Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Alan Brings Back the Straits; Life Is Anything but Dire for the Straits, as Keyboards Player Alan Clark Tells Entertainment Editor GORDON BARR

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Alan Brings Back the Straits; Life Is Anything but Dire for the Straits, as Keyboards Player Alan Clark Tells Entertainment Editor GORDON BARR

Article excerpt

IN the mid-80s Dire Straits were the biggest rock band in the world.

Brothers In Arms still rates as one of the biggest selling albums ever and sounds as fresh today as when first released.

When Dire Straits disbanded in the early 90s, fans could only dream of a reunion.

Part of that dream has become a reality courtesy of The Straits - albeit without the voice of a certain Mark Knopfler.

They are at Newcastle City Hall on October 5, a show that marks something of a homecoming for County Durham keyboards player Alan Clark.

I chat to Alan, 59, as he prepares for rehearsals for the tour and ask him the obvious question: what does Mark think of the new incarnation? "I haven't spoken to Mark and I haven't heard from him," he admits.

"But I suppose he has probably looked on the internet and had a look at our Royal Albert Hall gig. He can't help but be impressed I think."

That Royal Albert Hall gig earlier this year was the reason for the birth of The Straits.

"We got invited to do a charity show at the Royal Albert Hall and I put this band together specifically for that, a one-off venture," says Alan tells me.

"It was such good fun, turned out so well and went down so well we have kept it going.

"It was in the back of our minds when we got together if this comes off it would be a good venture to continue."

So who has taken over the mantle of Mark Knopfler and is joining original Dire Straits members Clark, Phil Palmer and Chris White? His name is Terence Reis, a South African singer/guitarist/actor. Alan explains: "I found Terence on the internet.

When I decided we needed someone to do this, to replace Mark Knopfler essentially, I had a look to see what was out there with Dire Straits cover bands and didn't find anybody.

"My partner Sheila continued to look after I had given up and found him on some YouTube thing.

"She was in the other room and I heard him singing Sultans of Swing, just doing it, not with a cover band, and I thought this guy is really good.

The guitar playing was too and it was him. He's turned out to be an absolutely remarkable find.

"Mark is extremely big shoes to fill but Terence is an extremely talented person to be able to do it. …

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