THIRSTY FOR FUN
A stint doing it tough in the US has given Thirsty Merc singer Rai Thistlethwayte a renewed appreciation for life Down Under
Sleeping on mates’ couches, doing $50 gigs in piano bars, trawling the internet for money-saving food tips – the life of a musician chasing the American dream bears a striking similarity to the backpacker existence.
Rai Thistlethwayte, like thousands before him, encountered the stark reality of pursuing a music career in the world’s most lucrative market when he set off for Los Angeles almost four years ago after his band Thirsty Merc split with their record company.
The pop rock radiofriendly band had sold more than 200,000 albums and singles in Australia when they decided to take a break.
Thistlethwayte, then 31, packed a bag and bought a ticket to LA. “I ... had never lived overseas like a lot of my mates because I had been given this great opportunity to make original music with some of my best friends and tour that for years,” he says. “I wanted to do the travel thing, but combine that with music. I didn’t think it was going to be as terrifying as it was; you are just haemorrhaging your savings and every Australian musician or actor over there has probably gone through that.’’
Thistlethwayte and his band mates reconnected last year for an acoustic tour of Australia and found themselves enjoying it. The 20 Good Reasons rockers then launched a Pledge Music campaign to raise funds to make another record, Shifting Gears. Fans rallied and Thirsty Merc reached their goal – believed to be about $50,000 – in two days. The band have just kicked off a 41date tour of Australia.
There was some doubt whether the tour would go ahead after a car accident killed one member of their team and injured their drummer. A percentage of the proceeds from every ticket sold for the rest of The Good Life tour will go towards their families.
Thirsty Merc will be appearing at the Coolangatta Hotel tonight.