CINDERELLA frontman Tom Keifer spoke to Love Is Pop about his early ’90s battle with vocal cord paresis, a neurological condition on the left side of his voice box that almost put an end to his career.
“There’s no treatment for it,” Tom said. “It’s a neurological condition. It’s like if someone had a paralyzed arm or a partially paralyzed arm. My vocal cord was partially paralyzed. So, there’s no pill, medicines or surgery that can really fix that. I was told I’d never sing again. And they said if I had any prayer of singing again that I would just have to work with speech pathologists and voice coaches and try to train because the cord had some motion. I had to strengthen it and get it to respond symmetrically with the right cord. And there isn’t an exact science on how to do that and it’s taken me decades — literally — to get it where it’s consistent and works most nights, fortunately, now. I sound as good [as], if not better than, I did before the problems. I feel grateful that I was able to overcome that.”
While treating and managing his vocal cord condition — a process which has included six surgeries — Keifer recorded his debut solo album, “The Way Life Goes”, which was released as an expanded, deluxe edition on October 20 via Cleopatra Records.
Asked about his current pre- and post-show rituals, Keifer said: “The most important ones are warm up and cool down. The warm-up is about an hour to about an hour and fifteen minutes every night and I do that a couple hours before the show. Because you need to leave a little space between the warm-up and performance. And then the cool-down takes about five or ten minutes and that has to be done, too, because it helps alleviate the swelling and inflammation that comes from screaming rock ‘n’ roll. So it’s an important thing. Those are the things that not only get my voice and breathing apparatus right [but] center me and focus me. Because a lot of it has to do with deep, low breathing like yoga almost. I don’t do yoga, but a lot of the breathing techniques that are incorporated in the vocal warm-up are very much like that. So, it kind of calms the nerves and all that stuff.”