Mickey Riff is a Pedal Steel Guitar player for various bands around Brisbane, as well as performing solo shows on the pedal steel (instrumentals). Mickey currently plays pedal steel for Phil Smith (alternative country), Liam Wayne traditional country (band and duo). Mickey has played steel at live shows for Neil Duddy (duo), Kylie Hogan (duo) and the talented Dail Platz in Queensland.
Mickey started in Mt Gambier (SA) with an Emmons student model around the mid 1980s with the blue book from Scotty (Anthology of Pedal Steel). It was too advanced, then he purchased Scotty's red book from George Xanthos (as well as strings and accessories) from Melbourne to help get started.
Mickey went to Melbourne and visited the late great George Xanthos. George fixed his pedal steel, but, on return to Adelaide it had a lot of trouble. After a phone call to George, he was confident that Mickey could pull the steel apart and fix it himself. This was done, with the inspiration and confidence by George Xanthos and many phone calls to Melbourne.
Mickey formed the band Mickey Riff and the Houndogs in the mid 1980s playing guitar. Performed in a country band called The Saddletramps (guitar and pedal steel Emmons student model) The Saddletramps won a 4th place at a battle of the bands at Port McDonald around the late 1980s.
Mickey moved from Mt Gambier (SA) to Adelaide in the early 1990s and after a few years in Adelaide, he sold the lot. In mid 2001 Mickey purchased a Sho-Bud from Al Brisco (Steel Guitars of Canada) and bought both the red and blue book again.
Mickey purchased all the accessories such as the steel bar and Al's choice of finger picks (Jeff Newman) including a gospel book. Al threw in the Winnie Winston's book as well as his own CD.
Compact Country (Adelaide Country Band) was the first band that Mickey became the official steel guitar player. The band performed at RSL clubs and Country Clubs. Mickey performed duos at retirement homes on a regular basis with one of the members of Compact Country. Tragically Mickey was injured and was in the critical spinal ward at the end of 2003. Was dearly missed at the retirement home where he was supposed to be performing. The band had to let Mickey go, due to heavy medication and the lack of dexterity to play the pedal steel properly due to the spinal injury.
One year later Mickey returned to Compact Country, it was a very big impact on the band. Mickey moved to Queensland 6 months later. After getting off the medication (an experience no one can imagine), then focused on the pedal steel.
Mickey wrote his first steel instrumental in March 2009 called Play On Son that has been played frequently on Dewberry Jam Community Radio in Texas.
The song was inspired by the will to get back to his love and passion, the Pedal Steel Guitar.