MITCHELL DOCKER, professional rider with Orica Scott, talks 80s classics, losing his dad's trumpet and never being without a pair of emergency headphones.

What was the last race you did? What music did were listening to to get you through the transfers and travel?

MITCH: Last race I did was Tour of Slovenia. It was a little while ago now, so let me think. I wasn’t pulling the big Bose headies out for the transfers which was a good sign of teammate environment. But of course I had the white iPhone headies handy for emergencies. I was popping in and out of podcasts I know that for sure. But I do remember I was listening to a bit of Julio Iglesias, Mexico & Amigos album believe it or not. My masseur (who is Basque) and I were listening to his speakers during massage, where he always is playing top 50 stuff, and an Enrique Iglesias song came on. One thing let to another and he started telling me about how his father Julio was way more famous than him. And so we started playing some of his old man's stuff during the massage and after that I was listening to a bit to find out a bit more about him.

Hahaha Julio Iglasias is definitely not what I expected, I actually had no idea he existed as an artist. That is definitely a surprise musical hole to take a trip down. On quick listen and watch I can see where Enrique gets his vibe from, Julio is a regal looking guy, he definitely has the better tan of the two. Nice little mid-race musical journey though.

Do you generally race with a similar team and so have a good rapport or was that just circumstance of how the team was racing? What podcasts do you listen to?

MITCH: No the team is always changing. Sometimes you may never race with a guy all season, and others you practically have the same race program as the whole season. This particular time we just had a good group of guys. I generally have a quick look at our team list before we head off to races to get an idea of the team mood of the race coming. The podcasts I’ve got into more recently are the Slow Ride Podcast, three guys breaking down the cycling season in quite a comical way. Easy way to keep up to date with the racing scene without having to look on Cycling News or something. I also love listening to the Jocko Podcast. This guy is brilliant. Ex navy seal. He has a fantastic view on leadership and just life in general. Takes you out of the world of cycling and really puts things in perspective.

What music do you remember growing up around? Who was the first person to get you into music?

MITCH: When I grew up Mum and Dad had put a tape deck on my bedside table for me to listen to while I went to sleep. All of us kids had one. My older brother and older sister. And I remember that I had about 3 or 4 tapes that pretty much just got played over and over until they were wore out. I had a Billy Joel album, River of Dreams. There was Thriller,  Michael Jackson, and this awesome mix tape from the 80’s called Hits Huge 84’. They are the three albums that come straight to mind. Still when I hear those albums the lineup of songs is drilled into my mind. If I hear any song of any of those albums on the radio it takes literally one second from the start of the song before I know what it is. Its weird.

That is such a great way to introduce kids to music and those are some good albums. ‘Hits Huge’ is such ridiculous name, getting the syntax wrong in a two word name, must have already begun running out of ideas for names for compilation CD’s in the 80s. Some epic songs on the 84 compilation though.

What is the first song you remember liking?

MITCH: Big Girls, by Electric Panda. Was one of the hits of from Hits Huge 84.

Did you play a music instrument as a kid?

MITCH: Yeah, I played the trumpet. And I wasn’t very good at it. Played third trumpet in the school symphonic orchestra. Which means I did the background notes, practically just made filler noise. No-one really could tell if you were playing or not, or if you made a mistake. But that came to an end when I left the trumpet (my dad's trumpet from when he was a boy) on the bus on the way home from school.

Was the old man pissed you lost his boyhood trumpet? I can’t stop laughing thinking about this right now because I also played filler noise in the school orchestra, and every now and then I’d just freestyle in the middle of a song to see if anyone noticed and no one ever did.

MITCH: Oh yeah both mum and dad were fully pissed. I think mum even made me pay for the rental for the rest of the school year, until I said ahh yeah I’m done.

If you could go back and learn a musical instrument, which would it be and why?

MITCH: I think it would have to be guitar. It just seems to be the centre most important instrument of any band.

What musical phases have you been a part of throughout your life? What songs defined each of those phases?

