The definitive Ray Davies interview

by Candy Darling, Tinkerbelle and Glenn O'Brien

from Andy Warhol's INTERVIEW, January 1973


Candy: What kind of gifts do you receive from your fans

Ray: I don't get many. I get Jack Daniels and Southern Comfort.

Candy: Didn't you ever get any dinnerware?

Ray: No. I got some underwear once.

Candy: I heard you got twelve two hundred dollar plates.

Ray: Sounds nice.

Candy: You didn't get them?

Ray: No.

Tinkerbelle: Do you think they might have been confiscated?

Ray: By whom?

Tinkerbelle: The middlemen?

Ray: The middlemen try and get everything if you let them. Don't they?

Tinkerbelle: Do you like to give gifts?

Ray: Yes I do actually.

Tinkerbelle: You've probably made a lot of money. Do you ever get carried away with the material side?

Ray: I'm not wealthy. I never made that much. You probably don't want to talk to me now.

Candy: People really are more interesting when they're rich sometimes. You just can't help but like them better. Do you feel that way?

Ray: I know what you mean. Currently it's becoming quite popular to like rich people. It depends on what you do with what you've got.

Candy: Have you ever been in a movie?

Ray: No. I've been on TV.

Candy: Not even a few years ago when a lot of groups were in movies?

Glenn: Did you ever get any offers to do things like 'Having a wild weekend', the Dave Clark 5 movie, or anything like that?

Ray: We had scripts but I always get suspicious when people say "We want you to be in a movie. It's about a pop group."

Tinkerbelle: Did you see 'Don't look back'?

Ray: No.

Tinkerbelle: Well it was so fabulous when Dylan was doing that tour in England and some little groupies came to his hotel room and he was so unattainable. I thought it was so sweet when he talked to these girls and they asked him all these questions and finally one girl says, "Do you have any brothers and sisters?" and he says (imitating Dylan) "Uhhh. I don't even know the answer to that one." Then some guy from Newsweek was interviewing him and Dylan got very nasty and started saying (imitating Dylan) "You're nothing and I'm something. You're nothing and I'm something."

Ray: Sounds like 'On the waterfront'. (Imitating Brando) "Let's face it. That's all I am. Just a punk."

Tinkerbelle: "I coulda had class!"

Candy: I can't go for pictures like that. I like pictures with love -

Ray: There's a lot of love in that.

Candy: But that's too grubby, that love. I don't like that love.

Ray: You mean his relationship with the girl.

Candy: I didn't like where they lived.

Ray: I was interested in the relationship with Charlie the Gent. That was nice.

Candy: How tall are you Ray?

Ray: With shoes on? I'm not very tall.

Candy: Five ten?

Ray: I'm actually near six foot!

Candy: That's pretty tall.

Ray: Five foot eleven and three quarters.

Tinkerbelle: It's funny in the fashion world it's the ultimate to be the tallest, but a lot of men in general are just very uptight about being six foot three or five and always bumping their heads.

Candy: And that's where you come in right?

Ray: How tall are you?

Tinkerbelle: Me? I'm five seven.

Candy: I'm five five! Five seven?! You wouldn't be five seven if you stood on that chair! I'm only five five!

Glenn: Do you prefer tall or short women?

Ray: Uhh, short women with long legs.

Tinkerbelle: What do you think of erotic films?

Glenn: Hard core.

Ray: Hard core, you mean with rhinoceroses and elephants and that sort of thing?

Glenn: No just people. There's a very popular one here called 'Deep throat'.

Ray: I heard about that.

Tinkerbelle: Go see it, but don't leave after 'Deep throat.' Stay for the whole thing. Do you ever go to that sort of a movie?

Ray: Not in New York.

Tinkerbelle: Where? In England?

Ray: No. I don't go out too much in England.

Tinkerbelle: Well it's nice to have them brought to your home.

Glenn: Do you like living in England?

Ray: Not very much. Not now.

Glenn: It seems there's not much to do there.

Ray: There's nothing to do and we're all going to have to learn to speak German.

Candy: You're going to do a German tour?

Ray: No we're going to play in Germany.

Candy: Oh.

Glenn: You're going to move to Germany?

Ray: No we're just going to become part of Germany.

Glenn: What do you think of New York?

Ray: Well looking out there (from the hotel window you cam see the length of Central Park) it looks like Transylvania.

Candy: Yeah.

Ray: What's that big building on the horizon?

Candy: Oh that's where you rent the bicycles. I love inclement weather, don't you?

Tinkerbelle: On the horizon. That's where Allen Funt lives.

Glenn: In Harlem?

Candy: You know who you look like a little? Peter Cushing.

Ray: Peter Cushing? No! Nothing like him.

