The Inside Story of One of the Biggest Bands in Rock History
The first, and only, inside story of one of the greatest bands in rock history-Dire Straits-as told by founding member and bassist John Illsley
One of the most successful music acts of all time, Dire Straits filled stadiums around the world. Their albums sold hundreds of millions of copies and their music-classics like "Sultans of Swing," "Romeo and Juliet," "Money for Nothing," and "Brothers in Arms"-is still played on every continent today. There was, quite simply, no bigger band on the planet throughout the eighties.
In this powerful and entertaining memoir, founding member John Illsley gives the inside track on the most successful rock band of their time. From playing gigs in the spit-and-sawdust pubs of south London, to hanging out with Bob Dylan in LA, Illsley tells the story of the band with searching honesty, soulful reflection, and wry humor. Starting with his own unlikely beginnings in Middle England, he recounts the band's rise from humble origins to the best-known venues in the world, the working man's clubs to Madison Square Garden, sharing gigs with wild punk bands to rocking the Live Aid stage at Wembley. And woven throughout is an intimate portrait and tribute to his great friend Mark Knopfler, the band's lead singer, songwriter, and remarkable guitarist.
Tracing an idea that created a phenomenal musical legacy, an extraordinary journey of joy and pain, companionship and surprises, this is John Illsley's life in Dire Straits.
"For us, it was a huge adventure and a hell of a ride, with all its comedy, absurdity, exhaustion, madness, and sadness-. This ride is not for everyone, not for those who can't take the pressures and the pace-. It was a different world. And John has remembered a pretty big chunk of it." -from the Foreword by founding member Mark Knopfler
"A forensic and uplifting journey through the sheer hard work, pitfalls, and thrills of navigating a great rock and roll band to the pinnacle of success. I so enjoyed the ride! Onwards, John!" -Roger Taylor, drummer, songwriter, and founding member of Queen
"Reading John Illsley's book, I relived so many moments. He captures the early days of the 'English bands' and their story-the ups and downs, relationships, craziness, and fun. Of course, the music was key. This really happened!" -Mike Rutherford of Genesis
"Illsley, bass player of the British rock band Dire Straits, delivers a fascinating take on the band's history. Following his rock-crazed youth in Leicestershire, he details his eventful meeting in the mid-1970s with guitar playing brothers David and Mark Knopfler in London's Deptford district, a bleak area that, during a decade marked by "crippling strikes," was "far ahead in the race to the bottom." But it was the ideal place to form a band, as Illsey ably illustrates, recalling how it enabled Dire Straits to develop a unique sound away from the punk scene that dominated London at the time. Once the band's demo tape landed with popular disc jockey Charlie Gillett in 1977, who began playing their song "Sultans of Swing" on repeat during the summer of 1977, the group shot to superstardom. Illsley breathlessly recounts the nonstop touring that began after they signed with Warner Records, the ascendancy of "Sultans" to worldwide hit status, and the increasingly popular records that followed, among them 1985's Brothers in Arms, whose breakout song "Money for Nothing" led to a prominent performance at Live Aid. Along the way, Illsley is brutally frank about the toll that the band's fame had on his relationships, most notably his marriage ("a victim," he writes, "of my life on the road"). Fans will be mesmerized." -Publishers Weekly (starred review)
John Illsley rose to fame as the bass guitarist of the critically acclaimed band Dire Straits. With Dire Straits, John has been the recipient of multiple Grammy Awards and a Heritage Award. As one of the founding members (with Mark Knopfler, his brother David and drummer Pick Withers) John played a major role in the development of the Dire Straits sound. When Dire Straits finished touring in 1993, John became involved in the art world. Having carved a reputation for himself as a painter, John had solo exhibitions in London, New York, Sydney, and across Europe. He also cofounded the children's charity Life Education in 1987, which was recently integrated into Coram, one of the oldest UK charities. John also owns a pub, the East End Arms in the New Forest.
Hardcover - : - 320 pages
Dimensions - : - 6.25 x 1 x 9.25 inches