Preview: John Illsley

Former Dire Straits man John Illsley plays Diss tonight
Former Dire Straits man John Illsley plays Diss tonight

by Adam Aiken

An Evening With John Illsley will see the former Dire Straits man playing some of the classics and answering questions in a couple of regional shows over the next few days.

The bassist will be performing songs from VIII, his upcoming album, as well as a number of Straits hits, and he’ll also be sharing memories from his long career at the top of the music industry.

He’ll be at The Corn Hall, Diss, tonight (Friday, April 29) before visiting The Apex, Bury St Edmunds, next Monday (May 2).

John Illsley will be in Diss tonight
John Illsley will be in Diss tonight

Alongside Mark Knopfler, Illsley was the only member of Dire Straits to stay with the band from the start until it was disbanded in 1995, and as a result he played on some of the most memorable rock songs of all time.

More recently, he published a book, My Life In Dire Straits, and his latest album also has something of an autobiographical feel to it.

“I think all of us were affected by the odd world we found ourselves in during lockdown,” he said.

“Songs such as None Of This Was Planned were written and recorded at this time.

“The new album is a reflection of these times, but also looking back to elements of my musical past and family. Long Way Back is a nod to my time with Dire Straits, and Market Town my early family life in Leicestershire.

“I also like to throw some political or social thoughts into the mix. Oh yes, there’s a love song on there, too, so all part of the balance of one’s life!”

VIII includes a cover of Beatles track I’m Only Sleeping, which Illsley performed at the virtual Dear John concert a couple of years ago to mark what would have been John Lennon’s 80th birthday.

Click here for tickets to the Diss show, and here for the Bury show.

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