Q Magazine

Guest Column – Businessmen, they drink my wine... Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan on leading band & boardroom

Guest Column – Businessmen, they drink my wine... Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan on leading band & boardroom
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Unlike a lot of acts who dream of stadiums JD & The Straight Shot leader James Dolan has first hand experience of one because when he’s not making music he’s a very successful business chap with jobs including that of Executive Chairman of The Madison Square Garden Company, which means overseeing the iconic New York venue plus its sports teams The Knicks and The Rangers. With his band’s album Ballyhoo released early in 2016, he explains in a guest column the attraction of balancing the boardroom with the band…

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I have always loved music. Music affects me like nothing else I have known in my 60 years on this planet. Sometimes it can change the mood I am in. More often it pushes the intensity of my mood and feelings. It connects me to myself. When I can’t find the words to express sorrow or joy , there is music. When I cannot let myself feel, for fear of being vulnerable, music will safely let me feel. This is why I am a musician; not because I need to make my own music to feel these things. Great musicians have been doing that for me since I was 13. Rather, I would like to make music that can reach people and help connect them to their feelings. If I could do that for even one person, then I am a success as a musician.

I am often asked to explain how I balance my business life with my musical life. The answer is I don’t. There is not a switch in me that I can turn on and off. The business world is much like any other. It is comprised of relationships and strategies and philosophy. There are good people and bad people.

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There is sadness and joy and determined effort. There are cold hard decisions and compassionate decisions. You can maintain your integrity and honesty or sell your soul to the devil. Business is just another pursuit. As a storyteller and a musician I try to both learn from it all and reflect it in my music.

The hardest part for me is to cut through all the preconceived notions and just have my music be heard. That is what any artist wants. To share their work. Whenever we are performing and a basketball or hockey fan yells out, I know that person is not really hearing the music. At least I do not think they are. That is disappointing to me.

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That is why I am there, to perform for them. When we went to Europe no one seemed to know about my business side. I was just the singer in the band. So, when they applauded our music, it felt great. The same can be said for markets outside NYC. For now we are concentrating most of our touring in Europe. See you out there.


For more head to Jdandthestraightshot.com


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