I've got the SM57 as well and like the sound I get. I like a sharp bass, one that doesn't last through the next few notes, so I've stopped micing the head and the bottom. I just mic the head with the SM57, usually about 6" or so from the head and instead of pointing directly at the head, I set the mic off to the far left side of the head and angle the mic to face the center (just slightly). The SM57 doesn't have much gain on it's own, as it's main use is for snare drums and to mic amps... I use a mixer Behinger 802 (fairly cheap but works for me) and I said the trim (gain) to about 1/2. I like to up the highs and the lows on the EQ (built into the mixer) also because it seems like the mids from the SM57 are a little suffocating. I would recommend picking up some sort of mixer, or at least an EQ so you can get your sound just right. Your amp might have one built in, but a mixer will give you more control. Also, the above mixer will allow for two XLR ins, so you can mic the bottom end (another sm57 or an sm56 or a more expensive kick drum mic) if you want and adjust the eq for that mic to just pick up lows, that gives a fuller sound.
The toys and gagets out there for live playing are endless.. it just depends on what you are trying to do. Anther idea for you is to get some sort of looper (I have a boss RC-20XL)... so you can play an accomp. part live, loop it, and switch to soloing over the loop for a bit, then play the loop along with the looper, cut the looper off (all controlled with a foot pedal on some) and phase your accomp part into something else... loop that... etc..
With a mixer you could also prerecord some tracks (or dunun phrases) and plug your Ipod or whatever up to it, than play that through the mixer and jam out with it.
Ok... so all that was for playing live... for recording, I plug my SM57 into the same mixer, than feed the mixer into my mac. I use both Cubase and Logic Pro... more of Logic Pro these days, but there are cheaper programs that do most the same functions (laying multiple tracks, moving around parts, editing at wave level, adding effects, etc.). I don't do anything professionally, just like messing around for myself and cause I like drums and technology
I posted another post in this same recording section and promised some examples... haha... still on the to-do list about 5 below the honey-do list