Brokers That Rock
Joan Baez and Bob Dylan were the musical artists that first entranced ABD’s CFO Mike McCloskey when he was a youngster growing up in Ireland.
His colleague Steve Moore, an account executive, was lured by the electrified guitars of Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. Later on he got to know and love the progressive rock of Yes, Genesis and Pink Floyd.
EPIC senior vice president Dave Hock, like many of us, first revered the Beatles.
But then it was the languid country rock of the Eagles and Jackson Browne and the keening vocals of the Canadian thunderbird Neil Young that awed him.
As teenagers, all three sought out chord books and battered acoustic guitars with which to explore their newfound passion.
Now all three insurance brokerage professionals make up Men Behaving Loudly, a classic rock cover band that plays benefit shows throughout the San Francisco Bay area.
The three execs met at San Mateo, Calif.-based ABD Insurance and Financial Services back in the late ’90s. Moore, who has been in bands since the seventh grade, recalls watching Hock and McCloskey play a show for the company Christmas party.
“I was watching them play and thinking I would love to be up there with them at that Christmas party next year,” said Moore.
“So I got together to practice with them for the next year and never left,” he said.
It’s been more than 15 years now that Men Behaving Loudly have done what their name implies. They rock out at everything from fundraisers for Alzheimer’s and the American Heart Association to events for cash-strapped preschools.
They charge nothing, but their return is sizable.
Each of the brokerage executives talks about the importance of being able to do their part, however small, in helping along a nonprofit that in some cases seeks to wipe out a dreaded disease.
“We all know somebody that has MS, or somebody that had pancreatic cancer — a quick killer — I think we all have been touched by that,” McCloskey said.
For the past 12 years, Men Behaving Loudly played the San Jose installment of the Walk to End Alzheimer’s event. The organization has raised $225 million at such walks across the country since its origin in 1989.
“Terrific organization; great event,” EPIC’s Hock said.
“Most of us have friends or family members who have been touched by this disease in one way or another, and I am no exception. This definitely adds some poignancy and additional meaning to it,” Hock said.
“It’s such a great feeling to give back and do what we can for these great organizations. And of course it’s a lot of fun for us,” said Moore.
A typical Men Behaving Loudly set might be bookended with the Stones’ “Honky Tonk Woman” and “Jumping Jack Flash.”
In between you could find yourself grooving to Steve Miller’s “Jet Airliner,” released in 1977, or the Byrds’ classic “Mr. Spaceman,” which hails from 1967.
VIDEO: Men Behaving Loudly, performing at the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in San Jose, Calif.
All three men love power chords. But to a man, they also love their jobs with insurance brokerages.
“Quite frankly I could spend 12 hours a day at it,” said McCloskey of his position with ABD Insurance and Financial Services.
“But the music helps me balance things out and I think I’m the better for it,” he said.
“It’s a challenging job and never gets boring,” Moore said of his work, which now focuses on the tech sector.
“But it can certainly be stressful at times and playing music is such a great release,” he said.
For Hock, having fun as a musician is a good reminder of how to go about your work life.
“It is very important to remember that what you do professionally needs to be fun as well,” Hock said.
“You have to enjoy your work.”
Lugging amps at four and five in the morning is not easy for men in middle age, but these men do it.
They don’t golf or while away the time in other ways. Music is their thing. And the joy they seem to get from it appears to be endless.
“We can sit in Dave’s garage, eating pizza and having a Guinness and playing the same song that we’ve played hundreds, thousands of times before and still get incredible enjoyment out of it,” McCloskey said.
And playing in front of people?
“There is a little bit of ego gratification in it,” Hock said.
“And a little fantasy. Maybe an aggregation of both.”
“We get to pretend for a time that we are rock and rollers and we get positive reinforcement, which helps,” he said.