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Author Topic: A hypothetical: If DS continued, and was a democracy...  (Read 3548 times)

OfflineAngelucci

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A hypothetical: If DS continued, and was a democracy...
« on: June 22, 2022, 11:53:19 am »
If Dire Straits continued to the current day, with John, David and Pick staying as the core with MK all the way through, and the band was more of a collaboration, which of DK's and JI's solo works do you think were good enough to have made it on to a Straits album at some point?

(For the sake of argument, in my mind MK would obviously still be in the driving creative force and the evolution of the DS sound would more or less follow MK's solo work in real life.)

I think there are a few from David. If God Could Make The Angels is a great song in my book, and I could see 4U and King Of Ashes being DS album tracks with the right band and production behind them.

Offlinequizzaciously

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Re: A hypothetical: If DS continued, and was a democracy...
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2022, 07:57:31 pm »
To be honest with you, I dismissed nearly all the work of ex-DS band members, it just doesn't cut it for me. I don't want to return to these songs, I don't want to print out their lyrics and put them on the wall if you know what I mean. It's good music, probably, and has its following though, I don't want to upset anyone.

I went through all discographies of John, David, and Guy, with the exception of a couple of songs ("High Stakes" from John's album "Glass" and "Different World" from Guy's album "Inamorata"), can't remember any of them. Probably because MK set a bar so high you inevitably try to compare their songs and guess who wins...

Offlinedmg

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Re: A hypothetical: If DS continued, and was a democracy...
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2022, 10:42:17 pm »
To be honest with you, I dismissed nearly all the work of ex-DS band members, it just doesn't cut it for me. I don't want to return to these songs, I don't want to print out their lyrics and put them on the wall if you know what I mean. It's good music, probably, and has its following though, I don't want to upset anyone.

I went through all discographies of John, David, and Guy, with the exception of a couple of songs ("High Stakes" from John's album "Glass" and "Different World" from Guy's album "Inamorata"), can't remember any of them. Probably because MK set a bar so high you inevitably try to compare their songs and guess who wins...

I'm in the same boat.  I can't say I've listened to many songs from ex-band members if I'm being honest.  A few here and there, but nothing really made an impression.  There was clearly a reason Mark did just about everything on the old albums.
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OfflinePottel

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Re: A hypothetical: If DS continued, and was a democracy...
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2022, 08:54:28 am »
same for me. little or no interest in them.
any Knopfler, Floyd or Dylan will do....

OfflineKnopfleRick

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Re: A hypothetical: If DS continued, and was a democracy...
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2022, 09:35:54 am »
Sorry, no interest at all. Mark is the master - now and then!
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Offlinehunter

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Re: A hypothetical: If DS continued, and was a democracy...
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2022, 09:41:47 am »
I've listened to almost all they have produced, but none of these guys has "it", the "X factor". There are just too many great, interesting artists to listen to for me to bother.

Offlinequizzaciously

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Re: A hypothetical: If DS continued, and was a democracy...
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2022, 12:37:00 pm »
Doesn't look too optimistic to me lol. I think DS was destined to split up at some point. Two egomaniac brothers, both singers-songwriters, what could go wrong?

I think Pick's leaving put the last nail in the DS coffin and since then it was a "smooth" transition to Mark Knopfler's solo career and changing musicians for 10 years.

So I think it's impossible to imagine DS in a democratic state (here goes a joke about Russia), and therefore impossible to imagine songs of other writers on the DS album.

I said a lot of times, but I often imagine On Every Street or even Brothers In Arms being Mark's first solo album. Now that would be something, isn't it? What "group" it was anyway? Mark and John? :lol

OfflineKnut

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Re: A hypothetical: If DS continued, and was a democracy...
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2022, 12:14:33 am »
To be fair, MK himself struggle to live up to the standards from the 70's and 80's. I don't know too much about the works from the other guys, but I remember I used to put Bernadette from Boston '79 on much more often than most MK tracks. So, my bet is that DK would be able to write something that would be considered good enough. What's the matter, baby is also just as good as most other DS tracks. I can't see any monster hits from the other guys, but tracks that are "good enough" to deserve a spot on a DS record with the right arrangements? Sure, no doubt in my mind about that. It's not like "the master" is untouchable. He's human, not a God.

