LAKEVILLE, Minn. – James “Jim” Jordan, founder and chairman of QA1, passed away Wednesday, July 30 after a long battle with cancer. He was 67. “Jim was a great mentor and very well respected,” said QA1 Product Manager Jeff Diaz, who worked with Jordan for 26 years. “I was lucky to be able to learn from him. He will be greatly missed.”“He had a way of making everyone around him feel important and willing to give him 110 percent effort,” said Karl Hacken, QA1 vice president of engineering. “I always looked up to him as a role model and mentor in business and life.” Dan Voight, QA1 sales manager, agreed, saying “Jim didn’t raise the bar for you, he motivated you to raise it yourself, higher than you thought you could.”Jordan started working in the power transmission industry in the early 1970s and quickly worked his way around related industries, eventually becoming an expert on rod ends. He became known as an innovator of numerous industry-changing products that are now standards across a variety of markets. Throughout his career, he was involved in multiple patents for his ground-breaking ideas.Since founding QA1 in 1993, Jordan marketed rod ends and spherical bearings specifically for the performance racing industry. He then expanded QA1’s product lines into a variety of industrial markets, providing rod ends, linkages and custom products.The company is in its 16th year as a marketing partner with IMCA.Always looking for new ways to grow, he oversaw the acquisitions of Hal Shocks and Carrera Shocks and quickly saw QA1 become a leader in shock absorbers for drag racing, street performance, street rods and circle track applications. He retired in 2005 but returned to QA1 in 2011 saying, “I was no good at golf, so I had to return to my day job.” Since then, Jordan helped grow the company even more in product offerings and manufacturing space. QA1 expanded its Lakeville, Minn., facility to more than 83,000 square feet to allow for in-house manufacturing of carbon fiber driveshafts and, with the acquisitions of CAP Auto Products and Edelbrock’s suspension line, fabricated suspension components.Jordan was involved in all aspects of the company, including engineering, sales and customer service. His visionary leadership played a large role in the success of QA1 and its innovative products.“Jim’s passion, drive and commitment for what he did was truly inspiring,” said Dave Kass, QA1 customer service manager. “He taught everyone at QA1 many values and philosophies that we will continue to follow into the future.” Charlie Pehrson, QA1 engineer, remembers, “As a young engineering intern, Jim made it a point to instill in me a great work ethic and to work not only from my brain but also my heart.”Michael Kunzman, president of Kunzman & Associates, remembers the first time he met Jim: “I realized I’d met a special human being, who had vast experiences, a wonderful sense of humor, brilliance, yet was kind and sincere and as down to earth as one could be.”Although his shoes will be hard to fill, we are very confident that Jim has left QA1 in an excellent position to thrive. We’ll always remember him as a great man and for the contributions that he has made, not only to QA1, but to the motorsports and industrial industries as well.
“They can walk out to Sinatra,” Chargin instructed. “If you play anything else, you’re fired.”“None of the fighters or fans complained,” Caplan notes in closing.Thomas Hauser’s email address is [email protected] His most recent book – Protect Yourself at All Times – was published by the University of Arkansas Press. In 2004, the Boxing Writers Association of America honored Hauser with the Nat Fleischer Award for career excellence in boxing journalism. Music has been part of sports for well over a century. The Notre Dame band played at the first football game between the Fighting Irish and Michigan in 1887 and hasn’t missed a home game in 132 years.Gladys Goodding played the organ for the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1942 until the Dodgers moved west after the 1957 season and was an integral part of the Ebbets Field experience. She was also a fixture at Madison Square Garden, playing the National Anthem before boxing matches and entertaining crowds during Knicks and Rangers home games until her death in 1963. In recent years, music has been increasingly prominent in sports settings. Don’t expect to see Tiger Woods readying for a birdie putt at The Masters while “We Will Rock You” blasts in the background. But onsite music keeps expanding.Join DAZN and watch more than 100 fight nights a year”Kiss Him Goodbye” has been heard at sports events dating back to 1977 when Chicago White Sox organist Nancy Faust began playing it to serenade opposing pitchers who walked from the mound after being knocked out of the game: “Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey-ey, goodbye.”The New York