Olga Ruocco outside Konk Studios in North London, November 2013. [Photo by me]
My love for the music of The Kinks
is well documented at this point, so there’s no reason to talk about me all over again.
Let’s talk for a minute about the fans – and there are many dedicated followers in the U.K., the U.S. and around the world. Like any diverse family, there are squabbles and rivalries, politics and fights. However, in the 20-plus years since I discovered the Kinks fandom online, one thing has remained constant: Everybody loves Olga.
Over the years, Olga Ruocco has proven to be nothing but welcoming and generous to fans old and new. Among her many activities over the years: She has helped people get CDs (both official and unofficial) and books, she has given tours of the Muswell Hill section of north London where Ray and Dave Davies grew up, and she is one of the co-organziers (along with Geoff Lewis and others) of Kinks nights at the Clissold Arms (across the street from the Davies brothers’ childhood home).
I first met her in person for one of those tours in 2000, and later that year she traveled to America. One of the things she did here was an interview with a radio host on the West Coast, which we helped to facilitate remotely. (Remember, this was before the miracle of Skype!)
So naturally, when I finally got my own radio show, I decided to do a birthday show for Ray Davies around June 21, and I got Olga to do an interview with me about her Kinks experiences. In this June 19, 2012, program, we discussed how she became a fan in the mid-1960s and how her love for the group has continued to this day. We also played tunes that Olga hand-picked, including a track from Ray’s 80 Days musical (which really should be revived somewhere).
In 2014 and 2015, Kirk Madsen – who served as Ray Davies’ guitar tech and road manager in the 1990s – has joined me for the birthday show, and he’ll do so again this Wednesday (June 22) at 7 p.m. EDT. We’ll be taking requests, and you can live-stream at whrwfm.org. The show also should be archived for later listening.
(If I have time this week, I will find Kirk’s previous shows and post those as well.)