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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

dear singers

So here we are.

Here is mostly what Every Sound Guy/Gal says to singers, more or less:

Hey, man, how’s it going? Okay, so this is your mic, and here’s how the mic stand works. Yeah, it’s the kind you squeeze to adjust… right, like that. You got it. Oh, and it’s better if you slide the mic in from the back when you put it back on the stand. The clip is a little wonky. We good here? Ready to check? 

Now, here is what Every Sound Guy/Gal secretly wants to say to singers, but doesn’t ever say because every sound guy/gal is very laid back and cool and would never want to do anything to mess up a show because he’s/she’s just that professional:

Oh, one more thing: don’t drop your mic. I don’t mean by accident. I mean, don’t drop your damn mic at the end of your set like you think you’re some kind of hot shit or something. You know what I’m talking about. Don’t do it. I’m not asking you, I’m telling you.

Microphones are pretty sensitive. I don’t care if someone once told you that they’re indestructible. Nothing is indestructible. It’s not just about denting the screen. There are coils and ribbons in there. That shit is aligned. You think dropping something can’t hurt it? Would you like me to drop your phone that I borrowed from you at the end of my call because I just won an argument? 

I don’t understand you singers. It’s like you don’t even understand this very tool that you rely so heavily on. You want a mic, you need a mic, and then when you’re done with it, you drop it on the ground like you didn’t really want or need it at all? How the fuck does that make sense? How can you not appreciate your microphone?

I’ve been through the drill: you’re gonna stand there at sound check and bitch about the way your mic sounds, that it’s not high enough, or that there’s too much treble or too much bass, and you never once actually think about how amazing it is to have this tiny little piece of engineering that amplifies sound so beautifully, do you? Of course you don’t. You don’t even know how great you have it.

You wanna go back to freakin’ vaudeville and amplify your voice with one of those damn megaphones? You wanna do that “vo-vo-dee-o-doh” shit? You wanna be Rudy fuckin’ Vallee? Then fine. Go get a megaphone for 5 bucks and you can drop that shit as much as you want. You can smash that damn thing over the drummer’s head. I don’t care. It’s fucking cardboard. This is electronics, man.

Also, someone has to pick up that mic off the floor afterward. Yeah. You don’t think about that, do you? Hell, no. You’re only thinking about how everyone in the audience is going to tweet “Mic drop - DONE! BOOM!” and they’ll be in awe of you. Guess who’s not in awe of you? Guess who has to clean that thing off because you’ve stuck it in your mouth all night and then dropped it on this nasty stage? You have no idea where this stage has been. No idea. A stage is basically the bottom of one giant shoe. And now everything on the bottom of that giant shoe is stuck to the saliva that you got all over my microphone.

That’s right. My microphone. My equipment. My very expensive equipment. I had to stand in line at B&H for that. Have you ever been to B&H? It’s a madhouse. You have to wait in three different lines just to buy a cable. 

And it could be a rental. You don’t know. Rental places are ruthless, man. They don’t care who did the damage. I’m the one who has to pay for it. Would you want me to drive a car that you rented, and proceed to put a huge dent in it just because I think I’m badass, and then hand it over to you without so much as an apology? Do you think Hertz gives a shit that the crowd went wild? Let me tell you something. They do not.

I can guarantee you that if singers had to bring in their own sound equipment, they wouldn’t drop the mic. No way. And if someone decided, hey, let’s start dropping mics, you know what would happen? Someone would invent a stage pillow to drop the mic onto. Yeah they would. This little soft pillow that would be strategically placed onstage to catch and cradle the mic gently when it was dropped. There’d be some huge Kickstarter campaign for mass production of these little mic pillows and stage cushions. There’d be sequined ones on Etsy. Because no one would want any harm to come to their own microphone. No way.

But my mics? My carefully-purchased-and-selected-on-the-basis-of-sound-needs mics? You just treat them like shit. Not even a second thought. Drop, drop, drop, thinking you look amazing when you do it. You don’t look amazing. You look like an ass who has no regard for other people’s property, that’s what you look like. You look like a toddler who doesn’t know how to hold things yet because his hands are still too chubby. You look like you have depth perception issues and can’t see the mic stand. 

This is about respect, man. Respect. Respect the mic. It’s been good to you. 

Okay. Have a good show.

Granted, I am not a sound guy/gal, and this post is pure speculation on my part. And I’ve whoooo-ed at a good mic drop. But I have been to B&H, I have bought microphones, and I have experienced empathy.

Respect the mic, kids.

Yes indeed. Welcome to me.


  1. Uh-oh. I have the unsettling feeling that everyone's favorite blog that's not a blog was hijacked by a disgruntled sound guy/gal with an axe to grind. What have you done with Stephanie, you sick microphone fetishist?!

  2. I think you pretty much covered it. I'm not really a sound guy, but I work for an AV company, and I cringe every time I see a mic drop.

  3. I think I blanked out somewhere along the way and I missed the contact info for the twee little sequined mic pillows.