ON the road to Melbourne, Rai Thistlethwayte is on a mission.
He needs a car part.
But it's not for his old petrol-guzzling Mercedes Benz - the inspiration behind the name of his band, Thirsty Merc.
"I actually have no idea where that car is now," he said.
"It had serious mechanical issues and my dad tried to resurrect it.
"It was built in 1979; after a while of trying even my dad couldn't fix it.
"I'm very practical these days; I drive a Toyota HiLux with a canopy."
Speaking ahead of Thirsty Merc's road trip to Bright and Albury next month, lead singer Thistlethwayte said the band would celebrate a milestone here.
He said Thirsty Merc would turn 18, coinciding with the SS&A Albury gig on March 7.
"The SS&A gig almost to the moment, will be the same time that we become legal," Thistlethwayte said.
"The band is reaching adult status, but not necessarily maturity!"
With Thirsty Merc a regular performer on the Border, Thistlethwayte said he always enjoyed getting back here.
"(Albury-Wodonga) It's my favourite inland city," he said.
"I like that you're three hours from Canberra, 550 clicks to Sydney, you can get to Sydney relatively easily.
"But the real clincher is that you're only nine hours from Adelaide, which you can do in a day; you can't do that from Sydney, it's 15 hours.
"It's the most logistically-intelligent place to be!
"To someone like myself, it just makes sense: it's a very-very well situated place."
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It was recorded over two nights at the Gasometer Hotel in Collingwood, Victoria, in late 2017 and mixed and produced by the band's long-time collaborator, Lindsay Gravina.
Thirsty Merc Live! showcases the banter of the band and raucous audience reaction, putting listeners front and centre for all their hits including In the Summertime, Tommy and Krista, Someday Someday and 20 Good Reasons.
Post-Albury show, Thistlethwayte will head back overseas to join American musician Joe Satriani's band.
Thistlethwayte will play keyboard during a seven-week tour of Europe starting in April.
"We do rehearsals near San Francisco," he said.
"But I'll be back in time for Birdsville Big Red Bash."