‘I spent the money from ‘You Really Got Me’ on Scalextric’
If your first tour of America in 1965 had been better managed, would you be wealthier?
For sure. But things work for a reason. I was very happy to return to England. I love being at home. And in the early days I didn’t think the Kinks would last more than a year. Ray was more of the cautious type, but I was more of the “make hay while the sun shines” type.
I didn’t consider the Kinks a career until a few years later. I was fortunate to have a good accountant who withheld money for taxes, equipment rentals and road staff.
What work with the Kinks has made you the most money?
We had broken records. But early on there were publishing problems and financial deals that weren’t particularly efficient. We didn’t make much money for some reason. We had money, but we didn’t get bucket loads like celebrities get now. It was a more functional existence.
Was the distribution of money at the Kinks fair to you?
It was different times with different priorities. We would have liked to have been more conscious of money and its effects and used it more efficiently. There were so many people involved in the income line, people who needed to be paid.
I would have liked to have been a bit more sophisticated and saved money. But I was a little reckless. I thought it would take forever and worried about now, not about the future. When I was young, I was a pretty wild person. I’ve always tried to keep this anxious and insatiable child under wraps, but it’s hard because it’s part of who I am.
What was your best investment?
I’ve spent a lot of money on houses and various relationships. You have to have something to live on, and having a home has always been enough for me. In the 1980’s I had a lovely house in North Devon, near Exmoor, on a plot of land by the sea. But I couldn’t stick to it.
I had so many commitments abroad with work and touring. things come and go. I’ve met people who are really into money and I don’t get along with them.
Do you currently own a property?
It’s complicated. I have eight children and am trying to buy a property for one of them. Anytime someone says, “Oh, you should buy that townhouse or you should buy that,” one of my kids needs a home and I have to put it first.
My partner Rebecca has a beautiful home in Bergen County, New Jersey. At the grocery store, we see tri-state celebrities like Saturday Night Live’s Tracy Morgan.
How did you and Ray resolve your differences over the authorship of the musical Sunny Afternoon?
Over the years, Ray and I have always tried to work things out. My parents drummed into us that whatever happens, you’re still family, you’re still brothers and you have to try to work things out.
Now we talk about football and how the kids are doing and what record could be re-released or repackaged. Now we have a good record company to help us.
What was your worst financial decision?
There were countless things I could have done better. But like my mom used to say, “What’s the point of crying over spilled milk?” Bad decisions and good decisions are just part of life. What I learned from yoga and zen is that we have to be realistic about life, we can’t always have what we want.
Do you donate to charity?
I’m auctioning autographed t-shirts, artwork and backstage passes on eBay to raise money for the International Elephant Foundation. Each auction brings in around £1,000.
As a child I had scarlet fever and I had visions of an elephant spirit protecting me with its trunk stretched from my stomach to my forehead. And I paid for the vet bills for a pregnant cat that Rebecca rescued from a construction site.
Living On A Thin Line, the autobiography by Dave Davies, is available now