John G. O'Leary
I cut-short a promising academic career in the late '60s to jump into the world of pop music.
Rather than hang with slackers on campus who I knew wouldn’t amount to anything (ne’er-do-wells like George Bush, John Kerry, Howard Dean, Gary Trudeau) I left New Haven with my folk-rock band, The Morning, and in the Summer of Love headed to New York where we opened for Frank Zappa, Al Kooper, the Grateful Dead, and Sly and the Family Stone—all great Americans!—before moving onto LA and even wilder times.
A sample of the artists I've shared a stage, jammed, or recorded with: Aaron Copeland, Alice Cooper, Al Kooper, Alla Rakha, Al Wilson, Bill Haley & the Comets, Blood Sweat & Tears, Blues Project, Bo Diddley, Bobby Rydell, Bobby Lewis, Buddy Guy, Byrds, Chambers Brothers, Chubby Checker, Clear Light, Coasters, Commander Cody, "Country Joe" McDonald, Danny & the Juniors, David Bromberg, David Steinberg, Del Shannon, Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show, Eric Burdon, Eric Clapton & Cream, Frank Zappa, Freddie Cannon, Fugs, Gordon Lightfoot, Gary Lewis, Glenn Frey, Grateful Dead, Holy Modal Rounders, Howling Wolf, Hoyt Axton, It's a Beautiful Day, Jackson Browne, James Cotton Band, Janis Ian, Jesse Fuller, J. Geils Band, John David Souther, John Fahey, John Hammond Jr, Joni Mitchell, Junior Wells, Linda Ronstadt, Little Walter, Livingston Taylor, Melissa Manchester, Michael Bolton, Muddy Waters, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, NRBQ, Ornette Coleman, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Paul Winter Consort, Pearls Before Swine, Penguins, Peter Wolf, Peter Yarrow, Poco, Platters, Procol Harum, Randy Burns, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Raun MacKinnon, Ritchie Havens, Santana, Shirelles, Skip Battyn (Skip & Flip), Sly & the Family Stone, Smothers Brothers, Stylistics, Sun Ra, Taj Mahal, Tim Buckley, Tim Hardin, Tina Turner, Tom Rush, Tom Waits, Tower of Power, Willie Dixon, Wishbone Ash.
When the music's over?
In the early '80s (oh, did I skip a few years?) I moved onto the next obvious career—business consulting. (There was a sequential logic to that, I just can’t remember it.)
During the past twenty-five years I've worked with Peter Senge, Fernando Flores, Werner Erhard, and most recently Tom Peters… helping more than a thousand organizational leaders and hundreds of successful business teams.
Recent clients include: Anglo American, Anthem/Wellpoint, Cisco Systems, Commerce Bank, Deloitte & Touche, DHL, Johnson & Johnson, Lockheed Martin, Schindler, Teck, US Army, Weyerhaeuser.
Hey hey, my my…
I’m now bringing-together my two careers through 'Business Lessons From Rock', as a book, plus talks and seminars.
My simple thesis: business teams have much to learn about innovation, engagement, ambition, brand awareness, independent thinking, and working with conflict from the great rock bands. I can explain how.