ONE of The Kinks’ greatest hits, the groovy Sunny Afternoon, is playing softly in Mick Avory’s lounge as he chats away on the phone from his Kew Gardens home.

“I’ve just landed back from seeing The Kinks’ musical (Sunny Afternoon) at Hampstead Theatre, and it was just so strange to see our lives up there on stage – I even had to buy a ticket to get in,” joked Avory.

“They featured my big on-stage fight with guitarist Dave Davies, but it was a lot soppier than the real one.

“The musical has sold out every night for six weeks and they might take it to the West End.

“I really hope they do because it is a triumph – and all of it is true.”

Avory, who auditioned for the Rolling Stones before he found fame with The Kinks, added: “A chap came up to me after the show and said, ‘Mick, it is 50 years next month since You Really Got Me came out.’ I really couldn’t believe that.

“Sometimes it feels like I’ve lived two different lives.”

Avory was a founding member of The Kinks with Ray Davies – and the band penned a raft of classic tunes, Lola, Victoria, Shangri-La and Waterloo Sunset.

“There was a lot of glitz and glamour, the photo shoots, the clothes, the parties and television appearances – we even got banned from visiting America.

“Now I have to drive myself to gigs and pay my own hotel bills.”

Avory left the band in 1984, forming the Kast Off Kinks, a tribute group with a difference.

The 70-year-old now tours with other ex-members of the band, a project that began at a Kinks convention and sparked a fresh career for the legendary sticks man.

“I did 20 years in The Kinks and 20 years in the Kast Off Kinks, but I still enjoy every second of playing those tunes.

“The great thing is, though, there’s such a great repertoire to choose from, and a lot of the stuff that we perform the Kinks never did live so it has become a bit of a re-education for me.

“I think the appeal of the songs must be timeless and a lot of people have heard the songs and know them, but didn’t know it was the Kinks originally.”

Ray Davies, lead singer of The Kinks, remains one of the great innovators of British rock music, and is one of pop’s most distinctive songwriters and producers.

“We still go out for a pint together and I’m glad about that,” added Avory.

“Ray still has that dry sense of humour and he has given the Kast Offs his blessing because it keeps the songs alive.

“Ray will be remembered as one of the great songwriters I think.

“He was able to write about any subject. He even wrote a song about my underpants – Mick Avory’s Underpants – thankfully it was an instrumental.”

The Kast Off Kinks will be performing at the North By North West Mod Festival at Colne Muni on Saturday.

The festival sees Bruce Foxton and From The Jam headlining tomorrow night supported by The 45s and The Universal. On Saturday the line-up includes the Smaller Fakers and headliners Bad Manners. Details from the Muni on 01282 661234.