Friday, November 20, 2009

This thing on

At last night's Band to Band Combat, the music contest put on by my employer Isthmus newspaper, singer Matt Allen of the Madison band the Selfish Gene tested his microphone levels with an old standby: "Check. Check. Check. Check." He may have thrown in a "one two," but I can't be sure.

In my singing career I've tested many a microphone level, and I suspect I'm not the only crooner who's gotten a little tired of check check check. I've experimented with different approaches. There was a period of about a year and a half in the early 2000s when to test levels I would sing entire verses of "Crazy Arms."

But do you know what? Eventually I came back to check check. It's simple, to the point, effective, and the alternatives I've tried are mostly distracting. Testing microphone levels is one area of artistry where originality doesn't do anybody much good.

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