Michael began playing drums around age 10. As a teen, he played with various bands in Rotorua until 1985 when he moved to Melbourne Australia to learn orchestral percussion. His studies began at Box Hill College of Tafe, where he completed 2 years of drum and percussion tuition under Bruce Barber. From here Michael went on to study Orchestral and solo percussion repertoire for three years at The Victorian College of the Arts under Barry Quinn.
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, Split Enz, Dave Dobbyn, Bic Runga, The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Tap Dogs, Cats, Jerry’s Girls, Evita, Toni Childs, Kasey Chambers, Missy Higgins, Alex Lloyd, Vika and Linda Bull, The Black Sorrows, Deborah Conway, Christine Anu, David Bridie and My Friend The Chocolate Cake.
On Michael’s relocation from Melbourne to Rotorua in 2010 he built Twisty Pole recording studio on the northern shore of Lake Rotorua and it is here that Maisey Rika’s highly acclaimed NZ number one album ‘ Whitiora ‘ was recorded. Other NZ & International artists also to record with Michael at Twisty Pole are Tim Finn, Guy Pierce, David Bridie, Moana Maniapoto, Rob Ruha, Minnie Marks and Swamp Thing.