When you’ve been a member of one of the biggest bands in the world it might be thought reasonable to retire to the country, dip in the pool, smash a few holes in one and admire the fleet of classic cars you have doubtless acquired.
But John Illsley is no such slouch. Though he’s an accomplished artist, he’s first and foremost a musician, it runs through and through, so it’s no surprise to find him out and about with a brand new band.
True, John was in one of the biggest bands ever to enjoy stratospheric success. As a founder member of Dire Straits he had a remarkable musical journey - along with Mark Knopfler he was there for the whole ride.
To say Dire Straits were successful is a bit like saying zebras are rather stripey. They sold over 120 million albums, picked up a few Grammys on the way, a clutch of Brit Awards, a couple of MTV music video accolades and an Ivor Novello award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music. Their 1985 album Brothers In Arms was the first to sell over a million copies in CD format and the band spent over a thousand weeks on the UK album charts.
In short, Dire Straits’ reach was massive and their sound instantly recognisable due, in no small part, to John’s distinctive bass riffs and general musical input.
When the band finally disbanded in 1995 solo careers were on the cards - John took time out then went back into the studio.