Dave Nelson

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Comparing Wall Street traders to rock & roll stars, journeyman rocker Dave Nelson became a financier in the early '90s. One of his major complaints about his previous trade has been the excessive volume…
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Comparing Wall Street traders to rock & roll stars, journeyman rocker Dave Nelson became a financier in the early '90s. One of his major complaints about his previous trade has been the excessive volume used by groups on-stage; ironically, Nelson's discography tilts toward live performances by bands he joined well after their recording careers had begun. He should not be confused with the San Francisco guitarist and bandleader, normally credited as David Nelson, who performs with groups such as the New Riders of the Purple Sage.

The latter Nelson's career has a contrastingly clear aesthetic stream running through it. As for the guitarist who now picks stock options rather than licks, his virtuosity is inevitably a confusing stylistic message that with a name this common might suggest more than one person at work. It is the same Dave Nelson, however, who joined the prog rock outfit Nektar in 1977, who became a member of a revived touring version of the Turtles, and who pulled the strings for David Johansen of the glam rock New York Dolls in the very shadow of Wall Street itself.

This time line begins with a potential blurring of national boundaries, Nektar being commonly mistaken for a German band when it is actually British, but Nelson himself being an American recruited for the Magic Is a Child album during a period when Nektar itself was based in the States. Nelson replaced a longstanding lead guitarist, Roye Albrighton -- band folklore tells of Nelson "working his ass off" learning Albrighton's complex progressive rock riffs, a condition that, if permanent, would create great difficulty for Nelson in the business world if he needed to sit down at a desk. Nektar broke up the very same year, but Nelson's discographical presence is boosted by the release of live recordings from New York City during his short stay with the band.

Producer Don Kirshner signed Nelson soon thereafter, resulting in a single album by a band called Spy, not just progressive rock but symphonic rock utilizing an electric violinist. The group's 1980 CBS release has established something of a cult following; at the time of its release, however, it was considered a dud and Spy quit its musical snooping after being dropped by the label. Nelson's subsequent commitments overlapped: in the first half of the '80s he toured and cut three albums with Johansen while maintaining a more than decade-long commitment to the Turtles that ended in 1991. Nelson produced as well as performed on the 1992 Turtles Captured Live release on Rhino.