Dire Straits 'Calling Elvis'

Sinclair

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Chris, while we have you here I thought I'd ask. You mentioned in your interview that you were in negotiations with Dire Straights for a while before accepting the gig, and you really weren't that excited about it for a number of reasons that all sounded logical to me.

Negotiating is something musicians, especially ones of your caliber need to know how to do. From my own experience it usually comes up at the last minute and often in a short unsolicited phone call with management of whoever. I always felt that the object was to catch me off guard. There are no how to videos or music school courses dedicated to strategies. Each circumstance is as unique as the music associated with it.

If you don't mind I'd like to assume a few things.
1) You'd just come off what had to have been the biggest tour imaginable with Paul McCartney, touring behind a new record that you were also on.
2) Tired of the road by that point you weren't particularly interested in a Dire Straights tour even knowing they wanted you, and that it was bound to be hugely successful.

With these two things in your back pocket, (pardon me for interjecting) I would have asked for twice what PM was paying as a starting point. Hindsight is 20/20 and I'm not asking you to divulge amounts, but just wondering how you approached this. You mentioned you had a manager by this point which is even better as you're not speaking face to face with someone you'll be on stage with. Thanks in advance.
 
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Whitten

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Well sorry to short circuit your whole point, but at this level you really needed a manager. I effectively negotiated what I needed with my manager (my advocate), then HE communicated my wishes with Straits manager. All these artists have management teams, so you would never anyway be negotiating with mark or Paul Mc.
If you try and negotiate pay and conditions with their team you will be gobbled up for breakfast and spat out. besides, when the deal is done you are presented with a 50 page contract of legal-speak. You really need someone experienced in negotiation and contracts in your corner.
It's one thing to negotiate an album session, or a few days work, but not a huge tour taking up more than a year of your life.
When I decided to end my time with McCartney I phoned his manager, which was stressful enough, but he said "you will have to speak to Paul", so I had to call Paul on his personal line and tell him completely out of the blue I didn't want to work with him anymore. Like you don't want to be associated with a legend! I knew it was the right thing for me, but very hard to have to do.
 

Sinclair

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Indeed!! Nothing lasts forever. Must have been a nerve racking call but better to end it on your terms than getting that call. Enjoyed your interview very much and have been listening to Flowers. A record that eluded me but it's excellent.
Are you familiar with Wolff Parkinson White?
 


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