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Story Time: "Hoy Thirsty Merc"

This story is from 2015, where we still had live music and

It was a Monday night, and the Lansdowne was usually the spot where some of the best musicians in Sydney would come together to jam, or just have a drink.

A prominent Australian singer/ songwriter by the name of Rai Thistlethwayte was a patron of the jam. Sometimes he would get up and play a couple of tunes, and other times he was there to chill and socialize.

I had seen the Thirsty Merc front man there quite often; I had always been a big fan of his band’s music, but was too nervous to ever try to speak to him.

My friend AJ and his band had just finished playing a show the night before, and they were due to fly out in the morning. But before that, they wanted to check out the live scene in Sydney city. A few friends and the promoter of AJ’s Sydney concert accompanied us. We stayed for a while, jammed, had a couple of drinks and at 2am we felt it was time to call it a night; AJ, Andrew and Danny had their flight back to the United States in a few hours, so we started to leave the venue.

By pure coincidence, Rai had just stepped out and was also leaving. He was walking ahead of us towards his car parked a few metres from the Lansdowne. I finally worked up the courage to say something to him.

“Hey Rai!” I shouted. Trying to curb my enthusiasm and stifle my inner fan-boy

“Hey!” He retorted, as he turned around.

“I’m a big fan of your music, mate”, I stated, reaching for a handshake.

“Thanks man, I appreciate that”, He replied as he met me halfway.

We shook hands and he continued towards his car. I was quite proud of myself. I had always made it a point to try to network and meet more musicians every time I went to the jam nights. I was quite chuffed that I finally spoke with him and I was hopeful that next time I saw him, we might be able to have a proper conversation.

No one else in our collective group of people knew who he was. No one seemed to care to ask, except for the concert promoter. He nudged me and asked in his thick Filipino accent,

“Hoy, who is that guy?”

“Oh that’s Rai, the lead singer of Thirsty Merc!” I replied cheerfully, I felt so very cool, because I had just shaken hands with a rock-star. I felt pretty good, like I had accomplished something.

But this feeling wouldn’t last. The promoter then proceeded to shout out,


And I watched in absolute horror as Rai moved quickly towards his car with the promoter in hot pursuit. As Rai jumped into his car and started to drive off, this large Filipino man was slapping the back of the Mazda coupe still shouting,


I buried my face in my palms. I couldn’t believe what had just happened.

Every other instance that I have seen Rai at any of the city jams, I have always felt too embarrassed to say anything because his first impressions of me were tainted by that moment.

I doubt that he would remember, but I still cringe every time I think back to the night that I met a rock-star and then immediately wished I hadn’t.

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