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Ex-Turtle, Wall Street ‘Happy Together’

He once played lead guitar for the Turtles, but now David Nelson is a big name on Wall Street.
/ Source: Reuters

Guitar picks and stock picks may mesh more than you might think.

“Traders are kind of like rock stars,” said David Nelson, a lead guitarist for The Turtles who traded in his 1959 Stratocaster, long hair and leather pants for a briefcase and suspenders in the world’s financial capital.

“It’s an exciting personality -- and hedge funds are ’la creme de la creme,”’ said Nelson, 56, who is now rocking on a new stage as the head of his own hedge fund company, DC Nelson Asset Management.

He made the big-time playing with The Turtles, the 1960s band known for such hits as “Happy Together” that regrouped in the late 1970s to tour.

Nelson, whose former rock uniform was “anything to scare the mothers of every child in the audience,” left the Turtles in 1991 after nearly 20 years and earned his stock broker license.

Short-haired and well-dressed, Nelson now sits in front of blinking computer screens in his office for 13 hours a day.

His unusual transition from rock to stocks was not driven by a desire to get serious, but by his fear of going deaf.

“We used to get about as loud as a jet engine taking off. Every time I hit the stage I was in pain,” he said.