Retro Article: From the Archives, 1981 The Sultans of Sulk

Retro Article: From the Archives, 1981 The Sultans of Sulk

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Dire Straits during their press conference at the Sebel Town House in Kings Cross, Sydney on April 6, 1981. Photo Credit: Peter MorrisDire Straits during their press conference at the Sebel Town House in Kings Cross, Sydney on April 6, 1981. Photo Credit: Peter Morris

The following article is first published in The Sydney Morning Herald on April 7, 1981. Using the web internet, our team has found this article. Dire Straits Blog wants just to re-share this article for the purpose of the Dire Straits community.

Press get no communique from Dire Straits. Their music may have been “loud and dynamic a touch of cool”, but when it came to this Sydney press conference, the British rock band were all but catatonic.

Some rock groups should never be called upon to speak. Take Dire Straits, currently appearing at the Regent Theatre: their music is loud and dynamic with a touch of cool. Their concerts are sell-outs and their stage performances extraordinarily slick and professional.

But the British band was visibly bored at their press conference yesterday. To break the boredom, which affected the press as well as the band members, a reporter unwisely asked how they got their name.

A near groan came from drummer Pick Withers. He did manage to say the condition of dire straits affected the Western world.

The lead singer and lead guitarist (and former journalist) Mark Knopfler was asked if their last two albums, Communique and Making Movies had a harder sound than their first self-titled album.

There was a mumble. “What album?” he asked. The question was repeated. “Oh yeah,” he replied. How did the band find Australian audiences? “Great, ah, good,” bass player John Illsley said.

What gave the Mark Knopfler the inspiration to write Tunnel of Love? “It’s a bit involved really,” he said. The keyboard player, Alan Clark, and rhythm guitarist Hal Lindes said nothing. The band was not suffering jet lag, for they arrived in Sydney last Friday after playing in Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne.

The press conference had been organized with alarming military-style precision. The invitation warned that this was the one and only media conference in NSW, photographers operate only during the first 10 minutes and then withdraw. And the group would not “pose” for photographs or visit photographic locations “under any circumstances”.

“What album?” Mark Knopfler on April 6, 1981.Credit:Peter Morris
“What album?” Mark Knopfler on April 6, 1981. Photo Credit: Peter Morris

Film and video should not dismantle lights or cameras while questions were being asked, and questions should be directed to the group and not to individual members.

They had, it was revealed, bad experiences with the press in Italy when they were cornered, shoved, shouted at, and mauled by microphones. The organizers, Polygram Records, and Gary Von Egmond, were making sure it would not happen again.

Alan Clark looked depressed if not at times suicidal, Hal Lindes looked shy and bemused. Mark Knopfler looked confused, Pick Withers looked alternately bored and intense, while John Illsley looked plain bored.

It was, however, made clear that the rumor that the band had banned the press from their concerts was not true. In fact, at one time they enjoyed a halcyon relationship with the British press, Pick withers said.

“We say, ‘write anything you like,” Mark Knopfler said. “You are not in physical danger.”

Source: https://www.smh.com.au/culture/music/from-the-archives-1981-the-sultans-of-sulk-20210401-p57fy5.html

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