MITCH: Phases, hmm. I guess I was and am still a 80s boy. But in that it has ranged between 80’s pop to rock to Aussie rock, big hair rock, to new wave. So in those I guess the songs that define each of those sub phases would be:

Pop: Hall and Oats, Kiss on my list
Rock: Toto, Africa
Aussie Rock: Goanna, Solid Rock
Big Hair Rock: White Snake, Slide it in (right to the top)
New Wave: David Bowie, Lets Dance

But phases:

MITCH: Nirvana, In Bloom
RnB: Fatman Scoop, Be Faithful (over played at high school parties)
Rock: Foo Fighters, Learn to Fly
House/Electronica: Moby, South Side
Electronic: Daft Punk, One More Time
Lounge/Disco: Dimitri From Paris, A Night at the Playboy Mansion
Disco: Larry Graham, Sooner or Later
New today: Chomeo, Bonafied Lovin - King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, The River

This is the playlist right here, job done. A good range in there. I particularly like Goanna Solid Rock.

What was the first album you bought with your own money?

MITCH: Pretty embarrassing, the first thing I really remember buying with my own money was a So Fresh mix Album.

What was the first gig / concert you remember going to?

Mitch: I was late to seeing live music. I think it was the Scissor Sisters in 2006

That would have been awesome, they were in their prime around that time.

What's the best gig / concert you've been to?

MITCH: The best would have to be when my brother took me to see Joe Camilleri in Melbourne. James Rayne and the Chantoozies opened and then Joe came on. The place was full of oldies, but it was small and you could get close to the stage. When he played he was just doing these long renditions of black sorrows stuff as well as Jo Jo Zep stuff.

Can’t say I know any Joe Cammilleri, I'll have to listen. Do you prefer the smaller venue over some massive joint?

Mitch: Definitely smaller. I went to the Chilli Peppers last year in Barcelona, they were great, and I wasn’t a massive Peppers fan before, but after and since I have been really converted. Love their first three albums the most. So funky. But how can you not no Joe Camilleri!? Black Sorrows, Hold on to me or  Jo Jo Zep, Shape i’m in. Listen to them now, you’ll know.

Who's a teammate with the worst musical taste you’ve had to endure?

MITCH: I’m sure there is one, but I just can’t think of one right now

How about the teammate with the best music taste?

MITCH: Jens Keukeleire. He’s not into heaps of older stuff, but he knows it. He’s always checking out the new stuff and keeping really up to date. Which is not what I am that good at. Knowing we have a similar taste in music I always hit him up for some new stuff he has found out about.

I love those people that keep you up to date. It’s hard work otherwise.

What song would you listen to to get pumped for a TT or race?

MITCH: I don’t often do the headphones sitting in the back of the bus pre race pumping myself up. Maybe before a prologue on the rollers I might get some good tunes pumping. But mainly if I have a solid session out training and I need something to get me through then I have a few backup options. For a while there I was listening to Justice, Cross. Then more recently I have been listening to King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, Nonagon Infinity. But my ultimate pump up album is the Daft Punk Live 2007 album.

Does anyone take control of the music on the bus and what do they play?

MITCH: Michael Mathews used to bring his Bose speaker on the bus sometimes and play top 50 stuff, but most of the time the bus driver just has the radio going.

Have you ever had a ‘victory’ song or a track you associate with any performance, good or bad?

MITCH: I’ve got one song that comes straight to mind. It’s from the Rocky Soundtrack. No easy way out, by Robert Tepper. When I was younger I was over in Los Angles representing Australia at the Junior Worlds. I was there for the four man team pursuit. Ultimately I was cut from the final ride and the team went on to win. In those days only the four riders who rode in the final were medal world champions. I remember watching the race, watching them win, grabbing my road bike and getting out of the centre of the track before anyone saw me crying. I put my iPod on and pumped No easy way out, and I smashed myself up the road. Every time I hear that song now I instantly go back to that road I was riding on.

Ah dude, that is heartbreaking. That rule was the biggest stitch up. I remember that team when you guys won in LA, I had no idea they only gave out 4 medals.

Have you ever worn your ipod during a race?

MITCH: Yeah, a couple of times in a Time Trial. The long ones in a grand tour, when all you need to do is make time cut. You’re sort of going along at steady tempo, so it’s nice to just switch off a bit and put a nice album on.

A guy was telling me recently that he had an iPod with a techno play list set up for the national TT and a comedy podcast came on instead but he persevered and finished in 3rd. You ever thought about intentionally chucking on a podcast on those long TT’s?

