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 respectively, Split Enz, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Kasey Chambers, Missy Higgins, Alex Lloyd, Nathan Haines, Vika and Linda Bull, The Black Sorrows, Deborah Conway, Christine Anu, David Bridie, and My Friend the Chocolate Cake.
Michael has also performed music in theatre productions of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Cats, Rent, Tap Dogs, Poor Boy and Jerry's Girls.
In addition to performing and recording, Michael has written songs and music with Tim Finn, David Bridie, John Butler, Shane Nicholson, Eddie Rayner, Brian Ritchie, Vika and Linda Bull and Christine Anu.
Michael wrote, recorded, mixed and released his first solo album, Wonderland in November 2006. This album saw Barker collaborate with Bob Moore, Jeff Raglus, Bill MacDonald, Steve Hadley, Ray Pareira, Peter Neville and the VCA percussion ensemble.
In 2008, Michael played with Split Enz on their NZ Reunion tour. He was introduced by Tim Finn at the Wellington concert as "the newest Split Enz member".
In June 2008, Michael performed at the Australia's Ultimate Drummers Weekend Festival held in Melbourne.
Since 2010, he and friend Grant Haua are Swamp Thing, a "Two Man Blues Roots Juggernaut" with three released albums and a track record of concerts performed through New Zealand and Australia.
In 2007, Michael Barker made headlines as he unsuccessfully tried to save the life of a drowning man in Townsville, Queensland.
Barker's son Tristan has received notoriety online for his views on controversial issues, such as believing that people should not mourn for a death of someone they do not know, as in the case of the Amanda Todd Suicide. Tristan's views were, arguably, taken out of context by the Australian media and promulgated as hate speech.