| Most of the Dire Straits fans had their first contact
with the group thanks to the magic of his great live record "Alchemy",
and reading the credits the question was usually: Who is Joop de Korte? He
was credited in the record, but in the video you can´t see him anywhere
on stage. Who was he and why was he in the credits?
Joop de Korte was much more than the percussion on Dire Straits, and that was the very reason we cant see him on stage, you will discover the reason why in this interview. He also introduced the band every night to the stage with his "Good evening ladies and gentleman, please welcome to the stage, Dire Straits!", not only in the "Alchemy" show but since every show from the late 70's and was with the band until the very end as a band.
What does Joop de Korte nowadays?
Occasionally I still facilitate those things. When U2 did a whole weeks worth of shows for David Letterman's late Show for instance on Broadway, I ran the stage for that. When the
needs are complicated , people usually remember my name and try to get me involved
Most of the time however I
work for NBC news, on national and international newsgathering assignments
in the field. You can read
How started youre relationship with Dire Straits?
I happened to be present
at the first ever Dire Straits gig in Deptford, which is a suburb of
London , well to the southeast of the city itself. They were part of a
line up of local bands playing outside some housing estate there. I was
there with the headlining band "Squeeze". I didn't pay much
attention to D.S. and couldn't tell you if they were good or not that
first time out. In the next couple of years they became a very successful
band, while I toured with Squeeze, Eddie and the Hot Rods, and Van Halen,
to name a few, as a band instrument technician.
How you changed your role from just drum
technician to percussionist?
Not long after that ,
somewhere in Europe, I was playing Picks drums one day during the
afternoon to get the sounds and tuning in Sync with
I was already behind the amp wall to keep an eye on Pick during the show, so thats where I set this rig up for myself. It wasn't really hidden and it wasn't really in view.
How was your relationship with the band after that first show?
For the Making Movies
tour , the band wanted me to be in charge of the whole technical side of
the tour, as production manager / stagemanager /drumtech / and
percussionist as well. Way too many hats to wear for one person and not
something I would ever want to do again.!! It was the moment in DS career
where the band had to either prove that they belonged amomg the ranks of
legendary acts with great longevity, or start to fade away like so many
hundreds of bands have done, before and since.
The Making Movies was almost your last tour
with the band, what happened after that tour?
The next venture for DS
was the Love over Gold tour which started at the end of 82. It was a
relatively short tour, as we skipped the USA entirely on that one. The
band just wasn't quite big enough to really play the types of venues MK
wanted to play at that time, and so we concentrated on other territories
where audiences were more readily available and ready to buy the tix to
see the band play. At first, I wasn't even
going to do that tour. I had been out on the road that year
constantly with Jackson Browne, Paul Brady, Neil Young, Roger Chapman and
the Shortlist and jazz drummer legend Louie Bellson and his orchestra.
And after that, the biggest Dire
Straits tour, the Brothers
in Arms, with some very special moments…
After Love over Gold, I
moved to Biarritz in Basque country on the Spanish border , where I stayed
for the next 9 years, (between touring jobs of course.)
The Brothers in Arms tour exceeded all expectations in terms of record sales, radio play, tour ticket sales and critical reviews, and so it was just a joy to be on the road with that outfit that year. When we played Live Aid with Sting on vocal for Money for Nothing and in the 20 minutes we were on stage, far away in the south of france my son Nils was born. ( the one day that I told his mom she could NOT have this baby...... ) Coincidentally Nils Lofgren from the Estreet band was the first guy to walk into the production office when I found out by phone that my son had been born.
That was the last Dire Straits tour with you as the percussionist, What happened?
In 1988 I played with the
band for the last time. I was on the road that year with Whitney Houston
but took some time off from her tour to fly to London to play 2 warm
up shows in the Hammersmith Odeon and headline Wembley stadium for Nelson
Mandela's birthday. We didn't have a rhytm guitarist at that time and so
Eric Clapton filled that role for those 3 shows.
Of course it was a great
band. Paul Franklin in particular added a whole new dimension to the
outfit and everyones
Despite all that though,
the tour never quite lived up to its expectations. MK seemed bored before
we even left rehearsals. The
How is your day routine nowadays?
Now it's mainly national
and International news that keeps me busy. This year so far I have been to
Haiti for extended visits 3 times, as well as Iceland and Louisiana to
cover the oilspill events.
You got in touch with some of that
people you met in that touring years recently…
With the advent of my
joining Facebook last year, I have reconnnected with a lot of my old
touring buddies from previous
That would really be fun if it ever came about.
Thanks Mr De Korte, it´s been a pleasure to learn all about your touring experience and your part in Dire Straits History.
Interview by Jbaent.
Pictures from Dire Straits tourbooks, Live Aid DVD captures and Joop de Korte´s facebook, reproduced with his kind permission.