Candy: Maybe I'm thinking of somebody else. Christopher Lee!

Tinkerbelle: And Barbara Steele!

Candy: Barbara Steele is divine!

Tinkerbelle: She's got a lot of steel. You've never seen a film with her? She's the girl with the fangy teeth.

Ray: Is that Barbara Steele? No you're thinking of Barbara Shelley. She's very good.

Candy: No. She's got black hair and she's always Dracula's daughter.

Ray: That's Isabelle Black.

Candy: No we know Isabelle Black.

Ray: Well Isabelle Black is very good.

Candy: Well Barbara Steele is really the queen of the horror movies.

Ray: Is she American?

Candy: Yes she is but she works in Europe. She works for the Hammer Brothers and the Woolmar Brothers. All those horror brothers.


Glenn: Did you ever think about playing nightclubs like The Copa or Las Vegas?

Ray: We played Ungano's once.


Tinkerbelle: What kind of part would you play in the movies?

Candy: You'd be a good doctor. You're very intelligent looking and sensitive.

Tinkerbelle: You could be Doctor Death.

Candy: "Calling Doctor Death -" You know if you ever have to call somebody up and they're on the phone all you have to do is say you're a doctor. I always say "This is Doctor Carling."

Tinkerbelle: What kind of role would you like to play?

Ray: I think it would have to be something sensitive and maybe - sinister.

Tinkerbelle: Like doctor Jekyll?

Ray: No. He's really a sad character.

Tinkerbelle: What about 'Of human bondage?'

Candy: Oh that would be great. You could play the clubfoot and I could play Mildred.

Tinkerbelle: That would be very sensitive for you.


Ray: There's a man in England who's trying to get Tom & Jerry banned. From television. Did you know that Mary Whitehouse is in town? You should interview her.

Candy: Who is Mary Whitehouse?

Ray: She's the TV watchdog in England. Do you know Lord Longford?

Glenn: The censor?

Ray: No the guy who wrote the book 'Pornography'.

Glenn: Oh I saw his picture in The National Enquirer.

Ray: She's affiliated with him and she's over here on a campaign to clean up television.

Glenn: Here too?

Ray: Yeah. I really suggest you interview her. Lord Longford went to strip clubs and dirty books shops in Copenhagen. They had the Sex Festival there last year. And he's got this report out in paperback and it's called 'Pornography'.

Glenn: What does he suggest?

Ray: That we do away with it.

Tinkerbelle: Do you think rock music is all pornographic?

Ray: What's the meaning of the word pornographic?

Tinkerbelle: Obscene. Do you think it's obscene at all?

Ray: No.

Tinkerbelle: Do you think there's a trend towards decadence in the rock aura with all the stars ODing and dying and getting arrested and peeing on walls and beating up groupies -

Ray: Do they?

Candy: Ray's not like that.

Ray: The guy in the Dolls ODed. That's sad. They were in England.

Tinkerbelle: What do you think about all the young deaths - Hendrix, Joplin, Jim Morrison? Do you find it shocking or par for the course?

Ray: It seems that Jimi Hendrix was trying to change his style just before he died.

Tinkerbelle: Don't you think drugs had a lot to do with it? With his lifestyle?

Ray: I only met him twice and I got the impression he was very straight, that he was a very serious musician. A musician first. But I like The Doors more now than I did a couple of years ago. I liked Morrison's voice. It sounded like Andy williams. There's nothing wrong with Andy Williams' voice. It's a nice voice . It's his pullovers I don't like.

Tinkerbelle: What singers have inspired you?

Ray: I like foggy voices.

Tinkerbelle: How old were you when you realised that singing was your forte?

Ray: Three.

Tinkerbelle: When did you start writing your own songs?

Ray: Oh - ten.

Candy: How old are you now?

Ray: Twenty eight next year. I feel forty eight.

Tinkerbelle: You don't look twenty eight, why do you feel forty eight?

Ray: I've been working hard.

Tinkerbelle: But you're not burned out.

Ray: Far from it.

Candy: Well we like you because you're not rough like those other singers and cruddy. We like sweet gentlemen like you.

Ray: That's because I'm a stuck up spoiled little bastard -

Tinkerbelle: Why are you spoiled and why are you stuck up and why are you a little bastard?

Ray: Because I'm lucky.


Candy: What do you think of movies today?

Ray: Well the last thing I saw was that 'Fat City'. Who was the guy in that?

Candy: Stacey Keach.

Ray: I always thought that was a girl. Has he got a hare lip?

Glenn: Yes.

Ray: I thought so.

Tinkerbelle: So what kind of movies do you like?

Ray: I like all movies.

Tinkerbelle: What's your favourite movie of all time?

Ray: That varies. I guess what I saw on the plane was very very good. 'The Great Dictator'. It was the first time I'd seen it. It's a very hard question.

