It’s all about context. Take for instance our friend George who had this way of miking drums that couldn’t be taught or replicated. Didn’t matter if it was a small room, a live one, if the drummer was a real pounder or an African djembe player. The sound was always clear, never muddy, never bleeding onto the other tracks. He just did his job and left before the thank yous and mutual bolstering of egos commenced. When his ears gave out, no one knew how to replace him. He never bothered to take on an intern or assistant. Instead, he simple turned down gigs and retired to a life of raising worms. He read about it somewhere, he told me. Vermicompost. Not a great Scrabble word, he added, too many letters. That was the last I heard of him. Ran into his brother at an art opening who took me aside and recited a crazy poem about love lost. It might have been a great poem. Hard to say. I was too distracted by this dark growth sprouting from his left eyebrow to pay much attention to his words. If both brothers were more skillful self-promoters, George’s miking techniques would have been codified, taught. He’d have a book, a studio or maybe even a microphone named after him. Had I heard his brother recite his poem on stage at the 92nd Street Y, for sure I would have paid closer attention.