Today Mr. Ricky Lawson, 60, passed away after becoming disoriented at a gig, possibly suffering a stroke. He was taken to the hospital where doctors discovered a brain aneurysm. Ricky was a Grammy award winning drummer and producer, who was worthy of his nickname “The Drummer to the Stars”. He was a co-founder of the group The Yellowjackets. He toured with Lionel Richie as well as Michael Jackson on the Bad tour. He played on Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You”, he was the drummer on most of Steely Dan’s Two Against Nature, which also won a Grammy, that’s him in the Babyface MTV Unplugged performance, was a part of Roy Ayers Ubiquity group and played alongside Eric Clapton, Michael Jackson, Phil Collins, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Anita Baker, Lionel Richie, George Duke, Beyonce, Mariah Carey and a legion of other artists.
One of my favorite music moments, came just a few years after I moved to LA. Myself and a couple friends were afforded the opportunity to visit with Mr Lawson in his home studio. Here was a man who is essentially the best percussionist in the world and he took the time to sit down and have his brain picked by a few fans. It was an amazing experience because despite everything he has accomplished he was so down to earth and personable. To call him humble would be an understatement, he was genuinely nice in a way that can not be easily described. After we sat for what was probably 2-3 hours, we got up and thanked him for the incredible time. He shook our hands and with an earnest expression handed us all a business card and told us if we ever needed anything to call him. I still have that card, it has a cool little caricature on one side and his personal info on the other. Not the info to his manager or publicist, but direct contacts. I never called or got in touch with him, because well he was Ricky Lawson, one does not just call Ricky Lawson, unless of course your Eric Clapton or Stevie Wonder. No I just locked away the experience in the hard drive of my mind to be recalled at any time. We heard music and stories and we watched video, but most importantly we got to experience true and genuine compassion. Compassion for music and most importantly compassion for people. Thank you Mr Lawson, from the bottom of my heart. I know you are up there with MJ right now playing some great music.
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