Throat Blisters

Apr 212004
Authors: Danny Byers

Such diversity in singing styles has appeared in modern music,

ranging from merely babbling, often incoherently, over a catchy

beat like that crazy British guy who calls himself The Streets, to

delivering rich, big octaves like little dirty-lady Christina

Aguilera, to lip-syncing and assuming no one notices, like Britney


One particular style today usually doesn’t last long though, as

it takes a toll on the singer, forcing them to change their style

or loose their voice. This is the style of pure aggression once the

lips touch the mic.

“Your breath and the way you breathe generate sounds. If you’re

not breathing correctly, then you’re using muscles to generate

sound, which causes damage,” said Todd Queen, CSU director of opera

and assistant professor of voice.

Queen said that singing incorrectly makes nodes develop on vocal

chords, which if untreated, can turn into warts that are severely

damaging and can permanently end the career of a singer.

Some examples:

1. Chino, of the Deftones, used to bellow wicked-awesome hard

hits like “Seven Words,” until he damaged his vocal chords. He then

resorted to a new singing style, sounding like a mix between

Bjork’s understudy and a banshee, thus solidifying his claim of

being a Deftone. Thankfully, since then he has gone back to thrash

lyrics and damaging his throat. Phew!

2. Back in the LBC, Gwen Stefani would bawl with the likes of

Sublime’s Bradley Nowell, seeing red, until her vocal box went. She

recovered, and now sings in a lower voice than Sting, but

nevertheless, we ‘don’t fight that good sh*t’ she puts in our


3. Rod Stewart’s throat blistered up from singing too hard, way

back when he was popular … well, at least popular in the

haggis-loving community. Everyone prayed his condition would end

his career, but alas, it did not.

4. The most recent case to date belongs to the band, A Fire

Inside, better known as AFI. This long-time, underground punk band,

who with the release of their latest album “Sing the Sorrow,” grew

into a leading band in the popular punk scene, recently cancelled

the remainder of their Spring tour with Thursday and Coheed &


The reason for the cancellation of the last 10 U.S. tour dates,

one of which was in Denver at the Fillmore, is due to poor old lead

singer Davey Havok.

Apparently, he suffers from this classic case of singing too

hard. He recently found that his throat has been bleeding. His

doctor strongly advised him to take leave, get rest or suffer

severe, permanent damage.

Side note: Davey Havok often gets mistaken for another celebrity

when he appears in public. Who you ask? Well, when he pulls his

long hair back, rolls it into a bow, keeping it tied up with two

chop sticks, he becomes an almost exact double to Material Girl,

Madonna. This resemblance is so uncanny that when I saw him enter

the stage at the 2003 Vans’ Warped Tour in Denver, I almost struck

a pose.

To continue, for those that have seen Havok perform live,

understand the need for AFI’s cancellation, as he screams louder

than a hyena in heat when on stage. And judging from the way Havok

ambiguously gazes at his guitar player while performing, gives the

idea that there might be more than one reason for his throat

problems, if you know what I mean. This is just a hunch though.

Regardless, let us hope for Havok’s speedy recovery and pray

that if he must form a new singing style, that he might find one in

which he might actually be able to hit that high-C and make it

sound more like a professional singer and less like someone is

strangling him.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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