MITCH: Not in a TT, but if I have a long ass tempo effort out training, even if its pretty solid, I like to start with a podcast, sort of trick myself into thinking, “yeah I’m just rolling along listening to a poddy, no biggy” but then when shit starts to get tough mid effort I might flight to one of those back up pump up albums I was talking about before.

What song would you put on to get the party started?

MITCH: Phil Collins, Sussudio.

Does musical taste influence how well you’re going to get along with someone? If so what’s a song that if someone played would let you know you’d probably get along?

MITCH: I think so, there really is such an unspoken bond when someone just gets a song like you do. I think if someone walked over to the iPod at a party and played Madonna La Isla Bonita, or Pointer Sisters Dare me I’d be like, “Yeah, nice”.

A song that if someone played would instantly put you off them?

MITCH: Pretty much any Bruno Mars song, more specifically the Marry You song.

Have you ever played a song to impress a person or group? If so, what was it?

MITCH: I’ve been asked to sort of DJ at a couple of parties, and the pressure is always on to read the crowd and know the right next track. But safe options to save the moment are things like Prince, Little Red Corvette. Or maybe some disco with like Earth Wind and Fire, September. Actually more recently I have been getting back into the R n’ B from when I was growing up. And I have slipped in things like R.Kelly, Ignition. When it’s people around my age it goes offffff.

It’s so easy to just rag shit on the DJ at parties but it’s not easy for them. It’s a really hard job, especially if everyone at the party is into music. But if you get it right, you are a legend.

A song you’re embarrassed to admit you like, but listen to often?

MITCH: At the moment I have been listening to that Despacito song which features Justin Bieber.

I’ve never actually heard that song and I hate it purely because someone was telling me a story the other day where the point completely hinged on knowing, or at least having heard, Despacito so I told them I hadn’t, but they persisted with the story anyway. It was just the two of us riding along, no one else within earshot, and when they finally finished the story it was just silence. I couldn’t respond, because I had no way of knowing if it was a good story or not. It was so weird. For some reason I thought you’d appreciate that story.

MITCH: Haha, what a douche.

Which song would you choose to soundtrack the highlights reel of your career?

MITCH: I’d like to get some Vince Di Cola montage music in there from Rocky 4, either War or Training Montage. Not for the whole thing but an element of it.

It would be amazing to have a training montage cut into your own Career Highlights. Shot exactly like Rocky and without any irony.

You’ve recently had a little baby, has that affected how and when you listen to music in the house?

MITCH: Not really, apart from my wife constantly turning the music down to make sure we don’t wake him. But we like to just play all different types of music for him. Get him cultured. Before he was born we always have a record on in the house. The TV in Spain is pretty rubbish so the record player sort of became our TV. And since he’s been around it hasn’t changed.

What’s the best way to listen to music?

MITCH: On vinyl, at home, with a good amount of volume.

You mentioned records a couple of times, do you have a big collection of music on vinyl? Why do you like it more?

MITCH: I have a few now. I sort of started collecting after I visited Kirk when he first moved to Sydney and listened to some albums up there. Since then I have gathered about 400 ish. But what I mostly love about vinyl, is sure the sound is different, but mainly is that fact you listen to albums the way they are supposed to be heard. Not like with an iPod where you listen to the first 10sec of song and go, nah next. I now love a whole lot of new songs I never knew about. And I hear how the hit songs fit into the flow of the albums. Its brilliant. They spend so much time putting these albums together for a reason. Each song having some kind of meaning and purpose in the specific album and with vinyl you tend to listen to the entire album hear it they way the artists wanted you to hear it. Not saying you can’t still do that on Spotify, but if I hadn’t have had vinyl I would never have persisted.

If you were colonising Mars and could only take one album, what would it be?

MITCH: Simple Minds, New Gold Dream 81, 82, 83, 84.

What is it about this album that makes it not only something you’d be happy listening to for the rest of your life, but perhaps the foundation from which all music is created on Mars?

MITCH: This album just works for me. It can be on when I feel down, when I need to be pumped or just as background music. I love the instrumental track in there too (somebody up there likes you) If life was created listening to this album what an amazing life we would live on Mars. Go and listen to it, start to finish, you’ll know what I mean.

Angus MortonComment