The Dire Straits founding member John Illsley was a guest on the second episode of Vintage Rock Podcast. In this interview, John talks about making mega-hits albums, the CD revolution and technology, and the first iconic MTV video.
Vintage Rock Podcast is a project by Paul Stephenson in which he makes interviews with rock stars on each episode. So far Paul interviewed people from the Small Faces, Dire Straits, Big Country, The Zombies, and many more.
This is a free podcast that can be heard on all the usual directories like Spotify, Apple, YouTube, etc. On each episode, there are also extras like quizzes and facts. The interview went on air on October 12th, 2020, and is the newest interview with John Illsley at all. Now, the whole 30-minute interview is available for watching official on Dire Straits Blog.
Illsley also has shared some interesting facts about how Sting coincidentally was on holiday in Montserrat and heard the song “Money for Nothing.”
“Sting was on holiday and just finished recording with The Police. He listened to the ‘Money for Nothing’ song and he just turned around and said ‘You bastards, you’ve done it again!’.”
“After that Mark Knopfler gave the idea of Sting to sing on the song. So, he went into the studio, got in front of the microphone, and just what you hear is what he did. It was a very spontaneous addition to the record. It was completely unexpected.”
“We didn’t know he was going to be there. That’s how these things happen in life,” John added.
John shared some memories from Dire Straits ‘Brothers in Arms’ tour, when they made 250 shows all around the world including Yugoslavia, Greece, and Israel.
“We had some great music and musician around us. It was a wonderful tour. We went to Sydney and the entertainment center and played 23 shows there which was never been done before. Touring is always a part of the band’s credentials. We had a fantastic crew around us and we loved it.”
He also explained why Mark didn’t want to go to the USA for the Hall of Fame award in 2018.
“I’m not going to go into the details, but Mark decided he didn’t want to go and I completely respected that. He just decided that he didn’t want to get involved in all the political shenanigans which were coming out of the RRHOF committee. And I said well look, I know that is difficult for you but I’m gonna go and Guy wanted to go, and then suddenly Alan said he wanted to go,” he finished.
At the end of the interview, John shares that he is working on some new material together with his son Harry, which is a DJ and piano player. He also admitted that he is working on his paintings and enjoy life.