going’ under the knife – northwest shows cancelled

This blog was originally posted to The Dresden Dolls Diary.

so. i have vocal nodes. i am going to have surgery to get them taken off.
this wasn’t too surprising, honestly. but the randomness involved in HOW i found out is unbelievable.

i was at the studio one week ago finishing the new dolls recording, emailing during mixing. i’d been bitching about my scratchy voice to a writer friend at the boston globe and she sent a link to an article about a boston vocal surgeon (in fact, here it be) that the globe ran in 2004.
i was in brain-candy mode so i followed the link, read it, thought what the hell, googled the surgeon, found his email address, dropped him a line, and three days later i’m in a tall building in boston getting a scope stuck down my throat while i sing. “yep”, they say. “you’re a rock singer”.

there’s a fancy computer showing me what the scope is seeing, revealing the terrible truth….my vocal chords look like a vagina. well, to be fair, EVERYBODY’S vocal chords look like a vagina (they must get used to that after a while in the dept on laryngology).
but MY vocal chords look like a vagina that’s, frankly, seen better days. i could go into some really uncomfortable poetic metaphors here involving busy and careless hookers but i WONT.

basically, i have what is typically referred to as vocal “nodes” – sort of like calluses that appear after years of battering. lots of people get them. teachers, lawyers, preachers, probably stockbrokers, you name it. if you are normal person and don’t need your voice as a tool for your trade, you just deal with them. you have a scratchy voice. if you have a career that involves singing and touring, you get surgery to have them removed. i have been on a downward slop for years now, singing at half-mast because they just keep getting worse. dr. zeitels (i’m a fan – he’s rad) has done lots of people. cher. julie andrews. steven
tyler. my favorite actor, jeremy geidt (some of you saw him in the onion cellar). GARY CHERONE OF EXTREME.

and my favorites: ozzy and sharon osbourne were in the office at the same time as me. what better endorsement than that, i ask? i called brian right after my appointment and was like “I have vocal nodes and need surgery and ozzy and sharon were there!” brian was like “OZZZYY!” and i was like “did you hear the part about the surgery?” brian was like “the ozman was sent from the metal gods to guide your voice to freedom”.

anyway. long story short: i’ll be getting this done in march and they ask that you go easy on your voice leading up the date. then it’s 2 weeks of no talking (not even whispering) and another 4 weeks of rehab (and i said no, no, no). the good news is that i will have a shiny new set of vocal chords to sing with and the surgeon is the best in the country and just happens to be in boston. so i lucked out.

i am still going to head out to seattle to finish mixing the Evelyn Evelyn record but i canceled the 4 shows i was just about to announce in seattle, portland, eugene & olympia. i know some of you had already found out and bought tickets, and i’m sorry about that. is what it is. i’ve never canceled dates like this before, i don’t plan to get all winehouse on you. anyone who bought a ticket can get a refund at the point of purchase, btw.

MEANWHILE, i am assured that next time i go into the vox doc i will get photo stills of my node-y throat and of course i will post forthwith because it’s NARSTY. if you’re really a glutton for punishment, a google image search on “vocal nodes” will probably make you lose your lunch. someone on the forum posted this handy wiki and i am pleased to see i’ve been added to the list of famous sufferers.

Bonnie Tyler, in 1977, found out that she had nodules that were so severe that she had to have surgery for their removal. After the surgery was performed, she was ordered to not speak for six weeks. One day while healing, she accidentally screamed and her voice took on a raspy quality. max (who’s back in town, YAY!) informed me that bonnie tyler (yes, of “total eclipse of the heart fame”) screamed because her mother didn’t get bonnie strawberries (as instructed) for the ride home from the hospital.

on a brighter and more or less unrelated note:
here’s a clip from tour of us covering “sweet dreams (are made of this)” by the eurythmics with our friends in the luminescent orchestrii.


ps “there will be blood” = awesome. saw it tonight.

Back to Blog