When it comes to the Big Three of the British Invasion, the Kinks were always the Chrysler to the Beatles and Stones' Ford and GM - up there, but not quite that far up there. Nevertheless, among Anglophiles and songwriting buffs, the Kinks are arguably more revered than either one of the Big Boys for their uncanny ability to lurch from pure pop perfection to shimmering folk reveries to skuzzy garage power chords and right back again.
Not many other bands have been covered by both Southern Culture on the Skids and Van Halen. As Rocks Off kicks the tires of our new monthly Redux-ion event tonight at Walter's on Washington, we couldn't be happier to have folky indie-rockers Young Girls joining us for a brief set of the Davies brothers' best. Especially since, as singer/guitarist Pete Tijerina told Rocks Off earlier today, Young Girls just changed drummers over the weekend.
We'll be giving away Screeching Weasel tickets, early-bird VIP passes to House of Blues' "Great Rock N' Roll Sample Sale" this Sunday and a copy of Beatles Rock Band for Playstation 3, by the way. Plus as many Rocks Off stickers as you can carry. And it's free, so come on out.
Rocks Off: How did you get into the Kinks?
Pete Tijerina: My dad really liked some of the early stuff, "You Really Got Me" and all that stuff. My dad used to sing in bands back in the late '60s and '70s, so he was into that whole early rock and roll scene or whatever. That's how I initially got into it.
Then getting older, I didn't know a lot of the "Lola" stuff and the after-psychedelics type of stuff. I was working at Cactus Records and everybody knows everything about everything, so I would just ask questions. All the Wes Anderson movies too - they've got good soundtracks, so I just got deeper into it.
RO: What's the first Kinks song you remember hearing?
PT: I think it's "All Day and All of the Night." I must have been, I don't know, five years old, maybe in the living room with my dad. Actually it was in the car.
RO: Do you have a favorite Kinks album or period?
PT: I think the late-'60s stuff. Favorite album probably has to be the Lola record. But as far as period, the late '60s is good, but I kind of like every era of their stuff. They keep changing and morphing into different stuff, which is really cool. I even like the '80s stuff (laughs).
RO: Why do you think they never got quite as big as the Beatles and the Stones?
PT: I think they experimented more with the goofiness of music. It seems like they experienced more and they were a little goofy at times, but I don't know. Maybe people just didn't get that playfulness they had. The Stones kind of kept it a little more serious, and the Beatles were a lot more poppier. I like them better than the Stones, but that's a whole other argument (laughs).
RO: How influential has Ray Davies been on you as a songwriter?
PT: Very influential. Him and Dave both. Their form of pop is just so unique, but I think attainable by anybody if they just give it a chance. It's just stuff that kind of makes you want to dance, and there's stuff that makes you want to rage or something. They have that variation between their styles.
RO: What will you be playing tonight?
PT: We're doing four songs. We're doing "Strangers," we're doing "All Day and All of the Night," we're doing "Victoria" and we're doing "Waterloo Sunset."
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RO: Nice. Any Young Girls EPs or releases on the horizon?
PT: We were going to do an EP, but it looks like we're going to do a 7-inch first, and then we're taking all of September off to record a full-length.
RO: You're playing at Mango's this weekend too, right?
PT: Yeah. We're doing the same set at Mango's as we are. We just got a drummer, so we'll probably be a Kinks cover band Friday night too (laughs). The drummer doesn't know any of our songs.