A FORMER Bromsgrove School student who is also one of the founder members of Dire Straits will return to the town with his new band.
John Illsley will visit Artrix on October 21 as part of his first tour in four years and the first with this very impressive line-up.
It includes Robbie McIntosh who has played with The Pretenders, Paul McCartney and Tom Jones and Paul Stacey who was in Oasis, The Black Crowes and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.
Steve Smith who has performed with Robert Plant, Pete Townsend and Steve Harley, will be on keyboard, drummer Stuart Ross has played with Mark Owen, Nik Kershaw and Chesney Hawkes and Jess Greenfield, who has worked with Rod Stewart, Take That and Noel Gallagher, ably provides backing vocals.
John said: “This is definitely the best band I have been in since leaving the Straits. I’m loving every minute.
“Robbie and Paul are two quite exceptional guitar players who play my material and the Straits stuff very well.
“People who come to the show will get to see some very impressive guitar playing.”
Dire Straits sold more than 120million albums worldwide and won several Grammies. The 1985 Brothers In Arms was the first CD album to sell a million copies and the band also won MTV music video accolades and the Ivor Novello award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music.
Collectively, the Straits spent over 1,100 weeks on the UK album charts – success that was down, in no small part, to John’s distinctive bass riffs and general musical input.
Since leaving the Straits John has created six solo albums in the last 20 years.
His latest one Long Shadows released last year will be showcased at Artrix along with performances of popular Straits songs, such as Sultans of Swing, Money for Nothing, Romeo and Juliet and Brothers in Arms.
John said: “The new songs fit very comfortably next to the Dire Straits’ classics.
“We keep the essential feel of those songs but this isn’t a tribute act, I think we bring them alive in a new and fresh way.
“We certainly love playing them and people seem to enjoy listening so it’s great fun all round.”
Asked about where his inspiration came from he said: “I think like most people I get it from life in general.
“It’s about people reflecting their lives and having something to say about it.
“Sometimes ideas come easily and other times it is a bit of a struggle and you have to work at it.
“You get some people saying all the love songs have already been written but then someone comes up with a new one.
“I do a bit of painting and it’s the same with that.
“As human beings we can’t stop ourselves, we are always trying to create something new.”
John attended Bromsgrove School between 1963 and 1967.
Speaking about his time there he said: “I have been back to the school and it has changed considerably since I was there.
“It was somewhat of a family tradition to go there – my brothers went there, as did my dad and my grandfather.”
Tickets for the show are £15 and are available at www.artrix.co.uk or by calling 01527 577330.
A new DVD “Live at the Brook” recorded with the same band will also be available.
Visit www.johnillsley.com for more on John Illsley.