A very kind person passed this transcript to me, I take full responsibility for any copyright infringements - that's right BBC, come and get me, I'm waiting bwhahahaha!
I first heard this as it was broadcast and was amazed at Mark slamming one of my fave records, it's only many years later I realise he's referring (mostly) to the massive 'end bits' that were on the CD but NOT the LP. I never heard the CD until about 2005!!!
The only other interview for this series I remember was a very enthused Brian Wilson talking about Pet sounds...
So here we go....
In 1989, Radio 1 did a documentary-interview series hosted by
the late Roger Scott which re-assessed some popular rock albums
each Saturday at 2 p.m. Among the albums examined wereU2's The
Joshua Tree, the Rolling Stones' 1958 masterpiece Beggar's Banquet
and the Eagles' Hotel California.
'There are albums that belong to a moment, and there are
albums that transcend time,' Scott said. 'They're not bound by style
or fashion. The album we're about to appraise right now is not just a
major album of the Eighties, it's gonna sound good - ten or twenty or
even thirty years' time. The year's 1985 and our classic album is
Brothers in Arms by Dire Straits.'
Knopfler joined the DJ for the programme and he told Scott that
the songs were written in the winter of. 1984, before they went to
Montserrat. He said that he just wanted to write songs that were
simpler, more straightfoward, and that he always tried to avoid
writing songs about hotels, about being on the road, or performing:
"'So Far Away" is something I would want to apply to anybody.
Quite apart from anything else, we are now a world of travellers and
air travellers; families are split up in different parts, all over the place,
and it has relevance. It's not just relating to a musician in hotel
number 185, you know, of that year. .. It's really meant to be about
that. As far as I was concerned, it was about conducting a relation-
ship over a telephone, which is a joke. It can't really be done over a
long period of time, because you both get exhausted with it. That was
the basic idea.'
Always the least garrulous of rock stars, Knopfler sounded
awkward and uncomfortable. It was as if he were so unaccustomed to
explaining himself that, although he knew what was required, he
couldn't really put it into words.
Knopfler soon got going, and Scott asked where the inspiration
for 'Your Latest Trick' came from: 'It's New York, the idea of New
York really. I'm not quite sure what the whole thing means, but that's
quite often the case. I got the idea from coming back from the studio
. . . going down to the Village at four in the morning every night, and
getting little ideas, taxi drivers only taking calls for cash, and like
something that came over the radio. And I've always liked the idea of
these garbage trucks - you have to know New York - but these
garbage trucks are huge great monstrous things, and they make this
one of the ideas.
BROTHERS IN ARMS
'So you start, and so you finish. That's like a lot of things. Once
you've started, the one thing leads to the next. A lot of songs actually
come from fragments and you make things from fragments . . . and
I'm not sure really whether they're as good as more fully realised
ideas or not. To me it doesn't have one specific meaning. I can think
of that thing in a number of different ways. Again, I like to be able to
do that with songs, so that it can fit in with a lot of people's
situations, so they can live with it and it can have a meaning for
Overall, he seemed like an unassuming, middle-class bloke
whose favourite phrase was 'No big deal'. There was mention of a D.
H. Lawrence poem, the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, and it all
seemed to fall into place; it was as if Dire Straits were simply what
happened when an English grammar school boy got bitten by the
American rock 'n' ro11 bug. It came out sounding the way it did
because of the blend of ingredients which had been there for years
before 'Sultans of Swing' was written. Of course, the process, the
actual alchemy, of how those ingredients joined together to become
something new, can never be explained. No one, probably not even
Mark Knopfler himself, can say how that happened.
At the end Scott and Knopfler talked about which songs were
considered as titles for the album: 'l remember my Dad saying, when
the Falklands war was going on, he just happened to mention how the
Russians were brothers in arms with the Argentinians. Communist
Russia was brothers in arms with this military dictatorship in Argen-
tina. And the term "brothers in arms" stuck in my mind, although the
song is not about that. For some reason, I got the idea of a soldier
dying on the battlefield, and he's maybe got some mates round him,
and what would be going through his mind. You have to see the
scene, there are guys there, there are people around, and its night . . .
so it's a bit stagey, in that sense.
'And again the idea of opposing worlds within one world comes
in. 'We've got just one world but we live in different ones. That's all
it's about. I would think that it must have gone through many
people's minds, as they're stepping off from the edge . . . it's just
stupid, it really is . . . $7e're just foolish to take part in it. To take part
in anvbody's war.'
Finally, Scott asked him whether, if the album had never been
released, there was anything Mark would change: 'I would probably
change a lot of things. And I don't like listening to myself singing
anyway, so I would change it, I definitely would. I'd have better songs
now, I'd scrap most of these ... "One World" is a terrible song, I
think; I'd never put that on an album, I think it was the last thing that
we did, I was looking for something to do. It would definitely be
different. Thematically it doesn't really have . . . I mean it's got one or
two themes in it but they're not really connected. The playout of
"'Why'Worry" seems to be a very pointless thing to me now, all that
faffing around with pretty sounds . . . playouts generally are way too
long. Hate the vocal on