How Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott Beat Forced Retirement
Def Leppard singer Joe Elliott revealed he overcame the prospect of a forced retirement around 2015 thanks to vocal rehab.
“I lost my voice quite badly,” the frontman recently told BBC Breakfast. “A doctor that I saw said, ‘If it wasn’t you, I’d tell you to change your profession.’ But a vocal coach that we’ve been working with for about 30 years, he just said to me, ‘Poppycock,’ and he built me back up again without any surgery.”
Elliott detailed the hurdles he encountered with his voice. “I just couldn’t control anything, I had a frozen vocal cord, and apparently they don’t normally come back," he said. "I guess it’s like a dry rubber band: If you massage enough oil back into it, it will become springy again, and that’s what happened. My vocal cords wouldn’t meet in the middle, and now I’m better than I’ve ever been.”
The rehabilitation helped rejuvenate a band that, by Elliott's own admission, had struggled through the first 15 years of the 21st century. “We were fighting a losing battle, but we weren’t prepared to give up,” he recalled last year. “We weren’t down and out, but we knew we weren’t thought of in the same way as in the ‘80s, and we needed to do something about it.”
The British icons paid attention to the fact that the business had changed around them. “Selling 10 million records was an ‘80s thing,” Elliott argued. “Apart from Taylor Swift or Adele, nobody’s going to sell 10 million records again. So we toured and toured … and it worked!”
Def Leppard recently released the orchestral album Drastic Symphonies, and their world tour with Motley Crue is scheduled to run through Aug. 18.