Dire Straits call up local muso Terence Reis

2011-04-09 00:00

DURING his school days in KwaZulu-Natal, Terence Reis discovered the music of British rock band Dire Straits, but he never expected to join his musical icons on stage.

In May, however, that’s exactly what he will be doing when Dire Straits performs their first gig in 20 years in London.

His call-up came when the band found themselves without a front man for their performance at the Royal Albert Hall.

Reis had just returned to South Africa, after spending seven years in the United Kingdom playing with the band Waterhorse, when he got the call from Alan Clark, Dire Straits’ keyboard player, asking whether he would be interested in working with them.

Now 48, Reis said: “This guy asked me a couple of questions to check whether he was talking to the right person. Then he said, ‘I’m Alan Clark and I’m the keyboard player from Dire Straits’. I thought it was a joke. He asked me if I was interested in fronting for the band — and I burst out laughing.”

But it wasn’t a joke and a month after submitting a demo recording of his music to the band, Reis got the news that he’d be performing with them.

Reis, who was born in Durban and grew up in Mozambique, first picked up the guitar while a pupil at Kearsney College in Botha’s Hill in 1978.

Together with his “partners in musical crime”, Paul Basel and Craig Zerf, he would rehearse in a dressing room at the back of the main assembly hall.

Dire Straits’ most popular hits in the 1980s and 1990s included Sultans of Swing, Tunnel of Love, Money for Nothing and Romeo and Juliet .

The band split up in 1995 when front man and lead guitarist Mark Knopfler went solo.

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