Offlinequizzaciously

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Re: A hypothetical: If DS continued, and was a democracy...
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2022, 01:06:19 am »
To be fair, MK himself struggle to live up to the standards from the 70's and 80's. I don't know too much about the works from the other guys, but I remember I used to put Bernadette from Boston '79 on much more often than most MK tracks. So, my bet is that DK would be able to write something that would be considered good enough. What's the matter, baby is also just as good as most other DS tracks. I can't see any monster hits from the other guys, but tracks that are "good enough" to deserve a spot on a DS record with the right arrangements? Sure, no doubt in my mind about that. It's not like "the master" is untouchable. He's human, not a God.

We really need to ask Mark about that, and that would be one of the questions I would personally ask him. He never ever talked about this whole democracy thing. But I think it's pretty clear that he's not a democratic leader even today... He hired the best musicians in the world that can come up with brilliant arrangements on the fly and sometimes even compose parts of songs for him, but all the credit always goes to "the master" because without the master it won't happen at all. It's like a movie director... How many people work on a movie? Can't even count, but it's a Quentin Tarantino movie. Or Andrei Tarkovsky's movie.

I think it's a personal thing and there are writers who allow only their music even on their band's record, prime example I always give is Fleet Foxes (because it's a modern single songwriter band). I think only with a single writer you can achieve this unmistakable consistency and sense of style, whereas in bands with multiple writers music usually go all over the place. Again, like in a movie with multiple directors.

And inevitably, having multiple writers, you are going to lose a bit of personality and focus. From John Illsley's book, it's also clear the band started with Mark's songs in mind. Everybody agreed on these terms, and who didn't agree, well we know how it all worked out... David said that he composed songs with his brother, however, I doubt that MK was selfish enough to straight-up steal writing credits from David. So I think he composed all the songs on his own with maybe a little help from DK (like the help from his current band members).

Heck, what about even Mark's recording studio? How many people worked on it? It wasn't Mark himself who built it, made plans, bought equipment, and whatever, but it always will be known as Mark Knopfler's recording studio because he owns the thing. If you recognize MK as the leader and trust him, you'll give up your musical ambitions, or any ambitions at all, and just work with him. MK may not be a God, but man what an amazing leader he is. And it's not even about being a yes man, but more about respect.

So I think the question is not even about the quality of songs. It's more about who owned the band... Take MK away and Dire Straits would certainly be one of the forgotten bands if existing at all. I think it won't even exist. Everything depended on this one guy, so I think it's fair that he would demand some respect in return. And respect also means that "good enough" is not a valid reason to put your songs on a record just to fill it.

And that MK struggles to live up to the standards from the 70's and 80's, I wholeheartedly disagree. Nobody could repeat their success from the most fruitful years, especially songwriters. You can barely find a songwriter who lived up to his younger standards. You can argue that Mark's recent songs are good, which they are, but they are not "Money For Nothing". Sure, but they weren't written by 35-year-old MK, we now only have the older MK, and 35-year-old MK will never happen again, it was a different man.

OfflineKnut

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Re: A hypothetical: If DS continued, and was a democracy...
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2022, 02:13:05 am »
To be fair, MK himself struggle to live up to the standards from the 70's and 80's. I don't know too much about the works from the other guys, but I remember I used to put Bernadette from Boston '79 on much more often than most MK tracks. So, my bet is that DK would be able to write something that would be considered good enough. What's the matter, baby is also just as good as most other DS tracks. I can't see any monster hits from the other guys, but tracks that are "good enough" to deserve a spot on a DS record with the right arrangements? Sure, no doubt in my mind about that. It's not like "the master" is untouchable. He's human, not a God.

We really need to ask Mark about that, and that would be one of the questions I would personally ask him. He never ever talked about this whole democracy thing. But I think it's pretty clear that he's not a democratic leader even today... He hired the best musicians in the world that can come up with brilliant arrangements on the fly and sometimes even compose parts of songs for him, but all the credit always goes to "the master" because without the master it won't happen at all. It's like a movie director... How many people work on a movie? Can't even count, but it's a Quentin Tarantino movie. Or Andrei Tarkovsky's movie.

I think it's a personal thing and there are writers who allow only their music even on their band's record, prime example I always give is Fleet Foxes (because it's a modern single songwriter band). I think only with a single writer you can achieve this unmistakable consistency and sense of style, whereas in bands with multiple writers music usually go all over the place. Again, like in a movie with multiple directors.

And inevitably, having multiple writers, you are going to lose a bit of personality and focus. From John Illsley's book, it's also clear the band started with Mark's songs in mind. Everybody agreed on these terms, and who didn't agree, well we know how it all worked out... David said that he composed songs with his brother, however, I doubt that MK was selfish enough to straight-up steal writing credits from David. So I think he composed all the songs on his own with maybe a little help from DK (like the help from his current band members).

