John Gosling (pictured in the middle above) joined THE KINKS in 1970 for the Lola Vs. Powerman era, bringing keyboards and piano into the ever broadening sound of the band. As the 1970s went on, Gosling was present for the dividing concept era - Schoolboys in Disgrace, Preservation Acts 1 and 2, Soap Opera - and quit in 1978. Here, is my 2012 Q and A with him from my book, UNITED KINKDOM...
Where abouts did you grow up John?
I was born in Paignton, South Devon, but grew up in Luton, Bedfordshire, where I learned to play the piano and organ while singing in the choir at the local church. I was also active on the local folk circuit, singing my own songs and Dylan, Paul Simon etc.
What music did you like when you were growing up? The Kinks were everywhere in the UK and I’m sure you aware of The Kinks’ music, but were you a fan at all?
I liked all kinds of music except jazz and opera. I was very much a Dylan and Beatles fan, but it was hearing the Kinks play Long Tall Sally on Saturday Club that prompted me to form my first rock band. We made our own guitars and amps. I played bass then.
How did you become involved with The Kinks then?
A man called Pete Frame, who happened to be my class monitor when I was at school in Luton, ran a music magazine called Zigzag and he gave my phone number to the Kinks management, who were looking for someone to play keyboards on the next tour of the USA. At the time I was studying at The Royal Academy of Music in London. I did the audition at Morgan studios in Willesden. One of the tracks eventually turned out to be Lola.
As soon as you joined they made the big comeback with Lola and Ape-Man. Were you overwhelmed with the sudden success?
Of course; who wouldn't be? It was an incredible life-changing experience.
How was life on the road with the band in the 70s? Wild times?
Wild times indeed. Large amounts of alcohol were consumed, hotel furniture re-arranged etc. Whenever Dave and I shared a room we were located on a different floor to the rest of the band - we had the record player and were mad, bad and dangerous to know. Later on, as Dave became more withdrawn on tour, my room was dubbed 'the noisy room' where nobody got any sleep but plenty of everything else.
What was the most memorable gig you played with The Kinks?
The Wolmann Rink in New York's Central Park was a gem. Sponsored by Schaeffer beer! Also, I loved playing the Rainbow Theatre in Finsbury Park.
Did you feel that the albums were becoming a little too conceptual and off the wall or were you fond of the ever maddening concept LPs?
I was not at all fond of the concept albums. The stage shows started off as fun, but became tedious and too structured. The band's identity was swallowed up by them.
Why did you end up leaving the band?
Several reasons... it was never the same after our bass player John Dalton left. I was tired of being part of Ray’s touring entourage, which seemed to be getting bigger and bigger. There were many arguments and disappointments. I really missed it being just the five of us playing some rock and roll.
What did you do right after the Kinks?
I formed a band called Network with Andy Pyle, who had been playing bass with us for a while. It was a superb line-up and we made an album at Morgan Studios. Then Punk became big and R&B and rock were not the things to be playing
What are you doing now?
I've retired from music and I live the quiet life in Oxfordshire with Theresa, my wife of 42 years. I played with The Kast Off Kinks for about 15 years and still join them on stage from time to time.
How do you look back on your time with The Kinks?
I wouldn't have missed it for the world. I still feel as if I'm part of the family. Once a Kink always a Kink I suppose!
Below are some of my favourite Kinks songs featuring Gosling in the band...