Thursday, March 19, 2009

You Really Got Me

It's one of the most infamous dust-ups in the history of rock and roll and it happened in downtown Cardiff.

In May, 1965, the Kinks were headlining a show at the city's Capitol Theatre. During the climax of their opening number You Really Got Me, angry guitarist Dave Davies rushed over to Mick Avory's drum kit and gave it a good kick. Apparently he was still fuming over a fight they’d had the previous night in Taunton. Unsurprisingly Avory was not best pleased with Davies's behaviour and retaliated by hitting him in the face with a hi-hat pedal. Davies collapsed on the stage, his face a mask of blood. Girls fainted. Avory, convinced he had just murdered his bandmate, fled the arena and disappeared into the Cardiff night. He would remain on the run for several days. With hundreds of excited teenagers still screaming their heads off the curtain was drawn across the stage. An announcement was made that the Kinks would not be appearing for the second house at 8.30pm and that the Yardbirds would now be headlining.

Meanwhile over at Cardiff Royal Infirmary* Dave Davies was having 16 stitches sewn into his face. Outside the hospital dozens of teenagers had gathered to wait for news of his condition. Sam Curtis, the group's road manager, was left to explain the incident to the police who were keen to arrest Avory for grievous bodily harm. He managed to convince them that it was all just a prank that had gone horribly wrong. He later gave this highly imaginative explanation of the evening’s shenanigans to the press: "The boys were trying to get some variety into their act. The idea was that Dave would kick the drums. Mick was then supposed to pick up whatever came to hand and bring it down close to Dave's head. Dave was then supposed to turn around and say "you nearly got me" but the idea went wrong." Hmmmmmnn.

*For another example of Cardiff Royal Infirmary's unique place in rock and pop history click here.