Q&A Scene: Guitarists’ Special: Mike Elrington

Melbourne Guitar Show

Leading up to the Melbourne Guitar Show, What’s My Scene will be celebrating GUITARISTS. Stay tuned for our exclusive Q&As, Vintage Guitar Scenes, Snap Scene features, and much much more.

Mike Elrington answers our questions:


How long have you been playing guitar? Why did you first start playing guitar?

I’ve been playing guitar for 25 years now. I started playing because it was the first thing I can remember ever wanting to do in life. This was after hearing the intro riff from Dire Straits’ “Money For Nothing” as a 3 year-old boy.

Which guitarist most influenced your playing?

Tough question but if I had to pick one it’d be Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Describe your favourite guitar.

Most definitely my current Cargill Custom Dreadnought.

How do you prepare for a show?

Depends on my mood really. Sounds a little tame I know but these days it mainly consists of drinking warm water with honey & lemon to help lubricate my vocal chords. In the old days it was just bourbon…

Which artist/band was/is your favourite to play guitar with?

Another tough question but I’d have to say my long-time drummer/percussionist Roderick McLeod. Love the musical connection we’ve built up over the last 14 years of playing together.

How would you describe your sound in food form and why?

Well done rump steak served with a heavy dark stout, with ever so subtle dashes of strawberry ice-cream. Brutal toughness infused with a bit of sweetness.

Tell us a quick, on the road or studio, anecdote.

When you tour overseas, it’s always a wise idea to pay a little extra for a GPS unit at the rental car counter. This way, you just might avoid getting lost in strange & dangerous places you really shouldn’t be in. This happened to us on one US trip when we ended up in the heart of Compton, South Central Los Angeles. Almost ran out of gas too, so it was definitely an interesting experience trying to find a gas station that wasn’t surrounded with gangsters at 2am on a Wednesday morning…

What, or who, inspires you?

I’m inspired by artists, musicians & people who follow their deepest passions & dreams, push boundaries & challenge tradition, live on the edge a little & push themselves to become great at something and share their creations with the world in an engaging & inspiring way.

Which song do you wish you wrote the riff for?

Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child (Slight return)”.

If you had unlimited money, what would your dream guitar setup be?

The one I already have with Cargill Custom Guitars! Jim does such an exceptional job with his instruments, not just in the building of them but the maintenance work as well, and I’m very much looking forward to starting work on my first ever signature model guitar with him this year. I’ve always dreamed of having a close relationship with a luthier who really understands the way I play, so I’m very fortunate to have this with Jim and I’m very much looking forward to doing more with him in the future.

What’s next for you?

I’ve just released my new “Live At The Flying Saucer” CD/DVD, so I’ll be busy touring & promoting that for the rest of this year. So far I’ve got tours booked for the Northern Territory, New Zealand, Nashville, China, NSW, QLD, SA & Tassie between now & December. And of course writing for the new album & hopefully convincing my young kids to start playing guitar!

What is the best thing about the Melbourne Guitar Show this August?

I love the fact that it showcases not just players, but such a wide range of guitar-builders that don’t have a large enough profile to get their instruments into the bigger stores. There’s some incredible luthiers all over the country right now & I think it’s great that this event gives them a chance to present their work to players that wouldn’t normally know about it.

What’s your scene?

Traditionally my scene has been blues/roots & rock’n’roll, however these days I’m a lot more open & interested in other genres like dance/electronic, hip-hop, pop & country. Stuff that I haven’t really been into in the past but am really digging it now. I know this will be a major challenge to pull off, but on the next studio record I’m gonna have a good crack at fusing some of these newer influences with the traditional sounds I’ve adhered to in the past. I guess I just love an extreme level of diversity in music & am very inspired at the possibilities available when merging polar-opposite sounds & genres.

It was big in 2015, huge in 2016, and today the Australian Music Association has announced the 2017 return of the Melbourne Guitar Show to rock Caulfield Racecourse on August 5 and 6 – and this year, it’ll be bigger than ever. Proudly presented by Triple M and Australian Musician, the line-up boasts not only an incredible haul of local guitarists, but also massive international artists – UK’s legendary Steve Hackett (Genesis), Canada’s renowned Nick Johnston and UK superstar Alex Hutchings.

In addition to some killer performances, MGS will also hold a monster exhibition that will feature a gigantic variety of electric and acoustic guitars, effects pedals, amps and more state-of-the-art guitar technology, both home-grown and from around the world. It will continue to be Australia’s biggest guitar pop-up shop…and that’s not all. In addition to this, the Melbourne Guitar Show will host information seminars, demonstrations, and live performances from Australia’s most talented guitarists, including: Lloyd Spiegel, Nick Charles and Bob Spencer with many more to be announced.

