Eric Clapton has been recognized as one of the greatest blues/rock guitarists for over 40 years. In concert, he is calm and says very little to engage the audience. He lets his performance and his guitar do his talking.
Here are 5 things we can learn from this rock legend.
- Never Forget Who Your Friends Are. Clapton has collaborated with many of his former band mates and made appearances at many charity concerts; B.B.King, J.J. Cale, Steve Winwood, John Mayall, Cream, just to name a few. Often, these collaborations serve to resurrect their careers or benefit others.
- Lesson: Managers must be willing to help those who have helped them.
- Go With What Got You There. Not unlike other musicians, Clapton mixes in his old material with his new material and it’s the delivery of his previous work that gets the most applause.
- Lesson: Managers need to draw on all their experiences to find resolutions to problems.
- Bounce Back From Adversity. Few among us have suffered the adversity Clapton has endured. Much of it has been self imposed but that doesn’t detract from the accomplishment. Drug addiction, depression, loss of a child, have all touched Clapton’s life. Still, he climbs out of the rut to give back to society in the form of the Crossroads rehab center for Drug and Alcohol Abuse.
- Lesson: Never let a bad performance deter you from moving forward to meet the next challenge with a full tank.
- Recognize Your Support System. Clapton’s concerts include relative unknowns in his backup band. Nathan East, Steve Gadd, Andy Fairweather-Low, Doyle Bramhall, Billy Preston, Derek Trucks—all fine musicians in their own right—enjoy the spotlight during each concert as Clapton encourages them to showcase their talents in solo segments, then makes sure to introduce them to the audience in recognition of their contribution to the show.
- Lesson: Give credit where credit is due. Make sure everyone who contributes to your success gets credit for theirs.
- Don’t Be Afraid To Change. In the early 1990’s, Clapton ‘changed the world’ by introducing a new arrangement of his classic love song, Layla, to both older fans and a new generation of fans. He challenged his older audience “to see if you can spot this one” on his MTV Unplugged special. The new arrangement grasped his new fans and the song went on to Grammy Award status. Old fans were amazed by this creativity.
- Lesson: Sometimes change is a good thing. It can turn good things into better things by just being different.