FORMER Singleton local and Army Lance Corporal Dave Andrews belted out rocking riffs on rhythm guitar as part of a Forces Entertainment Tour playing shows for Aussie troops in the Middle East Region from October 22-27.
Dave played guitar and sang backing vocals with a band of Army musicians who supported two up-and-coming female singers playing shows to entertain Australian troops deployed on operations.
"This is the gritty end of Band Corps," he said.
"We do so much easy stuff it's good to be exposed to what's going on overseas. That also helps you relate to the Army guys who you perform for back home."
After finishing Singleton High School in 1997, Dave took up a performance scholarship at the Sydney Entertainment Centre then worked as a musical freelancer playing in a theatre restaurant, on radio jingles and singing the national anthem at football games.
Dave joined the Army as a reservist cook in 2003 before later being offered a job as a full time Army musician.
"The Director of Band Corps happened to be in Newcastle during a recruitment day," Dave said.
"So I played him a couple of songs and he offered me a full time job."
A lot of ceremonial work followed after Dave transferred to the full time Army including playing at events hosted by the Prime Minister and Governor General.
Dave also travelled with the band to places including Thailand, France and Switzerland.
While liking the job stability and travel that comes with being in the Army, Dave most enjoyed the opportunity to improve on the musical skills.
"I'm always honing my craft and getting better at what I do because I'm still learning," he said.
"I get to work with a lot of really good musicians so that really helps."
He has met famous Australian singers including Guy Sebastian and John Farnham.
Dave can play keyboard, banjo and perform vocals but prefers being on guitar.
"I like contributing to the music, singing is great but you feel a little bit separate from the band if you're just singing," he said.
After growing-up with his parents playing Fleetwood Mac and John Williamson, Dave said he's now a Radiohead fan but doesn’t have much time to hear new tunes outside of work.
"I don’t listen to a whole lot of music because you get swamped by it," he said.
"Part of our job is learning new songs all the time so the last thing you feel like doing when you want to relax is listen to music."
Australian entertainers and Australian Army musicians performed for deployed personnel in the Middle East Region (MER) during a Forces Entertainment Tour from October 22-27. The tour performed to Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel deployed to Australia's main base in the MER then played to troops deployed to Afghanistan as part of Operation Slipper.
The tour featured Australian singers Jade Holland and Virginia Lillye who were backed by Army musicians from the First Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment.
Adam Rozenbachs entertained the crowds with his stand-up comedy and model Allira Cohrs was the MC for the events.