Brothers in Arms: Knopflers to Skip Rock Hall Event

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Dire Straits in 1978. l. to r.: John Illsley, Mark Knopfler, Pick Withers, David Knopfler (Photo from Wikipedia)

When Dire Straits is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 14, neither Mark Knopfler, nor his brother David, both of whom are among the group’s co-founders, will be in attendance at the Cleveland ceremony. David, the band’s original rhythm guitarist, said in a Facebook post that he was skipping the proceedings because the institution will not pay his travel expenses, Further comments on Knopfer’s snub were published April 2 in a article by Michael Norman.

The news concerning Mark Knopfler, the band’s leader, was revealed by Dire Straits’ keyboardist, Alan Clark, via a post on his website.

“There’s a lot of conjecture on forums about whether the band is performing at the Hall of Fame, and if not why not, and who in the band are going to the ceremony,” Clark wrote. “Well, here it is and it’s official: Myself, Guy Fletcher and John Illsley will attend the ceremony where we’ll be be performing an unplugged version of ‘Telegraph Road,’ with me on harmonium, Guy on ukulele, John on banjo.

Neither brother will be attending their Class of 2018 induction

“While it’s nice to receive recognition for my work, I really can’t take it seriously. That said, I’ve bought a new tuxedo and my signature now ends with the words ‘LIVING LEGEND’.”

Asked by a commenter on his Facebook page why he was boycotting the event, David Knopfler posted, “In their wisdom after promising to pay my expenses they reneged on their promise … I can well understand that with only $5 mil a year in sponsorships and 100k a table and no fees for the artist that paying my taxi to the airport must have given them heart murmurs like Squeers hearing Oliver Twist asking for more and frightened them into refusal otherwise one might get the wrong idea entirely about what they’re all about.”

Related: The story behind Dire Straits’ “Sultans of Swing”

Asked in the same post if he knew which members of Dire Straits would be in attendance, David Knopfler replied, “Latest head count was John, Alan and Guy,” referring to bassist Illsley, a co-founder, and keyboardists Clark and Fletcher. No mention was made of Mark Knopfler, the band’s lead vocalist and lead guitarist, or of drummer (and co-founder) Pick Withers, attending their Class of 2018 induction. David Knopfler left the band in 1980.

As for Mark Knopfler’s snubbing of the event, Illsley told Billboard on Apr. 12, “He just didn’t feel like coming, it’s as simple as that. It just didn’t appeal to him, and I appealed to him on several occasions. I said, ‘Look, I’d love you to get your head around this.’ He said, ‘Look, I just can’t do it, John. I’m really sorry. It’s a great honor for us and all the rest of it, and I just can’t get my head around it,’ so I’ve just got to respect it. He’s got his reasons, which he really doesn’t want to share with me which is unusual because we’ve shared most things over the years.”

Illsley also told Billboard that a Dire Straits performance at the induction “would’ve been quite complicated. When you look at the structure of the band over the last 40 years it’s been quite a mixed bag of musicians and people involved, and just trying to sort that out and make sense of it… (Knopfler) said, ‘Look, I just can’t deal with it. I don’t really want to deal with it.’ So I said, ‘OK, I’ll go over, accept the award on your behalf and all the rest of the guys that aren’t there and that’ll be it. So that’s what’s happening.”

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Dire Straits was formed in England in 1977 and first came to fame with their hit “Sultans of Swing.” Their 1978 self-titled debut album reached #2 in the United States and they later reached #1 with their 1985 collection Brothers in Arms, as well as that year’s single “Money for Nothing.”

Throughout the history of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, numerous band members and solo artists have decided, for one reason or another, not to attend or not to take part in the reunion performances that fans have come to expect.

Watch Dire Straits perform “Sultans of Swing”


Best Classic Bands Staff

3 Comments so far

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  1. Megabigring
    #1 Megabigring 6 April, 2018, 09:26

    Cleveland morons. Take two seconds to think of a band “they” don’t like

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  2. Ferd
    #2 Ferd 6 April, 2018, 13:06

    He sounds like a petulant 2 year old. Won’t pay his cab fare? Take a bus then. Pathetic.

    Reply this comment
  3. Danl
    #3 Danl 7 April, 2018, 18:41

    The hall of rock fame is a farce, how in the hell could steppen wolf not be there ? I don’t blame knopflur, he knows he’s a guitar great, a great respectful, blues rock gutarist,not some panny waste non musical band that ruined the hall of fame for the sake of p.c

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