Thirsty Merc are performing in Yamba on Friday night.
Thirsty Merc are performing in Yamba on Friday night.

Thirsty Merc 'Back To Grind' after Shifting Gears

AFTER the terrible tragedy Thirsty Merc endured last year, the death of their stage manager and almost losing their drummer in an horrific car accident, lead singer Rai Thistlethwayte said their only option was to soldier on.

"We definitely had to, we had a lot of work in the book during that period and a good chunk of it under way when everything changed instantly. We had to re-evaluate a lot things quickly but strangely, work was a way of dealing with a small part of what was going on."

The lead singer said it had taken a little while but they now feel they have turned a corner with this latest series of shows.

"It's 2016, we're doing a completely different tour so things are more positive on a lot of levels after an incredibly dark end of last year."

The car crash in country Victoria at the end of September 2015 killed their stage manager and friend Shane Cooper and also seriously injured their drummer Mick Skelton leaving him in a coma for several days. Rai and two more band members were travelling separately leaving them shattered and the tour in turmoil, but he said the support they received was overwhelming.

"We got a lot, from a lot of people. It did help us through so now this year we feel we can get back to work, Back to Grind, as we've called this tour."

The tour continues to promote the same album they began to showcase when tragedy struck last year. Shifting Gears may have begun its journey as a straight rock album but after the life-changing turn of events, it could just as likely express how they are feeling now.

"We are definitely in a new head space with this new tour and new chapter for the band. It's been good for us to get out there again."

Rai said drummer Mick is back playing with them again and will be on stage for Friday's Yamba Bowling Club show.

"He's back up and running and in a good place. It's amazing and inspiring to see him going so well physically and mentally. It's taken a long time to put it all behind him. He's still got a way to go but being out there working again, he sounds fantastic. The outlook is very positive and we are all stoked."

Rai said despite moving on with the band and the touring, and the great response they were getting with the album and the live shows, he was much more appreciative these days for the good things that come their way.

"That absolutely unforeseen event was a big reminder that you get a very limited time on this earth so make the most of it. We are very lucky here in Australia. We have an amazing landscape, great scenery and if you are prepared to work hard it can be really rewarding.

"It's been a mixed 18 months for us all emotionally. The lows have been difficult and testing but can they can offer as interesting insights as the highs."

Thirsty Merc are Back to Grind on Friday night at the Yamba Bowling Club. Tickets on sale at the club.



PACIFIC HIGHWAY: Changed traffic conditions

PACIFIC HIGHWAY: Changed traffic conditions

Slow lane closures will be in place while the work is carried out

How much rain did Yamba receive last night?

How much rain did Yamba receive last night?

Grafton received almost no rain yesterday

Why Council said no to $116k worth of funding

premium_icon Why Council said no to $116k worth of funding

Council turned down more than $116k saying it had "no other option"

Local Partners