Mark Knopfler explains why he retired from touring

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While Mark Knopfler remains an incredibly busy artist, and is set to release his new album Deep River on April 12th, the iconic musician has no plans to take the new collection of songs on tour.

Although touring is highly lucrative, it’s also incredibly demanding and due to the commercial success of Dire Straits, Knopfler doesn’t need to chase money. He’s now in his mid-70s, and would rather prioritise other areas of his life rather than being a slave to the road.

Knopfler’s final headline show was at New York City’s famous Madison Square Garden in 2019, where he bowed out in style. In that calendar year, Knopfler toured across Europe and America, playing huge arenas in every major city.

During a date at the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona, Knopfler revealed his decision to step back from touring to those in attendance, noting, “This is a beautiful way to say goodbye.”

While many rockstars have retired from playing live only to backtrack, Knopfler has stayed true to his word and his refusal to tour Deep River proves his commitment to the cause.

The new record marks his first album since 2018, and it has been a passion project which has been many years in the making, which has been aided by his decision to quit touring.

In a new interview with The Times, he reflected: “It’s been a long process. Patience has been required, with lockdowns and everything. But you live for those days when the band is together. I love working on my own and being at home and writing the songs. But there’s nothing quite like having a man in every corner of the room.”

His passion for the studio environment is another key reason he stopped playing live, noting: “With the studio really coming into its own, every time I go in there, I think, what am I doing travelling anywhere? It’s wonderful to have the band in there and to be recording, so why is it happening so rarely?”

The former Dire Straits singer’s focus is now firmly on his family and recording new music, rather than going away from his London base for several months at a time. He explained: “To be at home and to be writing would be nicer for me and Kitty because she’s been so patient. We’ve been together for 30 years and she’s been so good, not preventing me from doing anything I wanted to do.”

Knopfler added: “So that would be just great for us and the family. And then go into the studio, where I’ve never had a bad day, to see if I can record a good song.”

In addition to his new solo album, Knopfler has also teamed up with AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson for a new six-part series on Sky Arts, set to premiere later this month. They will talk to artists such as Sam Fender, Tom Jones and Carlos Santana across the episodes.

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