Sterling PublishingKinks frontman Ray Davies has long had a conflicted relationship with the U.S. The country has been a source of creative inspiration for Davies, as well as the site of some his band's greatest triumphs, while also being responsible for some of the most painful and heartbreaking episodes in his life. The acclaimed singer/songwriter delves deeply into his experiences with the U.S. in his new book, Americana: The Road, The Riff, The Kinks: The Story.
The book features two parallel narratives, one that tells the story of The Kinks' and his solo touring and recording history as it relates to the States, and another that focuses on the events surrounding his 2004 shooting by a mugger in New Orleans.
Davies tells ABC News Radio that his original idea to write a book focusing on the U.S. predates his shooting by a few years.
"I toured America just after 9/11…and, as a result, I saw America slightly different, most of it by road, because of the airline situation," he explains. "It made me want to rediscover my original inspiration in America."
Americana recounts how, after The Kinks' initial success as part of the British Invasion, the group was banned from playing in the country for about four years, reportedly in a union dispute, forcing them to struggle to rebuild their career on this side of the Atlantic. Davies credits the band members' teamwork and drive as factors in helping to propel The Kinks back into the charts during the late 1970s and '80s.
"We went from the top to the bottom and worked our way up again, in a business where you don't normally come back once you've been down," the 69-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer notes.
Ray also says that the book is partly about The Kinks' fans, pointing out that "without building our fan base we couldn't have survived. He adds, "The book's partly dedicated to all our loyal fans."
Throughout Americana, Davies also discusses his turbulent personal life and his attempts to launch a solo career during the time leading up to the shooting incident in New Orleans. During this period, his marriage was ending, he was dealing with a volatile relationship with a younger woman from the U.S. and was trying to put together his first post-Kinks solo album.
Davies was in New Orleans in January of 2004 as the romance came to an end. After his girlfriend left him, Ray went out to dinner with a friend and they were walking along a deserted street when they were accosted by a mugger who assaulted and stole a number of items from them. Davies gave chase and was shot in the leg. The book includes a detailed account of the incident and his recovery at a local hospital and at a friend's home.
Ray tells ABC News Radio that getting shot "feels like a tremendous thump and then pain surges through your body, and then nothingness." As traumatic as the experience was, though, Davies says in the book that he felt that it gave him an opportunity to take stock of his life and straighten his priorities.
Davies says that working on the book in the aftermath of the shooting was therapeutic for him, while noting that "it was fun and interesting to follow the path of The Kinks when we had to come back to America [after the ban]." He says, however that after he finished Americana, "I was in a little bit of aftershock with the New Orleans stuff, 'cause I didn't realize how much it took out of me."
With Americana now in stores, Davies will be turning his attention back to music-related endeavors, including an album that he intends to serve as a companion to the book.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio