Kinks Articles - First Person

First Person

First impression that I give
That I'm a jerk. People always buy me a drink because they think I need it and that I need to be looked after. Which I may. Or I may not. The bad thing is that it's always in situations where I'm trying to create the impression that I can handle everything and I end up looking as if I'm subject to all sorts of insecurities.

First record
When I was little, the only way they could get me to sleep was by playing the gramphone. I was fond of a song called Temptation, possibly by Perry Como, and one called Pass The Biscuits Mirandy [sic] I Think That I'm Going To Die. I'm still work perfect. And I still suffer from insomnia.

First film
When I was five my dad took me to see The Bicycle Thieves at the Odeon in Muswell Hill. It's a tragic little Italian film, all violin accompaniment. I didn't understand the subtitles but the pictures and the passion interested me.

First heroes
I was fascinated by Burt Lancaster in The Crimson Pirate because of his dashing white teeth, huge muscles and mach style - particularly because I had really bad teeth. Then there was Perry Como. His show was on TV and I thought he was amazing. He had such a great hair-do and looked so relaxed. I subsequently found out shy. In an interview later, he said he was always exhausted, which is exactly how I feel. Then ther was Harry the bus conductor on the 102. He had a pencil moustache, a bow tie and his hair slicked down with Brylcreem. All the old ladies loved him.

First offence
scrumping on a farm in Kent. The farmer's son chased us on his motorbike and Dave couldn't run as fast as me and got caught. He got the blame and I managed to get away. I guess that's been the story of his life. Luckily the farmer, Mr. Monk, was a nice guy and let us off. Subsiquent to that I am offence-free.

First fan mail
I was a good runner at school and after a race I got slipped a note by a tiny girl with a beehive hair-do saying I'd been voted the best bum in the school.

First guitar
I admired, but couldn't afford, the Chet Atkins Country Gentleman. I thought it was the definitive electric guitar and wanted an orange one, but the first one I got was a birthday present from my sister. It was cost 12 quid but did the job great. I also wanted a Martin guitar like blues musician Bib Bill Broonzy's. Years later, instead of sending a roadie, I made a point of getting the tube down to Tottnham Court Road and buying one with my own money. I've still got it.

First gig
It was in the Stag in East Finchley. I was 14, and my brother was 11, and I remember drinking beer before the show and thinking how wonderful it was to be grown up. We played Shadows and Cliff Richard his hist and early R 'n B like Memphis Tennessee and, for some reason, in north London Ghost Riders in the Sky was always being requested.

First fan
When we first started out as the Boll Weevils we played anywhere to get experience. One afternoon the vicar invited us to play for the old folks in Crouch End Church Hall and afterwards this little old lady in a woolly hat waited for me by the door and said: 'Ray this is wonderful music. It really got my feet tapping.'

First song
A dreadful Hank Williams-inspired country and western ballad called Rocky Skies. It was about the rocky skies of Arizona. But I lived in North London. I did very little songwriting until we got a contract and didn't like the songs they asked us to record.

First fashion mistake
When we got on Ready Steady Go on television, our manager siad we neede really outrageous stage suits so we spent all our money getting John Stephen of Carnaby Street to make these auful itchy Thames green suits. The trousers were really tight with leather straps so our Cuban heels could get through and matching straps on the sleeves and collars. When they arrived the looked like they hadn't been finished, but it was our own design. We wore them with leather caps and looked like prats. People realised we hadn't quite found our image yet.

First flight
From London to Manchester to do You Really Got Me on Top of the Pops. We were in a 707 and when it roared and took off I broke out in a cold sweat. I was so terrified I forgot to be nervous about the show.

First vote
The only person I've ever felt like voting for was John Smith. Blair says all the right things, but talk is cheap. Now, I don't think I'll ever vote, though I might declare my own candidacy, standing for The Extremely Tormented People Party.

First thing I do in the morning
Avoid mirrors.

First thing I'd save from a fire
You don't know how you'd react. Once in New York I was on the 11th floor and smelt smoke. Everyone else assembled in the street and when I went down they said there was a fire on the eighth floor and everyone was being evacuated. But my first instinct was to go back and have a shower, so if I was homeless at least I'd be clean. Now I'd probably save something stupid like a shirt. I get quite attached to clothes and used to have shirts made. But as you go through life and relationships break down, they always tear up the shirts or give them to their new boyfriends...

Margaret Rooke and Ruby Wellington, Telegraph Magazine.