Hugely In demand Australian bassist Phil Stack is one of a rare breed who seamlessly crosses genres from Jazz to Rock , achieving equal amounts of recognition and success in both. A force of nature on the double bass, Stack attacks the instrument with an energy, vigour and passion almost unparalleled. In 2002 he along with Rai Thistlethwayte formed Rock band Thirsty Merc, going on to record and produce multi platinum selling albums and Receiving Aria Nominations for the group. Thirsty Merc still tour extensively. Stack has also performed with Branford Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, Mark Murphy, Tommy Emmanuel, Lalo Shifrin, Jimmy Barnes, Daryl Braithwaite, Michael Buble’ and Troy Cassar Daley. Stack returns to Adelaide to play at The Garden Of Unearthly Delights and he tells us a bit more about the show.

It must be great to be heading to Adelaide to play The Garden Of Unearthly Delights after a tough 2020?
Damn straight ! I played the Adelaide Fringe A few years back with Paul McDermott and I truly thought, I have to bring my own thing to this festival sometime, the atmosphere in the whole city is Electric!

Did you use the time last year to write and work on new music?
I sure did. I try and write a little every day. I also used the time to work on the necessary skills to get better at recording at home in general, I’ve only started using a computer to record in the last few years, I’m pretty old school!

Was your own personal resilience tested during this time?
At times yes. However, I’m getting better these days of realising that I can’t control the world around me, only my reaction, so that makes things easier.

Is your passion jazz or all forms of music?
So many forms. My Solo album Colourful Noisy can hardly be considered ‘Jazz’. There’s plenty of that in the writing but I think it shows my passion for ‘song songs’. I mean, songwriters of the 70s, soul, rock and much in between. I thought I’d ‘specialise’ by now but I just haven’t wanted to.

Are you building towards an album?
Truth is I don’t know. I’m just making songs in my studio. I’ve already written two albums worth of material but I think it’s getting stronger so I’ll keep going !

What can fans expect to hear when you play in Adelaide?
It’s honest heartfelt music. Songs that have kept me alive and purposeful for the last five years. Material from My 2015 EP Lap Around The Sun and 2020 Album Colourful Noisy. When I play these stripped back in solo or duo mode, I play some on double bass and some on the piano. I’ll also probably open things up a bit in the double bass with some impro sections. It’s pretty exposed, but fun

Are things still bubbling away in the background for Thirsty Merc?
Absolutely! Actually in the foreground! We tour six months of the year. Probably longer this year as we all have to stay in the country. Albeit, a bit of a reduced number of gigs, trying to adjust to the rapid changes and lockdowns that are happening, but yes, we play a lot and I love it.

Where’s your favourite spot in Adelaide to go when you are here?
Amalfi’s for lunch.

What’s next for Phil Stack?
New music!

Interview By Rob Lyon

Phil Stack plays The Spiegeltent at The Garden of Unearthly Delights on Friday March 5. Tickets from FringeTix.

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