Why Mark Knopfler Refused To Re-Form Dire Straits

Mark Knopfler found himself among the most celebrated guitar players in rock music, and his former band Dire Straits contributed to his reputation. He didn’t only play the lead guitar but also occasionally took the singing and songwriting duties in the group. Knopfler’s first tenure with Dire Straits lasted until 1988, marking the beginning of his solo journey.

Still the band reunited two years after, but their stint didn’t last very long. In 1995, they decided to part ways, and Mark Knopfler became an independent solo artist many admired and loved. Though some of his fans are content with his solo works, the group’s fans want to see them perform and record together. However, Knopfler has some strict opinions on the matter, and none of them is about a happy reunion.

Why Did Dire Straits Part Ways?

Formed in 1977, Dire Straits gained international success with countless hits, including their first single, ‘Sultans of Swing,’ from their 1978 self-titled debut album and their complex yet thrilling sound. Nevertheless, the band members began having issues following the rapid and global fame. Mark Knopfler announced they decided to disband in 1988 because he ‘needed a rest.’ The massive success of their ‘Brothers in Arms’ album and the tour caused the band members to feel significantly stressed.

Two years after their decision, Dire Straits reunited and performed alongside Elton John and Eric Clapton at Knebworth Festival. In early 1991, they began recording a new album, which later became their sixth studio record, ‘On Every Street,’ released in September 1991. Unfortunately, this became their final studio release.

After the album, Dire Straits embarked on a world tour until October 1992. Nonetheless, things didn’t go as planned on the road, and Mark Knopfler felt he had had enough of such massive organizations and shows for success and fame. Eventually, this led to the second and final break-up of the band in 1995.

What Did Mark Knopfler Say About A Reunion?

It has been more than two decades since Dire Straits’ break-up, but fans never lost hope in the band. Therefore, rumors about a reunion pop up every now and then, but Mark Knopfler seems determined not to gather his old group. In a conversation at the Hay Literary Festival, the musician said Dire Straits got out of hand during their prosperous times, which brought out the worst of being famous and contributed to his opinions regarding disbandment.

About re-forming Dire Straits, Knopfler said:

It just got too big. If anyone can tell me one good thing about fame, I’d be very interested to hear it.”

In an interview with BBC, the band’s former bassist John Illsley once talked about their and Mark Knopfler’s feelings about reuniting. He said he would love to do a reunion tour, but it was Knopfler’s decision. Although the bassist sounded promising, implying he might be willing to get into the complicated road of Dire Straits, he admitted seeing Knopfler happy focusing on his solo works.

About Knopfler’s opinions, Illsley said:

“He says, ‘Oh, I don’t know whether to start getting all that stuff back together again.’ Mark and I were the only two left in ’93, so it’s really up to him and me if it happens. But he’s doing incredibly well as a solo artist, so hats off to him. He’s having a perfectly good time doing what he’s doing.”

While John Illsley stated that Dire Straits has more to offer to the world and their fans in touring and producing an album, his former bandmate is tired of the burden of the band’s fame. Their fans can only hope he’ll change his mind someday, but it has been long since the group parted ways, and Knopfler’s statements don’t exactly raise the expectations.