Interview With Mikey Guitar

 Mikey Guitar is a musician that I have known for over a Decade when me and the other two lads went to watch Bauer for the first time. Mikey, Greg and the rest of the band were great and always had time for a chat with us after the gigs.
Mikey has also been in other bands and his solo project. 

So how did you get into the music industry? 
Well, I started secondary school in the 90’s when it was massive time for Manchester music. Madchester had just ended but Britpop was in full swing, so there were loads of exciting bands at the time putting out great stuff – Oasis, Suede, Manic Street Preachers, The Stone Roses, Blur….the list could go on! I never really went onto making music like any of those bands, but that’s what initially got in interested in picking up the guitar. Every lad at the time seemed to be endlessly strumming “Wonderwall” in the school music room! From there i carried on into college studying music and then did my degree in music at Salford University. I started gigging heavily with Bauer in my late college/uni days.
How did you get the name Mikey Guitar? 
It was just sort of a joke at the time that’s stuck. I find it a little embarrassing now to be honest, but I guess it is my brand! I often thing how does somebody like Bez feel about still having a silly nickname like that well into his 50’s? Although maybe he’s taken too many drugs to care by this point!
I’ve been and watched you play with Bauer many of times. What has been your best gig with the band? 
That’s a tough one to answer! We’ve always loved playing any of the Academy venues though. He have done quite a few memorable packed out ones at Academy 2, which is a great stage to play.
Didn’t Bauer get some overseas fans? I’m sure I remember Denmark? 
Well, I was born in Denmark and yeah it’s true – one of our tracks got picked up by Danish national radio and we went over there and played a pretty good show somewhere in Copenhagen. At the time I was getting family members telling me that they were hearing our tracks in supermarkets and shopping centres!
Your have also been a few other bands, The Mutineers and the Red Sided Garter Snakes. What are your best memories from them? 
Mutineers was fairly short lived I guess but I’d say in all it was a good experience. If you listen to that first album and the way we dressed you can pretty much see where most of the current Manchester indie bands got it from. Our legacy is that we were probably the proto band for all that and were a bit ahead of our time. Everybody from that band has gone onto being fairly successful in their various projects. It would be nice to play a show one day again but i think maybe that ship has sailed. Red Sided Garter Snakes was more of a collective that a band really. It was all based around John Lever from The Chameleons and he roped in a load of great musicians. The likes of Jimmy from Puressence, Greg Matthews, Andy Whitaker (who is now on the telly playing a policeman on Emmerdale!), Steven Wilson and a few more! I’m pretty proud of my contribution. I probably came up with nearly half of the backing tracks for the second album. You should check it out. The Blue Lake. I really miss John Lever too but he’s left a great musical legacy behind.
You own SK Events which puts on live shows and club nights. 
What’s been your best shows? 
It’s such a tough industry to make a living JUST playing the guitar nowadays so inevitably at a certain age i had to branch out. All I know is music so it just seemed natural to get into events – I learned the hard way through the necessity of needing to pack out my own gigs with Bauer & Mutineers . Through the past 6/7 years I’ve had some amazing nights. I Dj’d the last ever event at Sound Control to about 450 people! Felt quite exposed up there on the stage on my own! Other highlights include working with Shed Seven after their Leeds Arena show, putting on a Trainspotting movie launch night with a live band, Depeche Mode after shows, Stone Roses after shows…..i could go on all day!
What are you top ten tracks from your music library? .
That’s a tough one but I’ll give you some tracks that I’ve been listening to recently.
Nick Drake – Pink Moon/ Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush – Don’t Give Up / The Beach Boys – I Just wasn’t made for these times / Richard
Ashcroft – Break the night with colour / The Chameleons – PS, Goodbye / The National – Bloodbuzz Ohio / New Order – Be A Rebel / Electronic – Getting away with it / Bauer – It’s Got To Get Better (Because we’ve been mixing it!)  …and that awful recent Ian Brown track just for the fun of how drastically bad it really is!
What would you change about the music industry? 
At the moment i’d like the government to backtrack on saying that we aren’t a viable industry. Music in the UK has absolutely covered this place in glory for nigh on half a century. It’s an utter disgrace. Other than that, it’d be nice for the industry to sign some real band with guitars that you can hear. A lot of the ones that make it through wear them guitars very well – as a fashion accessory – but you don’t actually hear them playing it well.
If you could go back in time to any gig what would it be? 

The whole of Glastonbury 2004 was absolutely glorious. I’d go back to then and make a few different decisions about my life afterwards 



What would be your top 3 albums of all time? 
Another really tough one! That’s impossible but my most listened too ones are probably Automatic for the people by REM, Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys and probably Dark Side Of The Moon (used to listen obsessively in my college days).
There is so much independent talent out there at the moment. What have you been Listening too? 
I find it pretty tough to sort the good from the bad! Maybe I should read your blog a bit more thoroughly!
What’s next for Mikey Guitar? 
It’s a tough one to call. Who knows that the future holds in these tough times but I can say there’s NOT A FUCKING CHANCE i’ll be retraining. Music is viable and I’ve made a living out of it for most of my adult life. I’m a lifer so i can see myself probably making music til the day I die and it’s likely to mainly be with Greg Matthews in our various guises because we have that musical connection that you just can’t magic up with anybody.

