David Knopfler a Saint or a Fool

hhIts seven years since Mark Knopfler contacted me, why, I thought he was thinking of reforming Dire Straits and needed my help to write the kind of lyrics that had propelled them to stardom.

Instead there has been a uncanny silence from the one time Dire Straits front man, who must have  had second thoughts about bringing me back into the scene.

Firstly it would have cost him the five million he used of Straitjackets money, my money, that he used to build British Grove studios, and that would have meant he would need to downsize his lifestyle.

The private plane and the house in the Bahamas must have seemed to him more important than honesty, and the taking of a chance of my writing another Money for Nothing, with his music of course, that I feel I’m more than willing and able to do, shows his lack of initiative, and bad management.

However it seems that the greed brought through money, other peoples money, has changed who I thought was a nice guy, into the kind of Silas character portrayed in so many of Charles Dickens novels, in fact the song Money money money, seems appropriate to the person he has become, and Fiddler on the Roof must be his favorite play, and I bet he knows all the words of If [Now that I’m a rich man] I was a rich man.

Which brings me to the sad case of David Knopfler the younger brother of Mark, who shared the small flat in Deptford with John Illsley, and was a very close friend of his, who I’m sure he thought he could trust.

David was a Social Worker and Illsley a student and both of them amateur guitarists, with no band experience just a couple of mates who liked to jam.

With the arrival of Mark in London this all changed and David became the little Knopfler brother again, and according to Edd Bicknel and those who got close to the trio living in Deptford, it was “Do as I tell you David, stop thinking for yourself, I will do that for you,” to which David would reply timidly,”Yes Mark,”.

Considering this bullying of a younger brother came from someone who used his siblings position to get his feet into London, and a roof over his head, beggars belief, but it seemed to draw Illsley away from the younger Knopfler, into a very close  friendship with the older Mark.

This was proved to me when I tried to contact Mark Knopfler on the Web, and found that he was using the Brewers Droop Web page. So I decided to contact David who seemed more accessible to get in touch with, and being Marks brother he would have been told about my part in the writing of the lyrics for the Dire Straits album.

Not so, after the initial shock of finding that David Knopfler did not respond to my emails, it became obvious that the guy had been left out again, and thought which is a big thought, that Mark had written the lyrics for the Dire Straits album. Now this is naive or the laddie is just pure stupid, his brother presents a bundle of lyrics that is way outwith his capabilities, and David who has probably seen what he has written previously doesn’t query this revelation.

Nor does he know that the emails I was sending him reached Mark Knopfler who confirmed it was myself who was in touch with David, so who are your friends David. Who did you tell about the emails I sent you, I’ll bet it was John Illsley and did he explain who I was, no he told Mark and Mark got in touch with me, and your still none the wiser. Are you a Saint or a Fool……

19 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jacob Hansen, Kanebogen, Norway. on September 12, 2014 at 10:57 am

    David Knopfler…

    …has to be recorded as MUCH more of a saint than of a fool. It was in fact the friendship and the connection between David and John (Illsley) that also brought Mark and John together. In many ways you can say that Mark practically “stole” John from David. Mark has indeed a whole lot to thank David for. That’s for sure.


    • Exactly Davids contribution to being a founder of Dire Straits through association and circumstance is well founded, his musical talent and presentation was also essential to the success of the band.


  2. Posted by Keith Terry on February 8, 2015 at 12:46 am

    I think when David was with Dire Straits that the group had soul to it. And also had the best guitar parts interwoven that never reached the same degree. Having heard some of David’s music, and a few interviews, I wish I could talk to David. I myself play a little guitar, but am more of a drummer, I would just like an hour to talk to him. Not about his brother, but I think David is probably the most least respected for his talent that he deserves more than any person on the planet. I think he is a genius. Keith Terry


    • David Knopfler’s part in Dire Straits as a guitarist was a essential link to the band becoming a success, without David Mark Knopfler didn’t have a group, in fact David’s part was so vital that those who took his place practically had to imitate his style and believe it or not, look like him. So David was a ingredient to the mood and the soul, giving his brother the confidence and freedom to explore those chords and licks he has become famous for. A bit like guitar George, without the pun, he knows all the chords, if there had been no David Knopfler and and no David Pick Withers, there would have been no Dire Straits album.


  3. Posted by Vivek on March 12, 2016 at 2:52 am

    Sad. Their first two albums were kept simple and arguably their best. Wish they were together again.


  4. Posted by Aaron vogelmann on March 19, 2017 at 11:18 am

    neither. which makes perfect sense if you know what I am getting to.


    • I based it on a email I received from David Knopfler, he’s actually just a mixed up dude having been thrown into a industry full of rogues and totally relying on his older brother for protection. When in fact he was being deceived from the time a band called Dire Straits was suggested as the title of a group, the rest is for him to try and sort out, and contacting his brother would be a good start.


  5. Posted by Wayne healy on March 22, 2017 at 12:49 am

    Great group/music should reform soon. Knock spots off current crap!


  6. Posted by Nancy carman on April 28, 2017 at 7:50 pm

    We could start an international campaign to get Mark and David together again. Sort of like screaming for an encore after their last song. They need our help with this since clearly they are not going to break the ice on their own. I’m on board!!!


    • That might do it Nancy,its a situation that should get sorted considering they are both in their sixties, and surely there are very few problems that arise in someones life to go to this extent, and life is so short?.


  7. Posted by vince on March 14, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    In reference to 8 FEB 2015 you are correct some of the other rhythm players had blond hair and blue eyes,, (maybe the German thing) but who’s idea was that? The promotor?
    “Once upon a time in the West”? did you write that? from the Gary Cooper movie I assume. I liked Communique did you write all the material? The last song still has haunting images to it, “Follow me home”, was that about some sacrificial feast or voodoo stuff? Hard for anyone today to write like that today and marry it with guitars and a little bit of drumming,,,really good stuff…Single handed sailor,, great riff work, but once again “what was that song about”? A man lost in love on the ocean?


    • This is when Mark took over the lyric writing. Lyrics and Music and Songs by Mark Knopfler. Maybe the Single Handed Sailor was something to do with Illsley he has a boat, depends on what he was doing with his other hand.


  8. Posted by vince on March 15, 2018 at 3:41 pm

    Hilarious!! Thank you!, All the years of drama and trying to figure out the “meaning” of this song and then BAMM,, all I have to say is

    “You took the wind out of my sails”.


  9. Posted by Matt on July 13, 2019 at 3:41 pm

    Absolutely right, there would be no Dire Straits without David, those lovely guitar parts that seemed to match Mark’s licks like no other..


    • Totally agree Matt, David was a key element in Dire Straits, he brought out the strengths in Marks guitaring something they shared when they were practicing together at home as brothers, nobody else could have given him the confidence or the backing as David did?.


  10. Posted by Brent on May 12, 2020 at 4:03 am

    It’s too bad. My brothers mean everything to me.


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