John Illsley Addresses The Challenges Mark Knopfler Faced Due To Dire Straits’ Massive Success

Dire Straits bassist John Illsley recently joined Bass Player for an interview and stated that Mark Knopfler couldn’t take it anymore due to the tremendous amount of attention that came with the band’s massive success.

During the late 1970s and 1980s, Dire Straits made its mark on the music scene with its distinctive sound, drawing influences from blues, country, jazz, and pub rock. As the leader of Dire Straits, Mark Knopfler played a decisive role in making the band a huge success story. He stood out as the group’s primary songwriter and lead guitarist. Besides his inspiring lyrics, Knopfler’s inventive and original guitar playing also helped the band take their sound to the next level.

The band’s breakthrough album was their fifth record, ‘Brothers in Arms,’ released in May 1985. Then, the band’s follow-up record, ‘On Every Street,’ arrived in September 1991, yet it failed to meet the expectations after such a successful album. The supporting tour was also a big disappointment. Following the release of their live album, ‘Live at the BBC,’ Mark Knopfler quietly dissolved Dire Straits and launched his solo career.

During his recent interview, John Illsley reflected on the challenges Mark Knopfler faced after the band’s massive success. The bassist explained that Knopfler was at the center of the attention as the leader of the band, which left him under significant stress. Thus, Illsley considers that this situation might have pushed him to end the group and pursue a solo career.

Here is how John Illsley addressed the challenges Mark Knopfler faced:

“Mark Knopfler took a lot of energy from the outside world, being the writer and all the rest of it, so he got a massive amount of attention, and after a while, I guess he just didn’t want to handle the machine anymore.”

Mark Knopfler released his ninth and latest solo album, ‘Down the Road Wherever,’ on November 16, 2018. He supported the album with a world tour. Although he initially hinted at stopping touring, he softened his statement by saying that he loves hitting the road and intends to continue.