Ray Davies earned his position in rock history as the rhythm guitarist and principal singer-songwriter for the Kinks. To this day, the British Invasion group ranks among rock's most influential bands. It's worshiped by legions of mod revivalists, ranging from '70s punk/power-pop groups like the Jam to contemporary acts such as the Swinging Neckbreakers. Yet, while other key '60s British bands such as the Who and the Rolling Stones shot to superstardom, the Kinks were confined to a lesser existence as a weird little cult band. Despite their relative obscurity and the fact that at one point they were banned from performing in the States for four years, the Kinks still get significant radio airplay with old hits such as "You Really Got Me," "All Day and All of the Night," "Lola," and "Come Dancing." In 1995, to promote his "unauthorized autobiography," X-Ray
, Davies gave intimate talks about his work and performed solo versions of his songs. The combination of commentary and music was so effective that he embarked upon a "Storyteller" tour in 1998. He then filmed a TV special that spawned a recurring VH-1 "Storyteller" series, with other musicians such as Elvis Costello, Stevie Nicks, and David Bowie following suit. For Friday's performance, he'll be sticking to that format, telling stories and playing acoustic. Expect an enthusiastic crowd for this show, in particular -- in the '70s, Cleveland was a big supporter of the Kinks. So much so that an ill-fated movie adaptation of the Kinks' early '70s rock opera, Preservation,
was intended for filming in and around the Cleveland area; when the album tanked, the plans were scrapped. Davies, who did a reading from X-Ray
at the Rock Hall five years ago, has kept the Cleveland connection intact.