And that meant that I had to sing. And play bass. At the same time.
I'd never sung into a mic before, and I'd never sung and played at the same time before, so it was, as one might suspect, pretty ugly. It was hard enough to keep the fingers moving when the lips were doing something else. Actually using the mic? Ha! I moved around a lot, and I'd go from inaudible to pegging out the monitors. Dan, who knew a bit about how this stuff worked, explained over and over again what I was doing wrong. Didn't matter. In the midst of the music, I had no clue what I was or wasn't doing.
One day Dan snapped the head off one of his old drumsticks. "That's it," he said. "We're fixing this right now." He duct taped the drumstick to the microphone. "Every time you decide to peg out the monitor, you're getting a drumstick up your nose."
Later, after my nostrils got a handle on the concepts of volume and distance, I took the drumstick off and started learning how to manipulate the mic to better effect.** But I needed to get a few splinters first.
** Please keep in mind that "improvement" does not mean the same as "being good." It just means being better than one was before. For those who are curious to hear just how badly I sing and play bass (and how awful my lyrics are), you can experience them first hand over here.