Dire Straits to Play Rock Hall Induction Without Mark Knopfler
Keyboardist Alan Clark revealed the band's plans for its big night on his website, explaining that "there's a lot of conjecture on forums about whether the band is performing at the Hall of Fame, and if not why not and who in the band are going to the ceremony. Well, here it is and it's official: Myself, Guy Fletcher and John Illsley will attend the ceremony, where we'll be be performing an unplugged version of 'Telegraph Road' with me on harmonium, Guy on ukulele, John on banjo, and the vocal performed by the three of us as a three part harmony."
Dire Straits split up in 1995, and they were the last holdout from this year's class to detail their plans for the ceremony, which will be held in Cleveland on April 14. It was previously announced that Ann Wilson will induct the Moody Blues, Howard Stern will be on hand for Bon Jovi, the Killers' Brandon Flowers will induct the Cars, Mary J. Blige and Andra Day will pay tribute to Nina Simone and Alabama Shakes' Brittany Howard will induct early innovator Sister Rosetta Tharpe.
While there's no word as to why the reclusive Knopfler won't attend the ceremony, his brother David, who played with the band on its first two albums, said he won't be there either. He claims the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame reneged on travel costs.
"In their wisdom, after promising to pay my expenses they reneged on their promise," David Knopler posted in response to a Facebook question, which confirmed the appearance of Illsey, Clark and Fletcher. "I can well understand that with only $5 mil a year in sponsorships and 100k a table and no fees for the artist that paying my taxi to the airport must have given them heart murmurs like Squeers hearing Oliver Twist asking for more and frightened them into refusal otherwise one might get the wrong idea entirely about what they're all about."
Dire Straits were formed in London in 1977 by singer and guitarist Mark Knopfler, rhythm guitarist David Knopfler, bassist John Illsley and drummer Pick Withers. Clark joined in 1980; keyboardist and guitarist Fletcher joined in 1984. The three members who plan to play at the Rock Hall induction were all with the group when leader Knopfler disbanded it in 1995, and went on to a solo career.
4/5 UPDATE: Since we first published this piece, Clark has changed his story twice in a manner that calls into question whether or not he is being serious. His first edit was to say that, rather than "Telegraph Road" being sung in three-part harmony, Stevie Wonder would sit in with the group. The current entry on his site says that the three former members still plan to perform the Love Over Gold epic acoustically, it will not be sung by Wonder, "as previously reported, which would, I admit, be ridiculous. No, after much deliberation we decided the best possible replacement for Mark would be the Red Army Choir, which took some organizing, as you can imagine, what with the current political climate. I hear Trump swung it for us using his hotline to Putin."
This new development does not seem to affect Mark Knopfler's supposed lack of involvement.
4/12 UPDATE: John Illsley confirmed that Mark Knopfler will be a no-show and admitted that Clark was "having a bit of fun" with his post.