Candy: Well Ray tell me did you ever see 'Picnic'?

Ray: I saw bits of it on TV.

Candy: You saw bits of it? Did you like it?

Ray: Yes.

Candy: That's my favourite movie.

Tinkerbelle: We always know what our favourite movies are because our whole fantasies are based on the movies we've seen.

Candy: Oh yeah. Our realities are based upon the fantasies of the movies we've seen. I hate that word fantasy. It's like a dirty word to me. All my life people have said to me, "You're living in a fantasy." But you can make your fantasy come true sometimes. Some people can.

Ray: I saw Robert Bolt interviewed on a television show last week. He had just made a new movie on Lady Caroline Lamb, and he was going on running down romantics saying what a pain in the ass they are. I can't understand that.

Tinkerbelle: That's sounds like a typical comment of the times we're going through.

Ray: It's because they're rational and practical.

Tinkerbelle: The next thing they'll be putting down glamour and we'll be finished.

Glenn: Well everybody wants to be realistic.

Candy: They say all those old movies aren't real. A lot of them aren't real but -

Glenn: You don't go to the movies for reality.

Ray: But I'm sure people like to associate themselves with films. That's why they go two or three times.

Glenn: But they're still bigger than life.

Candy: Certain people are magnetic and they're worth watching over and over. I just did a television show with Carole Lynley and she said she felt the star system was out of date and that it was out of date ten years ago. She just believes in the acting.

Ray: Because she's not a star anymore. It's the money thing that's out of date. Stars will never be out of date. We'll always have stars. In the fifties and the forties if you were a star you could demand so much money - that's what died.

Candy: How do you feel when the fans are screaming at you on stage. How do you feel about generating mass love?

Ray: It's easy to do. It's easy to do with a crowd. It would never be the same in a room with three or four people. It's easy to go along with the tide.

Candy: Do the fans outside ever get close to you and talk to you?

Ray: It's hard not to talk to them. They talk to you about a song that was on an LP that sold about 10,000 copies. They take the trouble to find out something about you. You have to talk to them. Sometimes I can relate to that sort of people.

Candy: You've been in Hollywood haven't you?

Ray: Sure.

Candy: Do you like that sidewalk on Hollywood Boulevard?

Ray: Mmm'hmm

Candy: Where did you stay?

Ray: The Hollywood Hawaiian which is on Grace and Yucca. Yeah. It's a very good hotel and it's sixteen dollars a day.

Candy: I stayed at the Hollywood Roosevelt.

Ray: Oh you did!

Candy: And then I stayed at the Hollywood House Motel where all the lucky stars stay. Hollywood's really pretty isn't it? I like it because I like seeing the mountains in the distance.

Ray: I lived there for three weeks once after we finished a tour. I was really drawn to it. It's a very frightening place.


Tinkerbelle: Where do you write most of your songs. Do they just come to you at any particular time of the day?

Ray: They don't come. They don't come to me. I go to them.

Tinkerbelle: You don't get inspired?

Ray: I do but they don't come to me. Divine inspiration doesn't work.


Candy: What's your favourite movie?

Tinkerbelle: We already asked that.

Ray: 'A Tree grows in Brooklyn'.

Glenn: That's my favourite movie too! I cry every time it's on TV.

Candy: Me too. I like to see people struggle to get ahead. I'm sick of these privileged type actresses.

Ray: I don't like Sarah Miles much.

Candy: Sylvia Miles?

Ray: Sylvia? Sylvia's fine.

Tinkerbelle: What kind of women do you like? (no answer) Blondes, brunettes, redheads? (no answer) Are you married?

Ray: Everybody was married.

Tinkerbelle: You're not married anymore?

Ray: How can you pinpoint that?

Tinkerbelle: Well what do you look for in a woman? I don't want to sound too corny but people want to know this.

Candy: What is your dream girl, Ray? Are you married? Are you?

Ray: I have my dreams and my fantasies.

Candy & Tinkerbelle: Tell us about them! Don't be scared.

Ray: I told you I like short girls with long legs.

Candy (to Tinkerbelle): It looks like you're in.

Glenn: What don't you look for?

Ray: I think the worst thing is when you have a tendency to depend on somebody too much.

Candy: A clinging vine.

Ray: Yes!! My mother!!

Tinkerbelle: Do you mean rely on you financially, spiritually, emotionally?

Candy: All those and isn't it terrible, that's what so many women really need.

Tinkerbelle: It's like a game. Don't you think sometimes that love is like a game.

Candy: Love is like a seesaw.

Ray: M any people take it for a game - love is strange.

Candy: But how do you like it when these strangers love you. You must have had people come over to you and tell you that they really love you.

