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?

I work in TV now almost exclusively. Started doing that in 1995 in New York for shows that are based there to help them with their visiting music acts. Given my experience in that field, it was a logical fit.
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
a few articles on my facebook profile under the heading "notes" about some of that It involves a lot of travel, which is of course not new to me, as I
have traveled the world with bands for over 20 years before even
thinking about TV..

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.

In the summer of 79, I was hired by the Ian Gomm band to be their overall band tech/ stagemanager and tour the USA, mainly as the opening act for Dire Straits' Communique tour, who at that point were trying to play bigger venues than what they had previously done in the US.
I traveled on a tour bus with the main crew most of the time and so spent a lot more time at the venues than I would have done, had I
traveled with the Ian Gomm band itself. Partly out of boredom , and partly to speed things up to create more soundcheck time for Ian Gomm, I started to help out with the setting up of D.S. bandgear. It wasn't long before drummer Pick Withers noticed that his drums were maintained, tuned and set up much better than he was used to, and when he found out that I was behind that, he pleaded with the managers to hire me for the remainder of their world

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
the venues needs, working closely with FOH. soundman Peter Granger and monitor engineer Geoff Brewis.
At this point the band walked into the venue. Mark Knopfler didn't know I could play, and told me so, adding the question: Could I play
percussion as well ?   I said : Yes, why ?    And so, MK told me that there were percussion parts on the albums that had been done as
overdubs in the studio by Pick and various other people, and that he really missed them during the live shows. He asked me to get some
instruments and microphones set up for myself, so I could play these missing parts for the live shows.

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.
Of course the act passed their test with flying colours and established themselves as a force to be reckoned with for years to come. I was pretty much dead by the end of that tour though. It was
exhausting !

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.
As soon as MK got to rehearsal of course, he was looking for me to discuss the percussion parts on the new album and when he was told that I hadn't been invited to do the tour, he made it quite clear that this would not be acceptable apparently, and so they tracked me down in a hotel in Dublin on tour with someone else.
Given that the invitation to do the tour came from MK himself, I was happy to do it, and came to an arrangement with the managers. I couldn't join them right away, as they would have liked, but joined them a couple of weeks later in production rehearsals and just in time to hit the road with them again. The tour was very succesful in the places it went and as far as songwriting goes, probably among the most inspired and band involved work MK has done.


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.)
84 was relatively quiet for me. I toured with Paul Brady I think, and a couple of night club acts.
When Brothers in Arms was ready to be rehearsed for the stage I was ready and looking forward to it. The arrangements were the same as far as my job went. I continued to play and work with them and introduced them to the stage for the audience every night as I had done up til then

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.

Years went by before the next Dire Straits tour, and I toured with other bands as well as playing in cover  bands in the beach bars of the south of France.  When the next DS project finally announced itself, it became clear that this would be a very different DS tour from what we had previously done. The band was under the impression that despite a 6 year hiatus in studio albums and 5 years in touring, they would just take the world by storm and be the worlds biggest touring band for the next 2 years.Just like that...
For that purpose they wanted to hire all big name studio and touring musicians, create a big stage set, and massive production and rake in tons of cash in record sales worldwide. Within that framework they hired Danny Cummings to play percussion and extend the percussion role in the band from playing the essential "icing on the cake" type playing I had done to a much busier but less precise type of playing. 

Of course it was a great band. Paul Franklin in particular added a whole new dimension to the outfit and everyones
more extensive experience made it possible for them to display a virtuosity they had not been able to achieve as brilliantly up to that point.

Despite all that though, the tour never quite lived up to its expectations. MK seemed bored before we even left rehearsals. The
album and ticket sales never quite made it to the kind of monstrous levels that had been hoped for and indeed expected by some, and the
whole venture seemed largely professional yet uninspired.
Of course, with Danny on board I never got to play with the band again. I did design and maintain the percussion rig and took care of
Danny and John Illsley on stage. I was bored though as I was not playing and frankly happy to see the end of the tour arrive in october of 92 in Zaragoza , Spain.
After the tour I moved to the New York City area and toured from there, with people like Elvis Costello and the Steve Miller band among
others, before switching to TV full time. At first , like I said as an audio guy / facilitator for all kinds of shows that had bands, such as David Letterman show, The Rosie o' Donnell show and Saturday night live, but then all kinds of other stuff as well in cluding triple crown horse racing , parades, special events and golf tournaments such as the US open, Ryder cup etc where I always worked very closely with the players on the course.

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.
I wake up not knowing for sure where I will be sleeping that night, and I like it that way !
My kids Nils and Jeanne are now grown and don't need me to be able to get on with their lives when I'm busy elsewhere in the world so I guess I'll call that progress. Progress is good !

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
tours as well as Dire Straits people. it is fun to talk to them again on a more regular basis, and it is fun to learn about the various DS coverbands in existence in Europe. I am thankful to have been a part of the whole DS thing and like the friendships that are coming forth from that.
I must say though that even though I have no touring aspirations with bands whatsoever, there are a couple of outfits I would tour with again should the opportunity present itself. Dire Straits in some configuration a la Alchemy or Brothers in Arms would surely be one ofthem.  

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.