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Kinks Reunion: How Child Psychology Might Help the Davies Overcome Sibling Rivalry

The Kinks
Keystone/Hulton Archive

Before Noel and Liam Gallagher engaged in dramatic public spats during the days of Oasis, many other sibling rockers grabbed headlines for getting in each others’ hair and letting grievances and rivalries overshadow their music. Few cases are more famous than that of Ray and Dave Davies of the Kinks.

A key part of the British Invasion, the Kinks helped establish the look and sound of ’60s rock. They’re best known for such hit singles as ‘You Really Got Me,’ ‘All Day and All of the Night’ and ‘Sunny Afternoon,’ and while they underwent many lineup changes over the years, the Davies brothers — along with drummer Mick Avory — were the constants.

The Kinks’ revered body of work includes multiple gold albums and numerous top 10 singles, both in the U.S. and U.K., and they were awarded with the Ivor Novello Award for ‘Outstanding Service to British Music.’ In 1990, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and 15 years later, they entered the U.K. Music Hall of Fame.

Despite these and other achievements, the band broke up in 1996, after they’d started playing to smaller crowds and seen their output drop off. No matter how great their contributions have been to music, style and pop culture as a whole, the Kinks will always be known for the infamous rivalry between Ray and Dave. Not only would they argue in the dressing rooms, but they would get into fist fights onstage.

As news broke that a Kinks reunion is “as close as it’s even been to happening,” we at Diffuser.fm initially leaped with joy at the thought of this great comeback. But then we thought about the issues that could arise between the Davies brothers if they share the stage again.

Dave may have said it best when he explained that even though the Kinks would love to get back together, they want to do it for the right reasons and be remembered for something great. “I don’t want to see the legacy of the Kinks soured by two miserable old men doing it for the money,” he told Uncut.

If the Kinks keep their promise this year and don’t flake out, as they have with other reunion promises, the siblings should really take some time to hash out their differences and get rid of the rivalry before they even step into rehearsals. Although they are no longer children — far from it, in fact — it’s time they go back to basics and learn how to get along.

What follows are some suggestions for how the guys should proceed should they get into another spat and consider throwing away this latest reunion altogether. Now, we borrowed all of these nuggets of wisdom from free parenting websites, so the tips may seem juvenile, but seriously, how childish is it to see two old men sock each other onstage in the middle of ‘Lola?’

First things first. Dave and Ray should stop dwelling on past squabbles. Yes, one claimed to have written songs without the other brother’s help. And sure, one may have crashed into the other during a performance that later led to a fight. However, the past is in the past. While the two will obviously look proudly on their decades of accomplishments and examine the past, this could also open old wounds still in need of treating. If it happened 30 years ago, it might be good to leave it back there and just move forward.

There should be a set of rules all band members abide by, especially when it comes to collaboration and compromise. Ray and Dave will need to realize that not everything will be split equally all the time. Rather, there must be a give and take in order to become civil, as the always-correct folks at Web MD tell us.

Then there’s the issue of each both brother believing the other thinks poorly of him. Rolling Stone reported that after Dave’s stroke in 2004, Ray made sure to visit often, which then made Dave think that part of the reason his brother came by was because “… I think he secretly enjoyed seeing me completely incapacitated.” Ideas like these, though completely unavoidable, especially given the kind of relationship these two have had for years, should either be talked about or kept to oneself. And although we’re for these two talking things out, it usually ends up with someone on the floor. So they should start thinking more positively of one another as opposed to thinking the other is wrong in every way possible.

If, however, the two do start arguing in the privacy of the rehearsal space, they should quickly be separated and given a moment to calm down, as KidsHealth.org tells us. While this might mean giving them time outs, as PBS Parents recommends, it is one of the safer ways for them to get over (or through an issue) instead of trying to win the argument.

With luck, this wildly influential U.K. band will get back to basics, learn how to get a handle on their sibling issues and make a reunion happen — one whose theme song is ‘Better Things,’ not ‘Dead End Street.’

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