Heck, what about even Mark's recording studio? How many people worked on it? It wasn't Mark himself who built it, made plans, bought equipment, and whatever, but it always will be known as Mark Knopfler's recording studio because he owns the thing. If you recognize MK as the leader and trust him, you'll give up your musical ambitions, or any ambitions at all, and just work with him. MK may not be a God, but man what an amazing leader he is. And it's not even about being a yes man, but more about respect.

So I think the question is not even about the quality of songs. It's more about who owned the band... Take MK away and Dire Straits would certainly be one of the forgotten bands if existing at all. I think it won't even exist. Everything depended on this one guy, so I think it's fair that he would demand some respect in return. And respect also means that "good enough" is not a valid reason to put your songs on a record just to fill it.

And that MK struggles to live up to the standards from the 70's and 80's, I wholeheartedly disagree. Nobody could repeat their success from the most fruitful years, especially songwriters. You can barely find a songwriter who lived up to his younger standards. You can argue that Mark's recent songs are good, which they are, but they are not "Money For Nothing". Sure, but they weren't written by 35-year-old MK, we now only have the older MK, and 35-year-old MK will never happen again, it was a different man.

My point is that songs performed by DS, written by David K, are just as good songs as most non-hits by MK. Sure, we can always discuss our opinions on the matter of Song A vs Song B, but having a bunch of diehard fans doing their best to place the "non-Masters" below "the Master" is... well... predictable and should be taken with more than a grain of salt.

I don't mind the idea that you hire some musicians for a tour/a record, that's an honest thing. But if you're in a band, you're in a band. Dire Straits was Dire Straits, not Mark Knopfler and Friends. Sure, some people are more important than others, but if Springsteen could find a way to keep the band going after Clarence Clemons died, I'm sure it would be possible to make DS without MK's guitar sound a good experience, also. It's easy to be pessimistic about that idea, but the fact is that nobody is irreplaceable at the end of the day. It's also about how the musicians work together - you can't just sum up the individual components of a team to get the total.We don't know how DS would be without Pick, David or John in the early days. Especially John or Pick. Sultans might not be a hit with a different lineup. It's more than just the twiddly bits at the end that makes it what it is. R&J is perhaps an even better example of good teamwork. If it was put on later records, I'm not sure we'd like the outcome, simply because the lineup changed (LOG is the exception, of course). After 1981, it was never the same again.

Respect is a nice word. This whole "Mark is God, the others are peasants and should be lucky they ever met him" thing is the exact opposite. For whatever reason, it's a DS community thing to try to drag other band members down in an attempt to increase the distance between the 'GeNiUs' who sings and plays guitar. I wish people would respect and honor the band members for their contribution to the music we like to listen to, rather than pretend they don't have proper skills and were just passengers on the DS tour bus. Also, there's alot more to playing an instrument than just technical skills. I suspect Mark himself is a good example of just that. It's not like people are less skilled just because Mark decided not to use them anymore. That's not how it works.

OfflineRobson

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Re: A hypothetical: If DS continued, and was a democracy...
« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2022, 03:16:56 am »
I'm sure it would be possible to make DS without MK's guitar sound a good experience, also"

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Offlinejbaent

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Re: A hypothetical: If DS continued, and was a democracy...
« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2022, 08:19:53 am »
I always thought that if DS would had been a democracy, some David's and John's songs could had been on DS records, and some of them could had been hits as well, why? because having MK on command, some of those songs would had developed in a way that would had made them even better.

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Offlinequizzaciously

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Re: A hypothetical: If DS continued, and was a democracy...
« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2022, 12:08:14 pm »
My point is that songs performed by DS, written by David K, are just as good songs as most non-hits by MK. Sure, we can always discuss our opinions on the matter of Song A vs Song B, but having a bunch of diehard fans doing their best to place the "non-Masters" below "the Master" is... well... predictable and should be taken with more than a grain of salt.

I don't mind the idea that you hire some musicians for a tour/a record, that's an honest thing. But if you're in a band, you're in a band. Dire Straits was Dire Straits, not Mark Knopfler and Friends. Sure, some people are more important than others, but if Springsteen could find a way to keep the band going after Clarence Clemons died, I'm sure it would be possible to make DS without MK's guitar sound a good experience, also. It's easy to be pessimistic about that idea, but the fact is that nobody is irreplaceable at the end of the day. It's also about how the musicians work together - you can't just sum up the individual components of a team to get the total.We don't know how DS would be without Pick, David or John in the early days. Especially John or Pick. Sultans might not be a hit with a different lineup. It's more than just the twiddly bits at the end that makes it what it is. R&J is perhaps an even better example of good teamwork. If it was put on later records, I'm not sure we'd like the outcome, simply because the lineup changed (LOG is the exception, of course). After 1981, it was never the same again.