This year will be extra special as the Melbourne Guitar Show welcomes UK guitar royalty, namely, the original Genesis guitarist and successful solo artist in his own right, Steve Hackett, in a very special premium ticketed event. Hackett will be touring Australia for the very first time with his lavish Genesis Revisited tour, playing classic Genesis prog-rock tunes as well as selected material from his 25 solo albums. For the Melbourne Guitar Show however, in a more eclectic and informal setting, Steve will play an exclusive up close and personal acoustic-based show featuring musical director Roger King on keyboards and woodwind/ brass virtuoso Rob Townshend. This will be the only Australian performance by the Steve Hackett Acoustic Trio. Genesis, only ever made it to Australia once, in 1986 – years after Steve and singer Peter Gabriel left the band, so Steve is making it up to fans by bringing some Genesis magic to our shores. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for long serving Genesis fans and aficionados of 70s prog-rock. Steve will also participate in an onstage Q&A session following his guitar show performance. Excited about the upcoming tour, Steve says, “I’m thrilled to bring my Genesis Revisited tour to Australia. I’ll be playing there for the first time and I’m hugely looking forward to it! It’ll be great to meet fans and friends, and I know it’s an incredibly beautiful country. I can’t wait!”

Another star joining the stacked line-up is the Canadian guitar virtuoso Nick Johnston. Known for his catchy, melody-driven instrumental music Nick has been able to carve out his own unique style within a crowded landscape of instrumental guitarists. Nick’s playing has attracted sponsorship from massive international brands including Friedman Amps, D’Addario and Schecter Guitars. Also on board this year, we welcome world-renowned guitarist Alex Hutchings (UK), a modern fusion guitarist par extraordinaire, lauded by many as one of the finest players in the genre. His international following has exploded in recent years thanks to millions of YouTube views via both his own channel and JamTrackCentral (alongside such contemporaries such as Guthrie Govan, Andy James and Jack Thammerat). Regularly touring around the globe, Alex performs under his own name and as an international demonstrator for BOSS/Roland.

Drawing over 5,500 guitar lovers and enthusiasts to last year’s exhibit, the Melbourne Guitar Show is gearing up for the biggest event yet. The voice of the Australian music products industry, the Australian Music Association (AMA) will be teaming up with Australianmusician.com.au and presenting sponsors Triple M and Aon to present this year’s guitar-centric weekend. “We are looking forward to a show this year that builds steadily based on the merit and popularity of the first two and on the presentation of the best people we can find”, says AMA executive officer and MGS organiser, Rob Walker. Not only will the 2017 MGS provide a hands-on chance to see, hear and play a broad range of the world’s favourite brands, it will also see exhibitors offering great show deals, plus an opportunity to get close to some hand-crafted, locally made instruments and epic guitar and gear collections. Describing the exciting developments, Rob continues, “We will have more exhibitors this year, as well as bigger stand presentations by many brands. We are in discussions with an increasing list of players who want to be a part of it, so we are sure this show will provide great value for guitar enthusiasts once again.”

The first artist line up announcement includes: Steve Hackett (UK), Nick Johnston (Canada), Alex Hutchings (UK), Lloyd Spiegel, Nick Charles, Bob Spencer, Shannon Bourne, Lloyd Spiegel, James Ryan and many more to be announced over the coming weeks.

The Melbourne Guitar Show will be held at Caulfield Racecourse on August 5 and 6.

Tickets are on sale now!

Online ticket prices when pre-ordered:: Adult day pass $20, adult weekend pass $30, family day pass $35, concession day pass $10, concession weekend pass $15, premium ticket** $40

**Premium tickets include admission to Steve Hackett show – limited tickets available






About Mary Boukouvalas 1397 Articles
Mary is a photographer and a writer, specialising in music. She runs Rocklust.com where she endeavours to capture the passion of music in her photos whether it's live music photography, promotional band photos or portraits. She has photographed The Rolling Stones, KISS, Iggy Pop, AC/DC, Patti Smith, Joe Strummer, PULP, The Cult, The Damned, The Cure, Ian Brown, Interpol, MUDHONEY, The MELVINS, The Living End, Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against The Machine, The Stone Roses –just to name a few - in Australia, USA, Europe and the Middle East. Her work has been published in Beat magazine, Rolling Stone magazine, Triple J magazine, The Age Newspaper, The Herald Sun, The Australian, Neos Kosmos, blistering.com, theaureview.com, noise11.com, music-news.com. She has a permanent photographic exhibition at The Corner Hotel in Richmond, Victoria Australia.

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