With their classic rock ‘n’ roll sound incorporating underlying blues and funk, Breaking LUSY has become a phenomenon to be reckoned with. As Senior Director, Shared Services and Breaking LUSY bass player John O’Connor puts it, “Where funk, rock and blues meet – that’s Breaking LUSY.”
Breaking LUSY all started in October 2012 when Chief Legal Officer and Breaking LUSY producer Debbie Hoffman, a huge Styx fan and classic rock ‘n’ roll enthusiast, envisioned a performance by a band made up of D-Riskers at the company holiday party on December 8. Company executives loved the idea, so Debbie got to work recruiting:
Kim Lanham, Project Management Office Vice President and fellow music lover, and Debbie decided that Kim, with her great project management skills, would be a perfect band manager, and Debbie would use her legal and networking talents as the band’s producer. With that, the band members and debut performance were nailed down! Now, the true test was whether these band members actually gelled.
The first band meeting was held on October 30 in a Digital Risk conference room. The agenda: 1. Pick band name 2. Pick set list. Up to this point, the band had been referred to as “Project Backbeat,” or rather the project to build a band to perform at the company holiday party. At one point the band considered “Herding Cats,” a phrase Kim endearingly used when describing how she kept the band members organized and on task.
“I’m sad we didn’t pick Herding Cats,” Tommy said.
It was Leon who later came up with Breaking LUSY, a name that alludes to Digital Risk’s propriety mortgage loan underwriting system. The only problem: the name could offend the IT Department, so the band had to first get their approval. Luckily, the IT Department obliged and the name stuck. Songs on the first set list included “Bad Case of Loving You,” “3 A.M.,” “Forget You,” “Taking Care of Business” and “Smooth.”
Name? Check. Set list? Check. Now the magic: It was at the band’s first practice on November 6 in a Digital Risk training room (among rows of office desks, chairs, computer monitors and projectors) that Breaking LUSY began to groove.
“My first thought was, ‘wow, this really works!’” Debbie said. “That’s when we all knew it would take off. Everyone just got together and started jamming and they sounded great!”
Band practices were going great and the band was really coming together. Yet one question remained: If the band was created solely to perform at a holiday party, what would become of it after?
“We had to figure out how to move forward,” Leon said. “We weren’t just a project anymore, we were Breaking LUSY and we wanted to share our music.” So the band scheduled a gig at The Legendary Why Not Lounge on January 8 in Orlando, FL.
“My favorite moment with Breaking LUSY was that first song, that first gig at Why Not,” Leon said.
“And watching the audience’s jaws drop and realize that we actually do sound good was great,” John added. The band worked incredibly hard preparing for their first performance and it paid off!
“They sounded awesome,” Debbie said. “I was thrilled to see Digital Risk Founder and Chief Executive Officer Peter Kassabov walk into the first performance wearing his new Breaking LUSY t-shirt. “It evidenced the tremendous support for the new company band.”
Since that first concert, the band has regularly played live gigs. They’ve had embarrassing moments, guest performances and epic moments, like when Styx bass player Ricky Phillips attended a concert and gave the band members some musical tips.
Recently, the band has welcomed a new member, Instructional Designer and guitar player, Matt Coxe. Matt has been in the band only a short while, but he has impressed the band with his musical talents.
“Our band is a little different because we all have jobs and we’re doing this for fun, so you get a different atmosphere and a different dynamic,” Matt said. “It’s a fun time.”
So what’s next for the band? Breaking LUSY is set to perform at the Banker Bands Bash in Washington, D.C. on October 28, around the time of the band’s one year anniversary! The band is also looking forward to local gigs at other Digital Risk office locations.
“I’m really looking forward to the gig in D.C. I think this performance will open up a lot of doors for us and I’m very optimistic about the future,” Juan said.
For more information about upcoming Breaking LUSY performances, check back with the Blog for updates. You can also connect with Breaking LUSY on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BreakingLUSY.