Possibly the worst conceivable time to approach a rock musician for any reason is immediately after coming off stage from performing for 90 minutes or more. They are physically and emotionally spent. So that’s exactly the circumstances under which I first met Mark Knopfler, a good 10-12 months into the massive Dire Straits Brothers in Arms world tour of 1985-86. Knopfler & band had just moments before played to a capacity Dallas audience of 15,000 and, because it’s my job to ask , there I was approaching a visibly drained exhausted Mark Knopfler for an interview. As our eyes met in the backstage hallway, there was a look of apprehension is his face which seemed to almost plead,”Please don’t ask me for anything right now.” So after introducing myself, I said,”You probably don’t want to do this right now, correct?”
When he quietly but quickly declined, quite uncharacteristically I asked for a personal favor, explaining to Knopfler that I had just reconnected with a long-lost cousin living in Madrid, Spain. In an effort to find some initial common ground to bridge the time , geographic, language ,and cultural barriers between us, I had discovered that my Spanish cousin’s favorite band was Dire Straits, so I asked the fatigued Knopfler for an autograph on a Brothers in Arms cover which I provided. Suddenly, his eyes brightened as he easily agreed to provide the gift, while informing me that Spain had long been a Dire Straits hub of popularity long before Brothers in Arms‘ phenomenal sales .
Mark Knopfler’s accessibility, at a time when Dire Straits’ enormous world-wide fame should have precluded it, impressed me greatly that night. Soon I would be equally in admiration of Mark’s matter-of-fact frank and honest insights on music, fame, and his preference for observing others rather than being in the spotlight . Mark Knopfler readily admits that his ambitions of top quality and musical authenticity may not be the same as other pop stars, but that they are ambitions nonetheless. -Redbeard