Never Let Them See You Sweat
By Khaliq Glover - 10/24/2009 - 01:15 AM EDT
I recently did a tele-seminar with Ricky Lawson, a multi-Grammy
award-winning drummer who has played with just about every top artist
in the world at one point or another including Michael Jackson, Steely
Dan, and was a founding member of the Yellowjackets.
I have known Ricky for over 20 years and have worked with him on many
different projects. I've recorded his drums many times. And he is one
of the greatest drummers I have ever worked with as well as a great
Working with musicians at that high level is an education in itself.
One of the things that I learned from Ricky and several other top level
musicians is to never let them see you sweat. Never let the client see
you become flustered and shook up if something is wrong.
This was a huge eye opener for me because I like things to go right and
when they don't, I can easily get excited trying to solve the problem.
I'll sometimes catch myself making faces that indicate something's
wrong, or I might end up running around frantically trying to hunt down
what's causing a piece of equipment to not act right.
What I failed to consider is that the client and everybody else may be
watching me and they see how I react to the situation. If I look
worried, then the client becomes worried, and also everyone else who is
watching me. That's not a good thing.
Ricky is one of the most cool, calm, and levelheaded people that I
know. One day when we were doing a session, he could tell that
something was wrong because he saw me running around talking to myself.
I was saying things like "what the heck is going on", or "that's not
right", or "what the...?"
He pulled me off to the side and quietly told me "Khaliq, never let
them see you sweat". That was all he had to say and suddenly I realize
that my face and my actions were clearly indicating that there was
something wrong and needless to say, that can lead to tension in the
This is a constant battle that I have to fight with myself. I hate it
when things go wrong and many times I have to remind myself not to let
others know when it's not smooth sailing.
Everybody has things go wrong from time to time, but the true pros know
how to inspire confidence by acting like there is no significant
problem, no matter what they are faced with. This instills confidence
in the artist that you have got things under control and all you have
to do is simply ask can you have a couple of minutes to check something
out. If you do this calmly, and with confidence, then no one will get
This was a wonderful lesson for me that I wanted to pass it on to you
just like Ricky did to me. Caring deeply about what you do is a great
quality to have, but always show that you are fully confident that you
can solve ANY little problem that might show up and then they will have
full confidence in you. Even if you don't know, "act like you know" or
will find it out.
Whenever you are working with someone, always try to remind yourself of those six little words, "never let them see you sweat".
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