Jim Dolan spends his days running the Madison Square Garden Company and Cablevision Systems, and evenings pursuing his true passion – creating music with his band, JD and the Straight Shot. He answers some questions from Debbie McGoldrick about his varied career, and his Irish background.

When did you first get interested in playing guitar and writing music?

“I got started in my teenage years just because I loved music so much. By 17 years old I had my own guitar and started playing everything I was listening to on the radio!”

When did you start your band, and how has it grown and evolved since?

“The band started back in 2000. It started off as a hobby with friends from work, and it has evolved and grown into the serious effort that it is today! It’s been an evolution of players and music over a 12-year period.” 

Who are your musical inspirations, and what do you think of the current-trend setters making headlines?

“My top music inspirations are Eric Clapton, the Allman Brothers Band, The Band, and Little Feat.

“Regarding the current trend setters, electronic music has clearly caught the public’s imagination and attention. It’s much more about the experience of being in a crowd at the live show. I think that although this new music trend has a place, it doesn’t give the same interpersonal relationship to the listener that the music I tend to listen to and write gives.”

What can fans expect at your live shows?

“To have fun and to enjoy the music! Maybe to find something meaningful inside the music that they can take away from the show.”

Managing your band and the day job must be stressful at times – how do you keep everything in balance?

“I believe that having a balance between your personal life/ professional life are necessary in order to make good decisions in all of them.” 

If you had to choose one or the other – corporate CEO or musician – which would it be, and why?

“It would be musician. Because the music is something that I actually create myself!  With music, it’s much more about what I do with my hands on the guitar, my pen when writing lyrics, and my voice when performing.

“My other job is about what I manage and direct other people to do. I don’t play basketball, I don’t hook up cable TV sets -- I run those companies, but with the music I personally create the product.”

Tell us about your Irish heritage?

“It’s all on my father’s side.  His father, my grandfather, came over from Ireland. We’ve always been proud of having such a strong Irish heritage. I feel it’s a very soulful and passionate culture, and I love how much the culture is tied to music!” 

Have you visited Ireland before?

“Yes.  It’s so lovely there! I love visiting Ireland!” 

Do you like traditional Irish music?

“Yes, very much actually! It’s interesting the similarities between Irish music and the American music I love. You might even hear some influences of my Irish heritage in the music I write.”

What would be the dream for JD and the Straight Shot – headlining MSG presumably?

“Nope! Just to be able to create music that touches as many people as possible! So by performing my music in front of audiences, I’m living the dream now!”

 (JD and the Straight Shot will open for Joe Walsh of the Eagles at the Paramount, 370 New York Avenue, Huntington, Long Island on Monday, April 15 at 8 p.m. For tickets visit http://www.ticketmaster.com/The-Paramount-tickets-Huntington/venue/1280)

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