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Jen chats to Rai from Thirsty Merc about the Summer Nats Festival and more!

One thing I have learnt about Thirsty Merc is that they LOVE touring. They have just announced that they will play at Summer Nats in January 2017summernats-02






Thursday, June 9, 2016 – The Street Machine Summernats has announced the music line up for it’s big 30th birthday. Taking the main stage on Friday is chart-topping hip-hop act Drapht supported by urban duo Spit Syndicate. Saturday night opens with indie rockers Thirsty Merc performing their greatest hits, followed by Australia’s favourite wildest rock’n’roll band Airbourne in their first Australian show since 2013.

The Street Machine Summernats, proudly supported by Rare Spares, sees over 100,000 punters from around Australia and all over the world descend on the nation’s capital to witness a monstrous display of automotive culture, jam-packed with the hottest music entertainment and all round good times.

One of Australia’s hardest working bands, Thirsty Merc
has spent over a decade making music and there’s plenty of gas left in the tank. Having just wrapped up a whirlwind tour around the country, the guys are gearing up to release a new album. Excited about their first appearance at Summernats, singer Rai Thistlethwayte says, “The guys are all pretty pumped to hit the Nats. We’re all Summernats virgins, but we’ve heard plenty of good things about the festival and it’s cool to be part of their big thirtieth birthday.”

I caught up with Rai, just after the tour announcement was made.

Hi Rai,great to have the chance to have a chat with you about Sumer Nats.

You are going to have a great start to 2017 with performing at Summer Nats, is this something that you are really looking forward to?

Yes! Absolutely! It’s been something I’ve been aware of for many years, this festival, so to actually play at it is going to be a blast. Plus I’m a fan of motor sports to a level – probably because my Dad’s pretty into cars himself etc…

 It is going to be huge, for their 30th birthday. Have you played at the festival before?

We haven’t played there, it’s our first time. 30th Bdays are always fun haha!

Are any of you guys actually into cars and will spend some time during the day checking them out?

Yes, I’ll be checking it all out for sure. Part of playing festivals is getting into the whole vibe of the event!

I guess mixing the festival goers love for cars with Music is a great way to mix people passions. Performing in front of approx. 100,000 people will be pretty cool, will that be your biggest?

Gee, is that how many people are going to be there? That may be the biggest crowd we’ve played to! I believe we did a show at the State Of Origin Grand Final one year and that was attended by a huge crowd too, but not quite THAT big!

 I know it is real early and hard for will you be playing your greatest hits and some covers?

We’ll do our greatest hits for sure! Not sure re covers at this point but we’ll see how it all rolls out!

I must admit that I have not heard of the other bands but I guess my teenagers would have. Do you know any of them? Have you met any the other bands/artists?

We know Airborne, not personally (yet!) so hopefully we get to say G’day.

 For Thirsty Merc to still be together and following your passion for music is no mean feat these days, is it because of your pure love of music that you guys have stayed together doing what you love?


Great question – I think anything in life is pretty much possible but ESPECIALLY if you do what you LOVE. It’s gotta be a passion project, first and foremost, for something to crystallise into something that you can make a living from for a sustained amount of time. Also, it’s about maintaining the project by having a good relationship with your own creativity, and your work friends. I feel like I’m part of a great group of guys to work with. We have a ball on and off stage!


How does your writing process actually go as a band? Do you write all the songs or is it more of a band approach?

It’s a bit of both. A bit of co writing, a bunch of some stuff I come up with on my travels etc…there are no set rules of how the process goes…

2016 has been a kinder year for you than 2015, I must you guys were really strong to keep on with the tour. I know as part of the music industry we were all feeling for you when we heard the news.

The way you guys carried on with the tour and Mick’s recovery was pretty inspirational, can you tell us if it was that you were booked for so many tour dates that helped you keep going?

It was a really hard time for sure. Very possibly the most difficult thing we’d ever had to deal with as a band, but also keeping busy was in a way to get through a really turbulent time, I guess. Thanks for the kind words about it. We’re really proud of Mick, he’s got the most amazing headspace about it all, what a LEGEND!

I had a look on your facebook page, and had a good laugh and you guys loading your gear when there was a line dancing class on, that would have been interesting!

Do you run the facebook page yourself?

AAaaah yes the Line Dancing class was hilarious! I believe that was in Yamba. We do run our own FB page!

 Do you have any shows locked in prior to Satnats? Or are you having a well-deserved rest?

We’ve got a bunch of things happening at the end of 2016. Our time off for 2016 is going to be throughout July-Aug 2016, we’ve had a really busy 18 months prior to that recording and promoting the new album. We maybe have a new single out to promote the time around Summernats. Stay tuned!

Thanks Rai for your time.

Thank you!





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