Own the Mic
The video above is of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. I’m posting it here because there is something to which I wish to draw attention. It helps to put in earphones or headphones for this. Look at how he performs his vocals; listen to what he can do with that SM57. Jon puts dirt in that performance. It’s dirty, sweaty, gritty rock’n'roll. He owns that mic. He makes it more than a simple transducer.
I am of the opinion that your microphone should be considered with the same criteria by which we pick a guitar, or a drum head, or an amp. It’s often overlooked because when we all started out it was the responsibility of the club to hand us the mics. We would just load in and let the sound guy put whatever they had in front of whatever we had. Sometimes there were good sounding nights, sometimes not. Sometimes a particular model made us take notice, be it on one side of the spectrum or the other.
Take note of the ones that make you go “wow!” Then go get one and start to work with it. Figure out what you sound like at different distances; what the characteristics are when you pop a plosive, or move it just slightly off the center of your speaker cone. Look to videos of others who own the mic – the Jon Spencers, the Mike Pattons, the Rahzels, the Roger Daltreys – watch what they do live.
Then figure out how that mic is yours.