Makin mu­sic

Mu­si­cian Mick Makin is happy play­ing around the traps of Townsville, as JOSH AL­STON re­ports

Townsville Bulletin - - The Guide -

IT seems th­ese days the big bands and bright lights of huge clubs dom­i­nate en­ter­tain­ment head­lines. But as vet­eran gui­tarist Mick Makin knows all too well, there is a lu­cra­tive ca­reer to be had as an acous­tic duo in North Queens­land.

Mick came to Townsville in 2002 to find his daugh­ter — and never went home.

Home to Mick th­ese days is the Metropole Ho­tel on Palmer St, where he has played count­less gigs over the past four years along­side well­re­spected singer Anna Weatherup and var­i­ous other lo­cal mu­sos.

‘‘Anna and I have played about 25 wed­dings in that time and we’ve had res­i­den­cies at the casino, Molly Malone’s, Por­traits, we’ve had res­i­den­cies just about ev­ery­where,’’ he said.

‘‘When I’m not work­ing any­where else I’m work­ing here.

‘‘It’s been good, I’ve met and played with a lot of fan­tas­tic mu­si­cians in that time.’’

But a pe­riod of sick­ness knocked the wind out of Mick’s sail this year and he even con­tem­plated giv­ing the whole thing away.

Un­til he came across Mer­lin’s Traf­fic front­man and solo artist Heath Bur­dell.

‘‘We’ve been play­ing in tan­dem on a Fri­day and Satur­day night when he’s not work­ing with his band,’’ Mick said.

‘‘That’s been re­ally good be­cause I haven’t been well, I’ve had a cou­ple of sick­ies.

‘‘Par­tic­u­larly af­ter Anna (Weatherup) left to go Bris­bane I’ve been a bit ’I don’t feel like do­ing this any more’.’’

The pair look and sound like chalk and cheese, but the com­bi­na­tion has been work­ing and has rein­vig­o­rated Mick.

‘‘Heath has been a real breath of fresh air for me,’’ he said.

‘‘He’s a young guy that I think is go­ing to be very suc­cess­ful, he’s given me a whole boost of mo­ti­va­tion.

‘‘I’m more coun­try, he’s more rock and I play in­stru­men­tals over din­ner some­times whereas Heath is more full on.’’

And the for­mer jour­nal­ist from Melbourne has even man­aged to find the time to piece to­gether some orig­i­nal ma­te­rial, some­thing he finds vi­tal to stay pas­sion­ate in the mu­sic in­dus­try.

‘‘It’s ex­tremely im­por­tant and it’s been re­ally grat­i­fy­ing for me the re­sponse I’ve got from it,’’ he said.

‘‘I’ve got a live record­ing that is avail­able to peo­ple and they’ve been snap­ping it up.’’

Mick de­scribes him­self as ‘mostly coun­try’ and plays a variety of in­stru­ments in­clud­ing the banjo, man­dolin and his trusty gui­tar.

Be­fore ven­tur­ing north, Mick knocked around in a band in Bris­bane.

‘‘In Bris­bane I played (in a band) for a num­ber of years,’’ he said.

‘‘It was the last time since my 20s I’ve played in a band.’’

But the dy­namic of a duo or per­form­ing solo was what re­ally ap­pealed to Mick — and the money’s not half bad ei­ther.

‘‘There’s a lot more avail­able to you, but then again you can’t get stuff like up­stairs at The Ex­change ei­ther,’’ he said.

‘‘A lot of bands around town get what we get (paid) but there’s four or five of them.’’

Part of the ap­peal of Mick’s shows are the or­ganic sound he pro­duces — no dig­i­tal trick­ery here.

‘‘We don’t use back-up tracks or any­thing like that, it’s all gui­tar,’’ he said.

Mick be­came pas­sion­ate about mu­sic at a very young age and al­though he never re­ally saw him­self as a full-time mu­si­cian, he aimed to learn all her could.

‘‘It’s just some­thing I’ve been able to do and I’m very very lucky that I can,’’ he said.

And when his good friend Wayne McDon­ald bought the Metropole the script was writ­ten for Mick to settle down in Townsville and play his mu­sic full-time.

‘‘It just all came to­gether,’’ he said.

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