Respect is a nice word. This whole "Mark is God, the others are peasants and should be lucky they ever met him" thing is the exact opposite. For whatever reason, it's a DS community thing to try to drag other band members down in an attempt to increase the distance between the 'GeNiUs' who sings and plays guitar. I wish people would respect and honor the band members for their contribution to the music we like to listen to, rather than pretend they don't have proper skills and were just passengers on the DS tour bus. Also, there's alot more to playing an instrument than just technical skills. I suspect Mark himself is a good example of just that. It's not like people are less skilled just because Mark decided not to use them anymore. That's not how it works.

I think sometimes the group is a group, and sometimes a group is just an excuse for the leader to be less of a God and a GeNiUs... I still remember, again talking about Fleet Foxes here, when their leader stood on Times Square in New York around a giant billboard with a giant photo of him (and him only) and "New album from Fleet Foxes" written on it, as if it's just his pseudonym or something. I immediately thought that the same would've easily happened with MK back in the day. "The new album from Dire Straits" and Mark's photo on the giant billboard in New York. He could've easily been a solo artist from day 1, and probably be even less famous than now, as, say, Chris Rea who never had a band. The name is always going to be less famous than a brand (or band). Everybody knows McDonald's but a few know Ray Kroc. Everybody knows Dire Straits, but sang and played guitar in that band Marc who? This guy with a headband and a hard-to-pronounce sounds-like-german surname?

There are facts that are pretty clear to me: Dire Straits is a brand and Dire Straits as a band is either long gone or never even existed in the first place. Mark kept John in the band because he was and still is one of his BFFs, but more importantly, his bass playing suited Mark's music till the very end of the band. Once Mark needed a band with a more versatile bass player, guess what... He started changing even the bass players. Dire Straits were on a contract so Mark needed to continue under the Dire Straits moniker anyway. David left the band because he struggled with music becoming harder to play and because it wasn't democracy as he expected. Then Pick left... So it's difficult for me to call Dire Straits a band, it's just a brand.

I refuse to blindly call MK a genius and a God and get on with it, I love facts. Mark worked really hard on his craft and is capable of a genuinely genius level of songwriting and guitar playing. So what's the problem with calling things what they really are? His songs were clearly superior to other writer's songs in DS, not even talking about his songs being enough material for the band to keep going so they weren't in need of more songs like The Doors were. And now he gets away with everything because, as he says about himself, "I'm the guy who wrote the song" and "the singer is always right".

And if you think about Dire Straits or Mark Knopfler as a brand, I think it's fair that people around MK are given so few credits. Because after playing in Dire Straits, or playing with Mark Knopfler, or working for him, I think a lot of doors are going to open for you, and it's your decision to go in these doors or stay where you are. If you get to work with people like that, it's enough credit and honor on its own and nobody will ever take that from you. That's a power of a brand. Pick Withers, after playing in Dire Straits and with Bob Dylan could've ended up being a very famous drummer, but wanted to stay away from the spotlight and everybody respects this decision, same logic applies to every other musician who ever worked with MK.

Offlinepeterromer

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Re: A hypothetical: If DS continued, and was a democracy...
« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2022, 12:16:35 pm »
I always thought that if DS would had been a democracy, some David's and John's songs could had been on DS records, and some of them could had been hits as well, why? because having MK on command, some of those songs would had developed in a way that would had made them even better.

Cannot agree more.
 
Some of Johns songs are pretty OK, and as jbaent says, imagine if some were being overhauled by MK. Hmmm   :D   





And a little further fetched John with Greg Pearle


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Offline2manyguitars

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Re: A hypothetical: If DS continued, and was a democracy...
« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2022, 10:02:02 pm »
This is a really good question.  I see it like this. If you take it from post BIA I think you would have seen much more formulaic music, less experimental, OES would have been a much different album had it had songwriting influences from John, Guy, and Alan. We also may have seen more music after this perhaps even without mark, but retreading old ground. Alan certainly loved the success...

The real question is, if DS had been a democracy would they ever have been successful in the first place? I know DK is on record as saying that he saw the straits much more as a cult band with a much smaller following. I think they got to the top because of the drive of MK, damage management, and the few individuals that could keep up....


 

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