Mikey’s Top Ten Tracks 

Bauer – Perfect Ghost
This was one of the tracks that really kicked off the writing of the 2nd Bauer album (Impossible Is Nothing). I just love the simplicity of it. Always works brilliantly live, especially in the unplugged/stripped down sets.
The chord sequence was pretty much what I came up with and then Greg added the lyrics and vocal melody. It’s always a little bit of an exciting moment when you know you’ve come up with a really interesting piece of music and then he goes and adds his bit over the top. Was magic hearing him sing this in the studio.

Bauer – Made The Change

This is a Greg track, all the lyrics and chords came from him with this one. It’s a great pop song that I don’t know whether I could come up with myself! I am pretty proud of the lead guitar line though that it added which is a pretty important hook. Shades of Duran Duran in the melodies and some funky little guitar playing on this one which i’m not really know for. The rhythm section pull a blinder off on this one too.

Mikey Guitar – Fugitives

I made (apart from 1 track) an instrumental guitar album around half a decade back. At the time i’d just come off the back of the Mutineers split and was feeling pretty sore. I needed to make myself useful, so i dusted myself off and really experimented with sounds.

I learnt how to play folk fingerstyle guitar playing and got into recording on a pretty simple
16 track set up. This one is probably the best of the instrumentals. I could imagine Robert Plant singing over the top of it somehow. It was a pretty weird time for me. Was sort of at a loose end but it was all in all a pretty positive little project. I needed to prove that i could go it alone and put something out of note. I was getting a little new age hippy at the time party because the guy that helped me produce this is a bit of an old hippy (Hello Steve Davis!). He’s sort of gone on now and reinvented himself as the godfather of the local open mic scene.
Mutineers – Infidelity

I’d say this is possibly my favourite Mutineers track. I added a few guitar parts that are pretty cool but I can’t really take ant credit for the writing of any of it. Some great work by Nicholas Mallins, Iwan Gronow and Jack Mitchell. The rhythm section of this are now playing with Johnny Marr’s band and sometimes when I hear one of this tracks I get weird flashbacks to rehearsing with them guy because their playing is pretty easy to spot. It has a kind of late new order / electronic and inevitably Smiths sort of vibe to it.

Bauer – Don’t You Move (Steve Power Produced Version)

Possibly my favourite ever Bauer song. There’s 2 versions of it out there. My favourite was produced by Steve Power who is sort of an old skool 90’s/2000’s super producer kind of guy. He recorded all of Robbie’s big hits and has done loads of big poppy Indie  stuff since. I’m not sure why this was never a single at the time! It really should have been. One day we will sell it to Coldplay and it’ll become a monster hit and i can retire to a cottage somewhere in Wales with loads of money from the royalties. The I wouldn’t be classed as not viable by our joke of a government


Mikey Guitar Feat. Greg Matthews – Cinnamon Park

So this track came from my follow up to the “Fables” album. It’s a 6 track EP that contains to vocals from the ever trusty Greg Matthews.
It has a pretty wistful folky vibe to it. Maybe shades of some Ben Howard in there. It definitely has its roots in the more organic approach I like to give to my “Solo” stuff.

Bauer – Feels Like Heaven (Fiction Factory Reworking)

Am I allowed to stick it a cover version? Well, I will do because i’m extra proud of the way this one turned out. It may even surpass the greatness of the original….and it surprisingly fits in really well in the running order of the first Bauer album I just wish i’d had a hand in writing it because as i said earlier – that cottage in Wales is awaiting.

Red Sided Garter Snakes – Black Horse

I came up with the music and structure for this one in my bedroom on the same gear that I recorded the Fables album on. It seemed a little too moody for Bauer so i gave it to John Lever from The Chameleons for his Red Sided Garter Snakes 2nd album. He was an absolute privilege to work with. Still feel really sad that he left us too early but he’s left a great legacy of amazing music behind and i’m extremely proud to have played a small part in that.

Mutineers – Shadow Kisses

This is possibly the most popular Mutineers song. Just brings back great memories of some really fun times with them guys and some great gigs in the 2nd incarnation…plus some stinkers in the early days! Nick Mallins really is a high level lyricist and proves it on this one. Would love to play it again one day, but that boat has sailed. Mutineers ahoy!

Bauer (Unplugged) – It’s Got To Get Better 2020

I couldn’t possibly not include the latest release. (Plug! Plug!) All i can say about this is that it’s a very prophetic track and probably means more to my life now than at the time it was written. We want it to at the very least give some comfort to anybody out there having a hard time of things in these crazy/unprecedented days we’re all having to contend with. Naturally we will it’s only right that we give all proceeds to the sale of this to Mind Charity who do some outstanding work in helping people with many problems out there.


It’s Got To Get Better is out now!! track is out!! Go grab it via the direct download link below. All proceeds from this single release go to Tameside, Oldham & Glossop Mind Charity.



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