Professors from the E. J. Ourso College of Business, and members of local cover band Capital Gains, practice for an upcoming performance. The group will perform on the Parade Grounds’ Main stage as a part of LSU Day, April 24.

E. J. Ourso College of Business cover band to perform at LSU Day

There is a house at the end of the street; all is quiet outside. Inside, evidence of a family is carefully placed. There are pictures of children, graduation poses and wedding day photos. Among them hangs a framed album cover, “Introducing…The Beatles.” There is a slight hum in the photo frames—the familiar beat of Queen’s “We Will Rock You” fills the home, overlooking a lake. It’s the sound of four professors and one student from the E. J. Ourso College of Business, their band known as Capital Gains.

It all started with a serious interest in karaoke at the E. J. Ourso College of Business. Okay, and a little bit of a chance—LSU Finance Professor Don Chance, that is. When Chance arrived at the university in 2003, he wanted to start a band within the business school. However, musical talent wasn’t exactly running on high.

“I’ve pictured myself being in a band since I was about 13, when I was first learning guitar,” said Chance, the James C. Flores Endowed Chair of MBA Studies. “I was in a band briefly in high school, and for the entire seven years I have been at LSU, I wanted to get a band going.”

Nearly five years later, an accounting professor attempted to convince Chance to join a karaoke practice; she even said Chance could perform solo.

But Chance had never played alone and didn’t intend to. Being a businessman, he made a deal. The karaoke group would find a singer, and Chance would play the acoustic guitar for a performance of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide.”

After the practice was schedule, Chance thought of Rudy Hirschheim, the Ourso Family Distinguished Professor of Information Systems and Decision Sciences, who had mentioned he played bass.

Hirschheim and Chance arrived at karaoke practice, where Chance discovered Hirschheim hadn’t played the bass in about 40 years—his classic 1960’s Paul McCartney Hofner bass was nearly stuck to the inside of its case.

“I played in a number of bands in the ‘60s but then gave it up until Christmas 2008, at which point I realized how much fun it was playing music, especially in front of an audience,” Hirschheim said.

Enter Associate Professor of Marketing Judith Anne Garretson Folse and Assistant Professor of Marketing Julie Guidry—the karaoke masters. The four of them put together a few songs, including “Landslide,” and performed at a party a few days later.

After the party, they decided to practice on a regular basis. Hirschheim purchased a bass and an amp, Folse owned a Martin acoustic guitar and Guidry played drums in high school and had a tambourine and a cowbell; there’s always room for more cowbell.

“I had a drum set in high school, but I never envisioned singing in band,” Guidry said. “I actually thought I was a horrible singer when I was young. It wasn’t until I started doing karaoke a few years that I realized my shyness was the problem.”

Folse said she thought about being in a band as a singer, but she never thought she would play guitar.

“I love to sing and always hoped I would run into someone who played guitar or piano,” Folse said. “At the time, I thought it would be cool to perform at small venues, where the band is more in the background.”

Folse became interested in learning guitar when a friend in her doctoral program suggested she take it up as a form of stress relief. However, Folse said after she bought a guitar, she got stressed trying to teach herself how to play.

“I picked it back up once I moved to LSU but didn’t start really practicing until we formed the band,” Folse said. “I’ve always said my first instrument is my voice, and playing the guitar is definitely an added bonus.”

With practices in full swing, there was business to tend to—an official band name. As business professors, they knew they wanted something with a business ring to it. Chance wanted to call the band Chapter 11, in reference to the United States Bankruptcy Code, which allows reorganization. However, the group came up with Capital Gains, although the group jokes there were no investment accounts on the planet that had capital gains at that time.

Capital Gains started performing at parties, despite having no drummer. In August 2009, they invited MBA student, and drummer, Micah Blouin to join them. Blouin knew Chance from taking his financial management class.

Today, the group performs primarily at business school functions and private parties. They will also perform on the Parade Ground’s main stage as a part of LSU Day.

“I would like to play at a number of high profile conferences where our academic colleagues are present,” Hirschheim said.

The group performed for the American Marketing Association in February at the Audubon Institute Aquarium in New Orleans. Hirscheim said he would like to perform at the Information Systems Community annual conference and the Finance Community’s annual conference.

Capital Gains plays cover songs ranging from Don McClean’s “American Pie” and John Mellencamp’s “Hurts so Good” to “This One’s for the Girls” by Martina McBride and “Soak up the Sun” by Sheryl Crow.

“I love the songs by the Rolling Stones and Fleetwood Mac best,” Folse said. “But, I also enjoy playing alternative country as well. Any song that gets the crowd dancing would be one of my favorites.”

Of course, the group gets a huge reaction from the juxtaposition of being business professors who know how to rock.

“One really memorable moment was at a party when someone walked right up to me during a song and said ‘I can’t believe you do this and finance,’” Chance said.

Folse said people act very surprised when they find out about the group, but it is a pleasant reaction.

“I think my students were more surprised than everyone else,” Folse said. “Well, at least they laughed a lot when I told them that I was in a band. I’m hoping that was a good laugh.”

Hirschheim said the reaction that he plays in a band with other business professors is usually disbelief.

“Most people think we are just a garage band until they hear us, at which point they realize we’re decent musicians who really get into our music,” Hirschheim said. “So it’s a great source of amusement for us to watch their reactions change.”

As for the future of Capital Gains, Chance said he hopes it doesn’t turn into “Capital Losses.”

“I hope we continue to play,” Folse said. “It is a great source of fun. My band members are great, and we’ve all become friends.”

Holly Phillips | Editor | Office of Communications & University Relations
April 2010