Ex-Dire Straits Members to Tour U.S. as 'Dire Straits Legacy'
By Andrew Magnotta
August 31, 2018
Mark Knopfler's apparent apathy regarding his band's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year leaves the singer/guitarist's former Dire Straits bandmates with no other choice: to tour without him.
The odd thing is that of the three-man contingent that arrived at the Hall of Fame this spring to accept the honor, only one of them is going on with the DSL Dire Straits Legacy project.
Of the band's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, only keyboardist Alan Clark (pictured above in the center) will be part of the tribute band lineup.
Clark will be joined by former live members of Dire Straits percussionist Danny Cummings, saxophonist Mel Collins and guitarist Phil Palmer. The band will be joined by Heartbreakers drummer Steve Ferrone and The Buggles' Trevor Horn on bass. Marco Caviglia will sing lead vocalist and Primiano DiBiase will provide additional keyboards.
Clark, who was in Dire Straits for 14 years, is the only member of Dire Straits Legacy to perform with the band for more than one year.
"The DSL Dire Straits Legacy project was born from our love and respect for the music of Dire Straits, and to bring the music to fans who have been starved of hearing it played live by the musicians who made it," said Clark and Collins in a joint statement. "Now, after many requests, we're coming to the U.S.! Along with all the Dire Straits hits, we'll also be playing one or two songs from our new album 3 Chord Trick, and a couple of other tunes we've been involved with. See you there!"
This will represent the first time former members of Dire Straits have toured under the DSL moniker, and the first time they will perform in the U.S.
Dire Straits bassist John Illsley (picture above on the left), who is the only member besides Knopfler to remain in the group through every incarnation, told Rolling Stone that he cautioned his former bandmates from moving forward with DSL.
"I said to them, 'If you're going to do it, will you please call it something else?'" he said, referring to the bands former moniker of The Straits. "'It would be like some people coming together and calling themselves the Stones or the Floyd. You can't really do that. You were members of the band for a while, but you don't own the name. You have no ownership. Can you please call it something else? Call it what it is, which is basically a tribute act.'"
Illsley pledged last winter to do his best to get Knopfler to show up at the Hall of Fame. In the end, there was no convincing him. Illsley reported that his longtime bandmate just didn't feel like being party to the fanfare.
The resulting absence of Mark Knopfler, his brother David Knopfler and longtime Dire Straits drummer Pick Withers — half the inductees — made for the most awkward induction in Hall of Fame history.
Dire Straits became the first band in the history of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to not have an induction speaker introduce them. They were also the only inductees that neither performed or had a tribute performance dedicated to them.
Photo: Getty Images