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"THE DAY I TURNED DOWN MARK KNOPFLER"

09-08-2006

Legendary rock promoter Ron Watts autobiography is being serialised exclusively here at The Stirrer. Ron started putting on bands during the British blues boom, then worked through prog rock, punk and beyond. But as well as helping other artists, he used to perform himself in a group called Brewers Droop,whose members included fledgling guitar hero Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits. Mark first contacted Ron by sending him demo tapes looking for gigs, but was sent away with a (friendly) flea in his ear.

"Mark Knopfler first came to my attention in the early '70s. He was from the north east and would write us letters, phone and send demo tapes.

These were certainly good quality and I wish I'd kept them.

One day he turned up at the office, hoping for some gigs, but I told him there was no real market for an unknown guitarist who was doing thestuff Bob Dylan was playing.

'Start turning up at venues unnanounced and sit in with a few of the well-known names. If you can cut it you'll get yourself a reputation, and then we can talk about getting you some gigs on your own'.

That was what I said to him, and I like to think he took some notice.

I could afford to be magnanimous.

I mean what future was there for a folk guitarist from Newcastle?"

"HUNDRED WATTS - A LIFE IN MUSIC" by Ron Watts. £7.99 inc p&p from PO Box 1703, Perry Barr, Birmingham B42 1UZ. More details from www.heroespublishing.co.uk

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