Yankees have played “Y.M.C.A.” by the Village People during the seventh-inning stretch since 1996, with the grounds crew acting out the letters.NFL cheerleaders and NBA dancers have danced to music during timeouts for decades.And let’s not forget the familiar guitar riffs from Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll” and The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” that rev up the crowd.Cedric Kushner, who died in 2015, was the first promoter to use music as a significant component of fight night shows. Jim DiLorenzo, who worked with Kushner and was the driving force behind the effort to blend boxing and music, recalls, “We started experimenting with music at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York in early 2000. It was an effort to create a club-party vibe. We had a DJ and invited the right people. We felt we were onto something. Then we launched Thunderbox, which joined live hip-hop music and boxing.”Kushner’s Thunderbox fight cards were syndicated nationally with most of the events originating in New York or Las Vegas. Kushner had been a concert promoter before turning to boxing, so he was comfortable in that world.”We brought in some great talent to go with the fights,” DiLorenzo remimisces. “Wyclef Jean opened the debut show. Later, we had Fat Joe, Ultra V, Doug E. Fresh, Eve, a lot of great performers. But the productions were too expensive. Not the talent, the productions. We could never get the advertising to support what we were doing. The numbers just didn’t add up.”Meanwhile, in mid-2000, HBO launched KO Nation, a Saturday afternoon series that mixed hip-hop artists and dancers with boxing. Dave Harmon, who was the coordinating producer, remembers, “We wanted to do something different and expand the appeal of boxing on HBO to a younger demographic. We put a DJ in the arena. We had music between fights, music between rounds, and the KO Nation Dancers. No one would think twice about any of that now. Every big show has a DJ in the arena. But there was a lot of debate about it at the time.”MORE: Key moments in the evolution of the ring walkMore significantly, ratings were consistently low, and KO Nation was cancelled the following year.Fast-forward to 2007 when Top Rank took the lead in bringing onsite music back to boxing. Top Rank president Todd duBoef recounts the impetus for the move.”We began adding music to our in-arena production when Miguel Cotto fought Zab Judah at Madison Square Garden,” duBoef says. “There’s so much unpredictability on fight night. There are times when fights run short and, because of the demands of television, a 45-minute delay is unavoidable. You need something to fill the downtime. The question is what. At first, the music was considered disruptive because people were used to being in an environment where they could hear a pin drop. And the HBO producers were screaming at us, ‘What are you doing? You’re killing our production.’ But eventually, they got used to it.”Rick Bernstein, executive producer for HBO Sports since 2000, has his own memories of the music and notes, “You have to balance the experience for the thousands of fans who are watching a show in the arena against the experience for the millions of fans who are watching on television. During a round, the announcers can wear headsets. But you don’t want them wearing headsets when they’re on camera between fights. You want them to use stick mics then. And there were times when the music was so loud that, without headsets, the announcers literally couldn’t hear what the announcer standing next to them was saying.””Also,” Bernstein continues, “as producers, we wanted to hear what was being said in the corner between rounds. You do that by holding a fishpole mic over the fighter and the trainer wearing a clip-on. But there were times when the music made that impossible. We were literally begging the promoter to turn the volume down.”Eventually, HBO solved the between-fights problem by outfitting its announcers with the kind of noise-cancelling earpieces that musicians use in live concerts so they can hear themselves play. And the use of directional microphones in given situations enabled viewers at home to hear most of what the production truck wanted them to hear.Music is now part of the in-arena experience for virtually all big fights and many small fight cards. In addition to fighter ringwalks, it has made its way into the break between fights and even the one-minute rest period between rounds. In essence, it’s mood music designed to give on-site fans the feeling that they’re at a happening.”Some people love it; some don’t,” duBoef acknowledges. “I understand that. But when it’s done right, audio entertainment helps keep the crowd engaged. It’s another element, along with lighting and video, that creates an entertaining environment and enhances the in-arena experience. Let’s be realistic. If