Freetime: Devin Cole, Cole Supply Co.
Their look is professional: starched shirts, nice ties and not a hair out of place. That would be the way they look for their day jobs. It’s a whole different story for their after-hours gigs. Cole Supply Co.’s Devin Cole, Cliff Giannuzzi and Chris Morrison are rock ‘n’ roll musicians.
“It’s nice to get on a stage and rock out. It is total freedom, whether a practice or a gig,” says Devin, president of the Benicia, Calif.-based jan/san distributor. “I’m not sure that people who know us in the distribution business know about our musical personas. On one hand, we all have great careers. On the other hand, we’re passionate about our music.”
Cliff, Cole Supply’s vice president, and Devin have played in the same band, SFO, for more than 20 years. SFO, which stands for Six Feet Over, is an original hard rock band with a blues influence featuring Cliff on guitar and Devin on drums. Along with two other members, the band plays at dive bars and other small venues in the San Francisco Bay area. They rehearse weekly and play a show about once a month. SFO has even opened for both Blue Oyster Cult and Night Ranger.
“We love to perform and really let it fly, says Devin. “A lot of our friends, family and co-workers will come and see us. It’s fun to get out with people we know. They definitely see a different side of us.”
Devin was drumming with SFO’s guitar/bass player, Scott Reese, who recruited Cliff to join them on lead guitar. When Devin and Cliff met, they went from jamming to talking about business strategy, and ultimately, Cliff joined the Cole Supply team.
It’s a similar story for Chris, who met Devin and Cliff when he filled in as SFO’s drummer for six months.
“I ended up working as a driver, and ultimately an account manager for Cole Supply,” says Chris.
Chris’ band, Case of the Crazy, started a few years ago playing hard rock, but is now “a lot tamer than we used to be.” The two bands are playing a gig together this summer in Oakland, Calif., each playing a one-hour set.
“There are very few things you can really pour your soul into, put it out there, and get an instant response from the audience,” says Chris. “It’s a great feeling when you get rewarded with a positive response from the crowd. It’s everything I could ask for.”
Music to these guys is more than a performance — it’s an “escape.”
“It takes my mind off of the pressures of life and gives me something to look forward to,” says Cliff. “I like the challenge, because an instrument is something you can never fully master. I also love the inspiration of looking forward to a show.”
“If you feel like you want to play, do it,” adds Devin. “The thing about music is: the more time you put into it, the more you get out of it.”
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