“What’s it like being musician?” someone asked me at the weekend when I was touring in Sydney, “Who carries your gear out?” Another one that made me smile was “You must have the life”. I guess I do in some ways, but just like most businesses, it’s not a walk in the park. As I write this, my wife has just called me to say “OUR CAR HAS A BLOWN HEAD GASKET!” Seriously! ha! Ye couldn’t make this stuff up. And I have 5 gigs this weekend, as far away as 4hrs drive from here. So for anyone interested, here’s an example of one of my weekends. It might be a good to share this with anyone you know who is thinking of becoming a musician.Mick McHugh on the streets of Brisbane
Well, after slogging away at the admin side of things, Tues, Wednesday, Thursday daytime – invoices, bookings, press releases, etc…It starts at 5:30pm on Thursday. Most working people are winding their week down, but for a musician, it is just all about to kick off…and so off I drive 1:45min into the night, north towards The Gold Coast. Back home in bed by 2:30am. 5hrs sleep and it’s up and get the brekkie for the gang, lunches to be made, school drop off, and it’s straight to the Gold Coast airport (with the bags that I packed on Thursday arvo..ye need to prep well). Flight to Sydney, answered an interview on my iPhone while on the plane and sent as soon as I landed, then catch a train to Bondi – carrying a travel bag, 2 guitars, backpack of leads and harmonicas, stomps, etc. Get to venue. Walk around town, put up pole posters for an hour (which is illegal…risking my life for the art!), set up PA for gig. Kick off at 6pm, finish 9pm, picked up by fiddle player Mark Oats from the next gig and drive to another gig to set up and kick off for a 10pm start. Finished at 1am, pack down, chill for 30 mins and in bed by 2:30am again.
Sat morn – chilled for a bit, a nice coffee and brekkie after catching up on some much needed sleep. Sat arvo – music management meeting with Troubadour Music. Drive to gig at 6pm, set up, sound check. Kick off at 8pm. Finish 11pm. Pack down, home in bed for 1am.
Sunday – up at 7am, pre-booked taxi to airport arrives (they don’t always turn up!). Board flight to Brisbane. Pick up rental car (organised during the week), drive to residency gig venue in the city to collect my PA (which I stored there the Sunday before so I could grab it today), and collected Will Swan, the whistle/accordion player, from the venue too. Drive to fiddle player;s house, Sallie Campbell, for a Trio rehearsal for 1hr. 1pm – drive to gig. Load gear in, park car around the corner in China Town car park, set up, sound check. Play gig 2:30pm – 6pm. Pack down. Bring car around and load up. Me and Will drive 1hr south to the Gold Coast for the next gig with another fiddle player, Dave Luxmoore (My third fiddle player that weekend! lol!) Set up for gig. Kick off at 9am. Finished by 1am. In bed by 2:30am again after a 17hr day. Slept at a fiddle player’s house as it’s near the airport, and had to drop the rental car back next morning to Gold Coast airport. My Missus, Amanda drives one hour to collect me and my PA, guitars and travel bags at 11am. Where’s all the alcohol?! I had a few drinks on the Friday night…that was it. I can’t keep that kind of momentum and schedule running and to also have the energy to sing, play guitar, harmonica, stomp and tambourine and deliver a brilliant gig if I drink on top of it…I have tried it! But these days I try to save it for when I get the right window.
That’s what it’s like to be a musician …at least for me anyway. And of course answering emails for festival and gig offers, FB social media updates, etc on the iPhone as you go.
And most importantly delivering Entertainment !! And ye need to find time to write and record good music to break out of just being the “pub covers singer”.
Thank you to my wife Amanda for driving me, and being a semi-single parent. To Dave, the fiddle player for the many B&B nights after gigs on the Gold Coast. And to Troubadour Music for the learning I’ve received from running tours for them. Please share this with anyone you know who is thinking of becoming a musician.
Mondays are usually my day of recovery, catch up, see the kids and wife. Before Tuesday comes, admin stuff begins again, and then come Thursday, WE’RE ON!! …once I sort the fact that I’ve no car…I’ll probably have to rent or borrow one for the weekend… being a musician sure does keeps ye humble¬†

Tonight – Surfers Paradise, Fiddlers Green with Trio 9pm
Sat – Maleny, Maleny Music Festival 1:30pm
Sat – Surfers Paradise Lansdowne Road Tavern 9pm
Sun – Brisbane Irish Murphy’s 12pm Duo
Sun – Byron Bay, The Rails 6:30pm Trio