Nick Barker

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Nick Barker

In the late eighties/early nineties, Nick Barker and the Reptiles were one of the biggest bands in the Australian music scene. With two top forty albums – Goin’ to Pieces and After the Show – they were at the top of the game. One of the main players on the Friday billing at Motor City Music Festival, Nick Barker and the Heartache State are bringing a string of new tunes, but Nick also assures me that your old favourites such as ‘Timebomb’ and ‘Make Me Smile’ will get a guernsey as well. Ahead of rocking out the Southern Cross stage, I caught up with the man to have a chat about his illustrious career.
Upon mentioning the welcome return to Geelong after several shows around town throughout the early nineties, Nick is quite excited about the opportunity to be involved with the festival. “What a crazy thing this festival is, hey?! I wanted to do something a little different than the usual Nick Barker set. I looked at the line-up and saw that there was a whole stack of cover bands so I thought, ‘what a better chance than this to show off my new original tunes’.”
For the past little while, Barker has been working tirelessly on putting together the new project and recording an album. Described as the “rawest” material that Barker has done in years, it also features the “A-List of Australian rock and rollers”, including longtime collaborator Justin Garner from Adelaide band Southpaw.
The process of working with the new band in the studio has been an overall pleasant experience for Barker and he truly cannot wait for everybody to hear the new record. “We’ve been tracking the record just guitar and drums and it’s just been a really good way to work. It’s been really enjoyable working with people that I can trust and we’ve been rehearsing it and then going into the studio and banging it down, which although is a quick process, also has its advantages.”
This new record, which was to see the light of day earlier this year, is now slated for a mid-year release after returning to the studio a few times to continue writing in an attempt to write something for himself rather than for what the industry wants to hear. Produced by Shane O’Mara, this beast is sounding like the freshest record since Barker’s Backyard Six, which was released in 2003.
“Shane is my go-to man, and 99 per cent of the time I trust him. It’s about making a record with people you trust, and having the support behind you makes going into the studio a non-daunting experience.”
Having been a staple in the Australian music scene for many years, Barker has relied on the use of Mini Maton guitars both in the studio and on stage. “Those little guitars are f**king incredible. They sound better than any large bodied guitar. They are extremely portable as well. I travelled all around Europe with that in a soft case and put it in as hand luggage. People laughed and thought I was bringing a ukulele, but trust me the jokes stopped when they heard it plugged in.”
Nick Barker and the Heartache State are coming to town, so pick up your Friday tickets and get ready to rock down to Motor City. “You’ve got plenty of great bands on the bill, and I can’t wait to share the stage with the likes of Kisstroyer and Daryl Braithwaite. See you there.”
When&Where: Motor City Music Festival, Geelong – March 7 to 9
Written by Tex Miller