Ray introduced me to his brother, Dave Davies.
I had never had anything to do with Dave before; I didn’t even know who he was! Of course the Davies family likeness was all too apparent but, as I said, I had never met Dave before. However, he was ‘known’ to me – as the biggest trouble maker in the school. Surly, aggressive and suspicious of all authority, I had often seen him putting out a cigarette in full view of the teachers in their common room, walking out of school in the middle of the afternoon and generally making a total nuisance of himself! I remember having a sharp pang of trepidation on meeting him as I knew that this was not going to be easy. I, at the same time, introduced John and we all sat down together to talk about this new ‘group’………………………… to be continued..