the arena is quiet, it feels less exciting.”MORE: The mouthpiece and boxing — an oral historyMost discussions about fight-night music focus on two variables: what’s played and at what volume.Almost always, the promoter hires the DJ, and the DJ chooses the music subject to the promoter’s instructions. For most big arenas and many small sites, the license fee for the music is covered by the venue’s ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC performance rights licenses, so the promoter and DJ have free reign regarding what to play.Hip-hop and loud, vibrating bass are the sounds most often heard. That’s not to everyone’s liking. Indeed, there are times when no one in the crowd, including young people, seems engaged. That said; the theory behind the choice of hip-hop and loud bass is that they create the feeling among those in attendance that they’ve stepped into the fighters’ world.Counterintuitively, “Sweet Caroline” has become enormously popular among boxing fans in the United Kingdom. The song was written and recorded by Neil Diamond in 1969. The Boston Red Sox have played it during games at Fenway Park since 1997, and the tradition has spread to other venues. In England, it’s played just before the ring walk for big fights promoted by Matchroom. And the crowd loves it. It energizes the fans. They sing along.One might ask, “Would anyone object if a fight card also featured Mick Jagger singing ‘Satisfaction’?”And of course, national anthems are often sung. Some fight cards have live performances of as many as three anthems (the host country and the respective homeland for each main event fighter). Singers range in ability from accomplished musicians to unskilled local talent.Most anthem performances are eminently forgettable. But Joe Frazier is remembered musically for having sung the national anthem before the Sept. 15, 1978, rematch in New Orleans between Muhammad Ali and Leon Spinks.And R. Kelly raised eyebrows with his rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” prior to the 2005 rematch between Jermain Taylor and Bernard Hopkins when he exhorted the crowd to “clap your hands” while two dancers simulated ballroom dancing in the ring.Then there’s the question of volume. Music is played at other sports events. But it isn’t as omnipresent or loud as is often the case at fights.At its worst, fight night music is intrusive and diminishes the onsite experience.Here, Todd duBoef agrees, saying, “The music can’t be so loud that it assaults the senses. Different arenas have different sound systems. The Theater at Madison Square Garden has a low ceiling and the speakers turn inward so it can get very loud in there, particularly for fans who are sitting in the direct path of a speaker. There have been times at The Theater when the music was too loud, and I asked the DJ to turn it down. The idea is to give people in the arena a pleasurable experience and add to the excitement, not blow them out.”Some criticism of fight night music is generational.Hall of Fame promoter Russell Peltz opines, “One of the great things about going to the fights used to be talking to the person sitting next to you about the fight you just saw or the round that was just fought. And you can’t do that as much anymore because the music is so loud. You have to shout to talk to the person sitting next to you. It’s another example of boxing today being too much sizzle and not enough steak. Forget the music and have better fights.”Don Elbaum, who will join Peltz in Canastota this June, is in accord and adds, “Most of the time, the music is a poor attempt to cover up the lack of action. Part of boxing’s appeal is that it’s the most basic of all sports, and the music detracts from that. The fans are coming to fights, not a hip-hop concert.”Then there’s veteran publicist Bill Caplan, who recalls, “There used to be a wonderful stadium called the Hollywood Legion Stadium that had boxing through the 1950s. There was a band there called the Hollywood Legion Band that played march music — John Philip Sousa, stuff like that — between fights. That was good. People loved the music. It wasn’t intrusive. It lit the place up. And now —”Caplan shakes his head.”I don’t mind it that they play music,” he says. “The truth is, I mind the music they play. I love almost everything about going to the fights, but I loathe the music. And if you look around the arena when it’s playing, no one seems to be enjoying it. No one is dancing. No one is singing.”MORE: Smartphones on fight night — more than just for selfiesThen Caplan tells one of his favorite stories.On Aug. 25, 2012, Don Chargin promoted a fight card in Fairfield, Calif. Earlier in the day, Caplan had given him a gift: a CD of Frank Sinatra’s greatest hits. That night, Chargin handed the CD to the arena DJ and told him, “This is what you play tonight.”“What about the fighters’ ringwalk music?” the DJ asked.