John Butler Trio - Australia
Michael Barker began his musical life listening to his mother singing opera and song from Gershwin musicals! At the tender age of nine he decided to take up playing drums after seeing his brother playing in a local band. Despite having no formal training, Michael played in the school band to accompany singing at assembly and from there joined up with like minded mates to jam on the weekends. By the age of 16 he was playing in bands around his home town of Rotorua, New Zealand.
He was playing in bands around his home town of Rotorua, New Zealand. The town though small had a fertile music scene where he played everything from Country to Punk and soon made a wage playing in bands at the many hotels in this tourist town.
With encouragement from friends and family, at age 19 Michael moved to Melbourne, Australia to pursue formal percussion training. His first two years lessons began at Box Hill Tafe's Music Department under the guidance of Bruce Barber. Michael's first year focused on tuned percussion and rudimental snare drum, his second year also involved multi percussion and working on a program to audition for the orchestral percussion course at the Victorian College of the Arts. Michael passed his audition and began three very challenging years under the guidance and wisdom of Barry Quinn.
After playing orchestral percussion on a tour with Split Enz, Michael realized a childhood dream and was asked to jam with Neil Finn and record some songs for Neil's solo album "Try whistling this". Michael has performed and recorded with a plethora of acts, including Tim Finn, Neil Finn, Alex Lloyd, Vika and Linda Bull, The Black Sorrows, My Friend the Chocolate Cake and David Bridie to name but a few.