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Title: Catching up with Thirsty Merc (July 04)
Interviewee: Thirsty Merc - Rai Thistlethwayte
Date Published: 19.07.2004
Pic:Courtesy of Warner Music Australia

Who are your 3-5 favourite Australian artists?
AC/DC, Renee Geyer. Can I say Crowded House, pleez? Bummer, they are NZ. Oh alright! Maybe The Living End? INXS? Too hard! Maybe James Muller, (jazz guitarist). Nick Cave.

What are your 3-5 most played Australian releases? Why?
I must say that in my formative years (perhaps still goin' on now) I loved cranking the AC/DC. Acca Dacca has influenced rock in general, on a planet called Earth.

Silverchair, talented - and Australia’s answer to making a big go of '90s internationally received rock. Excellent!

When I was immersing myself in the soul thing - Renee Geyer, I had a tape of an album she did in 1980 called "Winner" (which she said in her biography was "a bit of a loser") but I loved it. She had Stevie Wonder’s rhythm section on it in L.A. and her singing is flawless and with soul to BURRRRN!

What do you think is the most influential Australian music release and why?
Maybe um, there really is too much great stuff that’s come out of Australia, whether it’s again AC/DC, Johnny O’Keefe or INXS... or maybe, wait!

Maybe it’s "20,000 Watt RSL" by Midnight Oil. So distinctively Australian, songs with an ‘axe to grind’ message and now the guy’s running (again) for Parliament… can’t get more Aussie than that, mate.

Which Australian performer (past or present) would you most like to work with?
Again, is this possibly the hardest interview ever, because on different occasions there’s so much on offer! Jeez, let’s do a dark, brooding disc with Mr Cave, I just broke up with someone and feel suicidal.

Can you describe one of your most memorable Australian music moments to date:
Definitely running into Rodney Rude at the ARIAs last year and having him tell me, "I should have won the award for best violin album, cause I practiced by fiddling with ya sister…"

What are your three favourite music websites? for sure (possibly the best indie music informant on the superhighway)... is great for reassuring us that the scene is alive and KICKIN!

Also, there’s one called and it’s one that I’ve grown to love, as it features the other guys in my band, my good friends Matt, Phil and Karl, and ALSO TELLS PEOPLE TO COME TO OUR GIGS SO YEAH PLEASE DON’T HATE ME FOR THIS SHAMELESS AND SUBTLE PIECE OF SELF PROMOTION.


What, when are where was the first local gig you ever attened?
Most probably a thing called The Big Backyard in the Domain, years back now. Caligula, Def FX, the Oils, it was a great gig… can’t remember many before that.

Can you tell a story behind your latest release?
We produced our album with a guy who lives in Melbourne (Lindsay Gravina – talented producer) and he doesn’t like anyone taking photos of him. Or video. Or anything. He is so into not being captured on film, tape, or anything, I once filmed him for about 10 minutes without him knowing, and when I watched it back, HE WASN’T ON THE VIDEO TAPE!!! He is most definitely a ghost. Only kidding. No, the story behind our latest release is buy it or I’ll kill you.

Lastly, what do you think is the most important issue facing Australian music today?
Downloads, the issue being that everybody’s talking about it more than it actually being a problem, which wastes valuable time and takes the focus off more productive pastimes, such as surfing for porn.

The other issue that as a band we have faced was an incredible locust plague which wiped out an entire city.

The BIGGEST ONE is POKIES! Blow up the bloody pokies!!!!! Then again, live music lives and breathes in Australia, and it’s making a resurgence!YYEAAAHHH!!

Related Material
 Thirsty Merc
 Warner Music Australia

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