MSG's James Dolan Opens for Eagles, Pens Songs About Eliot Spitzer & Trayvon Martin
Go on and blame the opening act if anything goes awry at this weekend's Eagles show in New York City. That's because billionaire Cablevision CEO James Dolan, who also runs Madison Square Garden, where the concert takes place on Saturday, has secured his own band to warm up the crowd.
JD & The Straight Shot is Dolan's side hustle to running a massive cable company and a world-famous arena, along with all the major franchises that play there (Knicks, Rangers and Liberty) and the network people watch them on (MSG). The rootsy seven-piece has opened a number of Eagles shows this year, including a stop in Newark on Wednesday (Sept. 10). The Dolan-Eagles connection is a strong one. They share a manager in Irving Azoff and Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh has worked with the Straight Shot in the studio.
So, what does a CEO with an estimated $1.5 billion fortune sing about? The New York Post spoke with Dolan about his songs, which tackle topics like politicians, high taxes and social injustices. In one song, Dolan basks in the fall of former New York governor Eliot Spitzer, and in another he chides current NYC mayor Bill de Blasio for not caring about millionaires.
In one country-blues ditty titled "Governor's Blues," Dolan gives New Jersey governor Chris Christie a light slap over the "Bridgegate" scandal. "If you have lunch with the governor, be careful what you say. Cuz if you piss off the governor he'll close your highway!" Listen to the song, which is presumably off JD's upcoming album Where I've Been:
Dolan also takes on hot-button social issues, like the 2013 death of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin. "I'm entitled to my opinion," Dolan told the Post. "I am not the chairman, CEO, etc., standing up there on that stage. I am the singer-songwriter."
He does worry that people's opinion of him as a team owner and CEO will lead to a lot of turned backs, but he's adamant this is no gimmick or vanity project. "This is all me," he said. "Those are my words. That's my voice. And this is my product."
Dolan and his band will return to MSG on Sept. 18 for another opening slot with the Eagles. On his website, he pledges to donate $100,000 to fight ALS if at least 6,000 people join him in playing the kazoo solo during "Governor's Blues." Fans will get a free kazoo upon entering the arena.