Michael Barker (drummer)

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Michael Barker
Michael Barker Cambridge.jpg
Background information
Born 1966 (age 49–50)
Origin Rotorua, New Zealand
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Drums, percussion
Years active 1996–present
Associated acts The John Butler Trio, Split Enz, Swamp Thing

Michael Barker (born 1966) is a New Zealand percussion musician best known for performing with many Australasian acts, including The John Butler Trio and Split Enz. In more recent years Barker formed the power blues duo Swamp Thing with Grant Haua.[1]

Early musical education[edit]

Inspired by his older brother Douglas, Michael began playing the drums around age 10. As a teen, he played with various bands in Rotorua, New Zealand until 1985 when he moved to Melbourne to learn orchestral percussion. His studies began at Box Hill College of TAFE, where he completed two years of drum and percussion tuition under Bruce Barber. From here Barker went on to study orchestral and solo percussion at the Victorian College of the Arts under Barry Quinn. In Barker's final year at the VCA he performed Psappha by Iannis Xenakis, I Ching by Per Norgard and "The Black Page" by Frank Zappa.

Musical career[edit]

Barker's unique drum and percussion style has seen him record and tour with prominent contemporary recording artists such as The John Butler Trio, Neil and Tim Finn respectively, Split Enz, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Kasey Chambers, Missy Higgins, Alex Lloyd, Nathan Haines, Vika and Linda Bull, The Black Sorrows, Deborah Conway, Christine Anu, David Bridie, and My Friend the Chocolate Cake.

Michael has also performed music in theatre productions of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Cats, Rent, Tap Dogs, Poor Boy and Jerry's Girls.

In addition to performing and recording, Michael has written songs and music with Tim Finn, David Bridie, John Butler, Shane Nicholson, Eddie Rayner, Brian Ritchie, Vika and Linda Bull and Christine Anu.

Michael wrote, recorded, mixed and released his first solo album, Wonderland in November 2006. This album saw Barker collaborate with Bob Moore, Jeff Raglus, Bill MacDonald, Steve Hadley, Ray Pareira, Peter Neville and the VCA percussion ensemble.

In 2008, Michael played with Split Enz on their NZ Reunion tour. He was introduced by Tim Finn at the Wellington concert as "the newest Split Enz member".

In June 2008, Michael performed at the Australia's Ultimate Drummers Weekend Festival held in Melbourne.

Since 2010, he and friend Grant Haua are Swamp Thing, a "Two Man Blues Roots Juggernaut"[2] with two released albums and a track record of concerts performed through New Zealand and Australia.[3]

Personal life[edit]

In 2007, Michael Barker made headlines as he unsuccessfully tried to save the life of a drowning man in Townsville, Queensland.[4]

Preferred percussion instruments[edit]

  • Pearl Reference Series Drums & Zildjian Cymbals:
  • Drums – Purple Craze w/Nickel Hardware[citation needed]
    • 12x10" Tom
    • 16x16" Floor Tom
    • 18x16" Floor Tom
    • 14x6.5" Brass Reference Snare
    • 22x20" Bass Drum
    • 10" Soprano Snare
    • 13" Timbale
    • 11.5" Pearl Conga
    • ' monkeys
  • CymbalsZildjian
    • 15" K Custom Hi-Hats
    • 22" K Custom Ride
    • 19" Armand Beautiful Baby Ride (w/Rivets)
    • 19" K Custom Crash
    • 17" K Custom Crash
    • 15" K Custom Crash
    • 10" K Custom Splash
    • 8" K Custom Splash
    • 6" K Custom Splash
    • 8" Zil-Bell
    • 20 K China


External links[edit]