"See My Friends," the recent solo album by erstwhile Kinks leader Ray Davies, has gained much attention for its boldfaced collaborators -- Metallica, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Corgan, Jon Bon Jovi, Mumford & Sons, Spoon and Black Francis among them.
But Davies’ most significant creative partner on the project may be local Los Angeles rockers the 88, who became the album's de facto backing band, providing support for three songs on the record, from Lucinda Williams’ poignant take on “Long Way From Home” to their own propulsive version of “David Watts,” a satirical rocker from the classic 1967 album "Something Else by the Kinks." “Davies asked us specifically if we wanted to do that song,” explains Keith Slettedahl, vocalist and guitarist for the 88 (at far right in the photo above). “We were playing it live, and I think he liked the way it sounded.”
The 88 originally encountered Davies when the band was handpicked to back him on a 2010 solo tour. “It was so out of nowhere,” Slettedahl says. “In the middle of recording our last record, we got a call saying Ray Davies was looking for a band.” Davies requested that the 88 demo three Kinks songs; the band complied, adding three more for extra credit. After getting the gig, Slettedahl was surprised to learn that Davies “doesn’t like to rehearse. We hadn’t even met him before our first show together! He didn’t even give us a list of what to do, so we just practiced a bunch of Kinks’ songs at random.”