Ray: That's the best way to be loved.

Tinkerbelle: Yeah but you have to find the proper stranger.

Candy (to Tink.): Oh that never happened to you. (to Ray): What's your favourite food? Do you like lots of red meat?

Ray: No.

Tinkerbelle: Are you a meat and potatoes man?

Ray: No.

Tinkerbelle: A fish and chips man?

Ray: No.

Candy: A vegetarian?

Ray: No, I like marzipan.

Tinkerbelle: Oh a candy man.

Candy: Aren't they all.

Ray: I stopped thinking about food actually. About a year ago.

Tinkerbelle: Let's talk about women again. Do you like women who wear too much makeup?

Candy: How do you know he even likes women?

Tinkerbelle: I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt.

Candy: You're the one that needs the benefit.

Ray: Why don't you ask me what sort of men I like?

Tinkerbelle: Do you like men too?

Ray: Mmm-hmm.

Candy: If you could be married to any movie star present today - in this room - no I mean who would your ideal date be?

Ray: Charlton Heston.

Candy: That's not bad. I like him.

Glenn: He's a Nixon man. Were you for Nixon or McGovern?

Ray: I don't think many people were for McGovern. It was just anybody but the other guy.

Tinkerbelle: So -

Ray: What are my hobbies?

Tinkerbelle: Yeah what are your hobbies?

Ray: Listening to people. Going into bars and listening to people talking. I like old ladies. I haven't really worked that out. I travel a lot.

Tinkerbelle: Do you have an apartment or a house?

Ray: I just bought a house. I met a man on the plane yesterday who was boasting because he'd just bought an estate in Scotland. He lives in Shropshire which is about three hundred miles from Scotland. I think that's very greedy. He'd conned somebody into selling it dirt cheap. Sex is important - isn't it here?

Glenn: Everybody talks about it but nobody does anything about it.

Tinkerbelle: Do you believe in love at first sight?

Ray: Umm-hmm.

Tinkerbelle: Saves time.

Candy (to Tink): Do you have your jokebook with you? Or Barrett's quotations? [Bartlett's?]

Ray: Do you have any places here where drag queens can go and do a show? In England you get one in any pub.

Tinkerbelle: We have them on the streets so we don't have to have clubs.

Ray: In North London they have a thing about drinking - perfectly normal - straight labourers like to get drunk and see a good drag show. It's really weird.

Tinkerbelle: Do you like to see drag shows?

Ray: Good ones.

Tinkerbelle: What's your idea of a good drag show?

Ray: I'm not much on the technical end - I like to them actually perform something.

Candy: You could go to The 82 Club.

Ray: But they do talk about it here and don't do it. They come on very strong.

Tinkerbelle: You mean you're having trouble?

Ray: Not really. I just want to work it out. I just want to know what you think. If that's right.

Tinkerbelle: If what's right?

Ray: That they come on very strong here.

Tinkerbelle: Women?

Ray: People in general.

Candy: It's true.

Tinkerbelle: It's because people are in such a hurry here for everything.

Glenn: I'm not in any hurry.

Tinkerbelle: I like a guy who takes his time too. But once you've been here for a while you get caught up in it. You can't help it.

Ray: Do you believe in kissing on the first date?

Candy: Mmm-hmmm.

Ray: You do?

Candy: Mmm-hmm.

Glenn: I believe in kissing before the first date.

Tinkerbelle: I don't believe in dates.

Ray: No?

Glenn: I like dates.

Candy: Me too! "Oh - I've got a date. I can't talk now!"

Tinkerbelle: People have to make dates because usually it's somebody who is unattainable and you want to make sure they reserve their time for you. My experience is that a date is always someone I don't want to be with, and the one I want to be with calls and I can't be with him because I have a date!

Candy: You suffer so dear!

Glenn: Then you break the date.

Ray: Did you enjoy 'Ryan's daughter'?

Tinkerbelle: Not as much as -

Glenn: 'Lawrence of Arabia'.

Tinkerbelle: 'Women in love'. And I liked 'The Go Between'.

Glenn: 'Lawrence of Arabia' was the good what's his name film.

Tinkerbelle: Did you like 'The Go Between'.

Ray: I haven't seen it.

Tinkerbelle: Do you like Julie Christie?

Ray: I think so.

Tinkerbelle: Who's your favourite actress apart from Candy?

Ray: Uh - who else is there?

Tinkerbelle: You can talk about dead people too.

Ray: I thought you'd say that. Eleanor Parker is nice.

Tinkerbelle: And what do you want for Christmas?

Ray: My two front teeth -

Tinkerbelle: Oh God Candy we left a tooth at your house!

Ray: - so I can whistle 'White Christmas'.

Candy: Can you really?

Ray: No I can't whistle.