Joe Elliott Recalls Five-Month Struggle to Save His Voice
Joe Elliott recalled working for five months to save his singing voice after he fell ill in 2016.
The Def Leppard singer began experiencing problems the previous year, but thought they’d been resolved with the passage of time. However, he later had to take part in the band’s Hysteria on the High Seas cruise without singing, and the group was forced to cancel a run of dates.
Guitarist Vivian Campbell said at the time that if his bandmate didn’t stop performing, he faced doing “irreparable damage” to his vocal cords.
“We did one of those rock cruises, and I had to pull out,” Elliott told the Express in a new interview. “I introduced the band and then watched from the side.” He noted that watching other singers standing in for his left him thinking. “This is the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen,” he recalled.
“I took a five-day break thinking, ’This has always sorted me out in the past.’ It didn’t and we had to cancel a tour. … I had to take five months of working every single day for an hour or two with my vocal coach, who’s also a shrink in many respects.”
He said the coach’s encouraging words helped him begin to believe he could resolve the issues, but it took “a long, long, long time.” The coach’s job didn’t include teaching Elliott to sing, but instead how to “not to use your voice.”
Eventually, the situation began to resolve itself – but he was warned it might not work out: “When I got pneumonia and I got the hundred-day cough, it totally destroyed my vocal cords, to the point where my throat doctor said to me, ‘If you weren’t you, I’d tell you to retire because this is never going to get better.’” Fortunately, it did work out. “It’s stronger than it used to be," Elliott said, "best it’s ever been."