The legend lives on! Dire Straits may have called it quits in 1995, but the music and the legacy is still very much alive. Under the label The Dire Straits Experience, Saxophonist Chris White is joined by Chris Whitten on drums, and the two historical musicians couldn’t give up the dream they were living and were joined by some of the best in the business to keep playing.
The Dire Straits Experience thrive on playing the classics live, to audiences around the world who simply reminisce through the golden decades of their lives and sing along to the hits they grew up with. The band enjoy travelling the world and White is very pleased with some of their recent shows.
“We were in Israel for a week which had five sold out shows” the saxophonist says excitedly. Of course, White is ready to ride the wave with the next leg of the world tour dropping down under. “We’re off to Australia and New Zealand and then we get into Europe and a few other places up until Christmas” so they certainly know how to keep busy.
White is keen to get back to Australia, as this will be the second time The Dire Straits Experience are touring here. For anyone who is confused about the musical entity, the musician describes how it all came to fruition. “The band got together for a charity show at Albert Hall (in London)” and it was just meant to be for the one-off show.
“Fortunately it went so well, that we were then asked if we care to do some more things and through a few permeations like The Straits and a few other things, we finally got to where we are now as The Dire Straits Experience” – busy but good is how the jazz/rock sensation describes it.
Through the evolution of the Dire Straits legacy, the fans have really embraced the efforts to keep the flame alive. “Of course we wouldn’t be doing it if people didn’t want to come see it. It’s actually very humbling that people still want to come hear this stuff.”
It never gets old for White and Whitten who get to meet fans around the world. “I am meeting people who I met for the first time in 1985 and they’re still as enthusiastic and excited about it as I am, and with this band actually.
“We don’t try to slavishly recreate one night from the ‘On Every Street’ tour or the ‘Brothers in Arms’ tour, we play these songs as musicians playing stuff. It’s about representing music that has an ebb and flow to it as the creator wanted it to be, otherwise it wouldn’t be worth it.”
With their efforts to keep the music flowing over twenty years after the band officially through in the towel, it’s worth arguing KISS’ Gene Simmons’ comment that rock and roll is dead. “I don’t think it is. I think music’s been through all kinds of changes but I tell you what, there’s some stunning new music going on over here, and it’s rock and roll, it’s alive and kicking as far as I’m concerned.”
Of course, since 1995, Dire Straits front man Mark Knopfler has basked in a highly successful solo career, but not involved in The Dire Strait Experience. White isn’t sure if Knopfler would get involved nowadays, but he certainly doesn’t think it’s a straight ‘no’. “I know that he hasn’t wanted to revisit the Dire Straits stuff again in the past because he’s done it [to death], which I can totally understand, he’s had more albums released under his own name than as he did with Dire Straits.”
White played with Knopfler for a handful of charity shows back in 2002. “It was great, really nice to do those, shows, there were various other guests there as well.” He hasn’t caught up with Mark in quite some time, but not for any bad reason. “Life gets in the way, it’s what happens isn’t it, you find it I’m in [say] Australia and he’s in New York or somewhere.”
In terms of what fans can expect from the upcoming tour from The Dire Straits Experience, the saxophone extraordinaire lays it all out on the table. “Well, they can expect to hear all the things they’d want to hear I think” – he says with pride and humility. “We’re covering quite a range of stuff, things like ‘Telegraph Road’ and ‘Sultans of Swing’, but also earlier material like ‘Down to the Waterline’ , ‘Espresso Love’ and more – so quite a while a cross-section of the catalogue really.”
Ricky Aarons (rickysaul90)