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Mick Beeton - Newcastle

NEWCASTLE local and Army Warrant Officer Class Two Mick Beeton was the driving beat behind a Forces Entertainment Tour playing shows for Aussie troops in the Middle East Region from October 22-27.

The former drummer from local 90s band The Slots put his thumping to use in an Army Band that backed two up-and-coming female singers playing shows to entertain Australian troops deployed on operations.

"Playing for the troops here and at home is the best part of our job," Mick said.

"We do play a lot of shows for people in the wider community, which is good PR but nothing's better than playing for our people."

Mick first joined the Army Reserve as a drummer in 1992 before signing-up full-time six years later.

"I had a high school music teacher that was in the Reserves and I was inspired that way," he said.

"I started off playing piano as a kid, I played piano and guitar in the Army Band but drums is more my thing."

Army band members often provide sound and lighting crews for Forces Entertainment Tours but Mick said this was one of the first to use Army musicians to back civilian entertainers.

"It's good to get over there and play for the troops," he said.

"They don’t get up and sing and dance but you can tell we're making a difference. We bring some Aussie tunes to try and make them feel at home."

During his time in the Army, Mick has deployed to East Timor and went to Bosnia on exchange with the British Army.

He played in The Slots when they opened for BB King in Newcastle during 1997 but was happy with his full time Army job.

"Music was in my blood and to be able to fall into something you love and get paid for it is fantastic," he said.

"Plus you get to represent and serve your country."

Mick grew up hearing artists like the Doobie Brothers, Dire Straits and Fleetwood Mac thanks to his parents but was reluctant to name a single genre as his favourite.

"I like listening to country music, heavy metal, jazz, big band," he said.

"But it's the science and mathematics of the music that interests me most."

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.