After receiving tuition from pipe band drummer Jock Cree, and playing local gigs in the Aldershot area (Home of the British Army to the south of London), in the early 70s, he went on to join the Roy Young Band, then the second incarnation of British jazz-rock band If from 1972 to 1975. He played on four albums by the band and contributed songwriting to many of their songs.
Following If’s break-up, Davies joined US hard rock guitarist Ted Nugent in the aftermath of his band the Amboy Dukes, from 1975 to 1982 as drummer, producer and/or co-producer of all Nugent’s recordings over those years, in collaboration with Lew Futterman, who had also produced If.
In 1975 Nugent had dropped The Amboy Dukes name and the band became The Ted Nugent Band. They were definitely a “band” and all of the members wanted that and discussed it. None of them considered themselves as “back up players”. One of the conditions of Derek St. Holmes joining them, was it was called a “band”. So, they toured as The Ted Nugent Band and, in 1975, after replacing Staffield with Cliff Davies on vocals and drums, they went into the studio to do their first album, which at the time was unnamed, for Epic Records. Cliff was instrumental in organizing and producing the album; he basically came in from London and commandeered the recording session, which produced Ted Nugent’s first gold album, which later went multi-platinum. He was never given full credit for producing this album.
At that point, David Krebs of Leber & Krebs Management, convinced Nugent to drop the “band” and just call it “Ted Nugent”. This was a total surprise to the “band” and it was the beginning of the end. The nucleus of Rob Grange, Derek St. Holmes, and Cliff Davies for songwriting, as well as arranging, was forever broken. The make up of the original members was really as a “band”. In 1978, three years later and with four platinum albums titled Ted Nugent, Free-for-All, Cat Scratch Fever and Double Live Gonzo!, Grange and St. Holmes moved on to form St. Paradise, because Nugent did not want a “band concept”. Their last concert together, as the original line up, was Cal Jam 2 on March 18, 1978. Davies stayed on with Nugent, however focussing much more on production work.
In the 1980s, he worked for Next City Productions, also owned by Futterman, in New York City recording with Grand Funk Railroad among others. Since the late 1990s he lived in Atlanta teaching piano and drums. He was also instrumental in founding the now defunct Rock and Roll Remembers Foundation with writer Michael Robert Krikorian.
Clifford Davies was found dead in his home in Atlanta on 13 April 2008. He died at age 59 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Reed Beaver, the owner of Equametric Studio where Davies was employed as chief engineer, reported that Davies called him the night before his body was found and was “extremely distraught” over medical bills.