David Knopfler Breaks Silence About Selling Dire Straits Materials

As he was recently talking to Rock History Book for an interview, former Dire Straits guitarist David Knopfler explained why he refused to use the band’s songs for money. Answering a question about whether he played their material on stage, the guitarist said:

“I’ve done ‘Wild West End’ a few times. We did ‘Once Upon A Time In The West’ from the second Dire Straits album on the last tour for fun. You know, if we’re just sitting there and we’re practicing songs, I might suddenly get ‘Six Blade Knife’ we’ve done. Rarely…”

He went on to share his thoughts on being paid for Dire Straits songs:

“Sometimes, as you get cynical kind of guys will say, ‘I’ll pay you X thousand dollars for you, and I’ll pay you Y thousand dollars if you include some Dire Straits material,’ which I tend not to do. I tend to just think anybody that wants to treat me like that, I don’t necessarily want to work with them. Because it’s going to end in tears.”

Wanting to separate his work from the band’s, Knopfler added:

“A set is a set, and I want to entertain my audience, and I want them to go home happy, but generally, in markets where I worked a lot of times and I’ve built, established it. In Germany, for example, where I was never off their television sets for my first four or five albums.”

The guitarist mentioned the times he went for Straits’ tracks as follows:

“I established an independent space that was my own. But if you come to a territory where you’ve never played before, come to a country where you haven’t been for ever maybe, and they don’t necessarily know your solo material, then you’ve got to give them something so that they can reference you.”

He further explained:

“Because you will get members of the audience coming because of the surname and because they know about Dire Straits. Then, they know there was a guitarist in Dire Straits, but they won’t know anything about that. I’ve made twenty albums since.”

David’s brother and former bandmate, Mark Knopfler, is the name behind most of the songs he avoids performing to focus on his own work. But the former Dire Straits vocalist also has some issues with their old material.

During an interview with Rolling Stone in 1985, Mark said all of his old records took the wrong direction. Then, he added:

“I don’t like them that much. The best stuff happens when you’re just sitting around playing by miles. I ddon’tlike to sit around listening to my own records — iit’sperverse. I think, in general, that there’s too much attention paid to albums just because of this business that’s grown up around it. I will be playing better stuff than anything on my records if I get up in a tiny bar and play with a bar band.”

You can check David Knopfler’s interview in the video below.