5 Hobbies Thirsty Merc Indulge In When They're Not Touring

Thirsty Merc are touring Australia throughout August and early September. Thirsty Merc are touring Australia throughout August and early September.

Aussie rockers Thirsty Merc have spent the past two years patiently waiting for travel conditions to return to normal and resume what they do best – playing live and regularly.

The independent band are currently criss-crossing the country on a 27-date tour until early September.

The tour news also comes packaged with a new album from Thirsty Merc titled 'Celebration', the band setting their sights on a host of well-known (and not so well-known) Australian songs from across the decades that have been given the Merc rock & roll treatment.

The first single from this release is their cover of Daryl Braithwaite's 'As The Days Go By'. Other cuts that feature on 'Celebration' include 'Who Listens To The Radio' (The Sports), 'That's When I Think Of You' (1927), 'Bad Habits' (Billy Field) and 'Hey There, Georgie Girl' (The Seekers).

"It's been an extremely rewarding experience for us to explore some of the best Aussie songs on the new album," frontman Rai Thistlethwayte says.

"Perhaps the biggest celebration, though, is for all live music fans. After a few crazy years, we're all still here together. Gigs are back; and we want to be there to help you let your hair down!"



Known as one of our hardest working touring bands, all this travel does not leave a lot of down-time. So when the group are not on the tour bus, what do they like to do in their spare time?

Rai Thistlethwayte (vocals, guitar, keys)

I love ice skating. It's the fastest thing on two legs when it needs to be, great exercise, but you don't sweat excessively. It's a year-round activity being indoor so you can do it on rainy days and it cools you down when it's hot outside.

They play songs while you skate! It can be social, it's got a fun, technical learning curve to it and I've found 'skating it off' is a great escape/ reflection point if there are things on the mind.

In my teens I lived right next door to a champion skating family, and another friend down the road played ice hockey, and naturally there was a rink nearby. One summer the hockey player lent me his skates while he was on a family holiday and from that moment I was hooked.

I only picked it up again during COVID but. . . I'm hooked again!

Phil Stack (bass guitar)

I used to love middle distance running. You wouldn't think it now, but 800m and 1,500m track races were my forte. It started when I ran 34.09 mins over 7.5kms as a nine year old in the annual Western Plains Zoo Run and after this, it became my life before I became obsessed with all things music.

I grew up in the country and my dad would drive me around to all these events over the country. On the track I ran bare foot as I wasn't used to running in spikes and when I came to the big city to race on the rubber tracks I would wrap my feet in Elastoplast just like Zola Bud. It was rough and I would get spiked in the heels all the time!

I peaked when was around age 12, 13 though. I ran 800m in 2mins and 23sec when I was a 12 years old and I only just found out my region record stood for something like 20 years!


Matt Smith (lead guitar)

I've got a lot of hobbies, but the one that I've spent most of my time (and money) doing in the last few years is fishing. I've always loved being on the ocean. Growing up in Wollongong, surfing, diving and fishing were part of our everyday lives.

Since moving to sunny Queensland in the last five years, fishing has taken over as my favourite ocean activity. There is something about catching a feed while having a beer and checking out the weird and wonderful world on the open waters you just can't beat.

Tim Firth (drums)

I got into running in my late 20s as a way of battling fatigue (pretty weird right?) but it really helped me. I found a morning run can really set up your whole day. As I ran further I got the 'running bug' and wanted to try a few races, with the marathon being the ultimate dream.

They say the marathon is not 42kms, it's 1,000km with a 42k victory lap, and they were right. The training is serious. My first two marathons were terrible! I basically had to drag myself across the finish line, but this year I finally smashed it in a time of 3hours 40mins.

Running's a great way to maintain your health during touring with all the bad food and good beer. It's the perfect hangover buster!

And what do the band do when they are all together on the tour bus?

It's gonna sound crazy, but Thirsty Merc's members are all avid hackysackers. Life on the road involves a lot of heavy equipment, but a hackysack is a small, lightweight, soft item, so it's easy to carry anywhere.

Thirsty Merc finds playing hackysack is a sure-fire path to hardcore foot and coordination skills, not to mention the mental health benefits. It's been a pre-gig pastime for years, it's a great way to ease tension and fatigue from the touring life, and it's a great way to keep fit.

There has even been talk of an official hackysack team, where the band could start a tournament between themselves and other bands. It's all in the name of fun, of course, which is what it's all about.


Thirsty Merc 2022 Tour Dates

Thu 4 Aug - Dunwoodys Hotel (Cairns)
Fri 5 Aug - The Anthill (Mareeba)
Sat 6 Aug - Mansfield Hotel (Townsville)
Sun 7 Aug - Reef Gateway Hotel (Airlie Beach)
Thu 11 Aug - Cleveland Sands Hotel (Brisbane)
Fri 12 Aug - The Triffid (Brisbane)
Sat 13 Aug - Coolangatta Hotel (Gold Coast)
Sun 14 Aug - Moonee Beach Tavern (NSW)
Wed 24 Aug - The Factory Theatre (Sydney)
Thu 25 Aug - Centro CBD (Wollongong)
Fri 26 Aug - SS&A (Albury)
Sun 28 Aug - Royal Hotel (Meredith)
Wed 31 Aug - Volta (Ballarat)
Thu 1 Sep - The Corner Hotel (Melbourne)
Fri 2 Sep - Live At The Bundy (Bundalaguah)
Sat 3 Sep - Country Rocks Festival (Bungendore)
Sun 4 Sep - Huntlee Tavern (Branxton)
Thu 8 Sep - The Gov (Adelaide)
Fri 9 Sep - The Setts Bar (Mildura)

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