Yoni Schlesinger is a professional musician from Israel. We were in touch with him before one week. We communicated with Yoni via e-mail and he told us many things about his life and his music career. Otherwise, Yoni is a big fan of Dire Straits and other bands from the 80s and 90s. In the spare time, Yoni shares videos with cover songs on his YouTube Channel. Below between the interview, you will have an opportunity to hear some of Yoni’s videos where he played “Sultans Of Swing”, “Brothers In Arms”, “Romeo and Juliet”, “Going Home”, “Shape of My Heart” and also to read the interview that we made with him. Enjoy!
DSB: Can you tell us something about yourself, who is Yoni? How old are you, where do you live and where are you from?
Hello to everyone who reads the Dire Straits Blog, I am 37 years old and I am from Rishon Le’zion a city 15 km from Tel Aviv. During the last 7 years, I live in Tel Aviv where many Israelite musicians live so I feel here at home.
DSB: Are you a professional musician and do you have a music career?
Yes, this is what I do for a living. Mostly I play the guitar and sing for my soul. For a living, I play at some private boutique events or play the guitar for singers in acoustic shows. Sometimes also I do guitar demos for B&G (Israel Electric Guitars). At weekends I like to sit for some hours in the most popular pedestrian mall in Tel-Aviv there I enjoy playing and sing making people around happy while singing and dancing around.
DSB: What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like to get out of the city and visit friends. Sometimes we play poker or Pool (which always go together…) In my spare time, I like to watch series and movies, a lot of them I’ve seen at the last 10 years.
DSB: When and why did you start playing?
When I was 6 years old, my parents got divorced, and I became a problematic violent boy. One year after my mother met her new husband and since I was drumming on tables all day long he suggested I’ll try to play the guitar…
So I started playing, I had a cool teacher which taught me how to play songs while skipping the theory part ha-ha… But the most important thing he taught me was to listen to the songs and try to play it by myself. I used to listen to cassettes back and forth until I found the chords or something close. This was the key for me. He was my teacher for 3 years, then I learned to play on electric guitar for 1-2 years till I was 13 and that’s it. Since then I was an autodidact.
DSB: Which famous musicians have you learned from?
There are so many wonderful guitar players as David Gilmour, Tommy Emmanuel, Slash, Mark Knopfler, Marty Friedman, Antonio Forcione. These all guys are amazing and I love them. I feel what they play is impossible … I enjoy listening to them.
DSB: How often and for how long do you practice?
I guess that I play every day all day long unless I’m busy with something else. Most of the time I play just without thinking when it’s possible.
DSB: What kind of music do you like and who is your favorite music bands/artists?
I really know how to play more than 1,000 songs and I love all of them! I really love Pink Floyd, Queen, Sting, David Bowie, Dire Straits, Stevie Wonder… And if you want me to be even more specific, for me the Top 5 songs of all times are:
1. Sultans of Swing- Dire straits
2. Bohemian Rhapsody- Queen
3. Quicksand – David Bowie
4. Dogs – Pink Floyd
5. Africa – Toto
DSB: About Dire Straits, when was the first time when you listened to a song from them, which song was that and when was the first cover version that you made from Dire Straits?
I really can’t remember but I think the first song that I listened to Dire Straits was on MTV, to which my sister listened a lot like rock and pop music and she had cassettes of many bands. So I used to steal from her and listen… I think the first song was “Sultans of Swing” when I was 15 years old, playing the electric guitar and looking for great solos to play.
DSB: Which are your favorite classic songs from Dire Straits?
I love many songs of them but here are some of my favorites: Sultans of Swing, Brothers In Arms, Romeo and Juliet, Private Investigations, Money For Nothing, So Far Away, Where Do You Think You’re Going, Tunnel of Love, Down to the Waterline, Going Home, Your Latest Trick, Twisting By The Pool.
DSB: How many cover versions of Dire Strait’s songs have you made?
I made covers from six Dire Straits songs: Brothers In Arms, Sultans of Swing with singing and fingerstyle video, Private Investigations, Romeo and Juliet, Going Home, Your Latest Trick.
DSB: What is your motto in life and what is that which motivates you to continue with good vibes and positive energy in life?
As a real Sagittarius, I must say “Live the moment”, and also keep a good love life. As for a guitarist, my motto is “Use Your Ears!” Play whatever you want, in any style of guitar, just use your ears and listen to cause that’s where the heart is… Don’t count only on tutorials and tabs, cause then you play “other people’s dream”, make it your own.
DSB: And for the end can you tell something to all fans who read the Dire Straits Blog?
Thank you for hosting me here. Each DS fan is a good friend of mine, for you know what quality is. When I’ll go out with a new DS arrangement, I’ll be happy to share it here with you. Keep on the good vibes! Thank you for interviewing me.