Freddie experienced vocal nodules since 1975 but feared surgery…..

“My voice has been giving me problems since the first years of touring, because we used to do really extensive tours and sometimes even matinees as well, on the same day. Can you imagine me doing a matinee? I ended up getting nodules, uncouth calluses growing in my throat, and from time to time they harmed my vocal dexterity. It’s misusing the voice that does it, and once you get nodules, they are always there, and they always come back.

There was one instance, a show in Zurich, I think, where I actually dried up on stage. I thought, “My God! What am I going to do?” I could hardly speak, nothing came out and it was just an awful feeling. Normally I can fake it, but you can only fake it to a certain degree and after that it becomes ridiculous. So I just said, “Fuck this!” and walked off stage, leaving the other three on the set. I’d never let my public down in that way before. Some way or other I’ve always gotten past that stage and finished an entire show. But I had to do it, and I was really pissed off. Ever since that happened it’s been a recurring nightmare for me.

If it happened once, it could happen again. Sometimes with dry ice, the heat from the lights doesn’t allow it to rise, and I have to sing through a fog. It’s just the hazards of being on the road, but it’s so frustrating because you want to make those high notes. Instead you’re singing an octave lower because you don’t want to chance it, and croak. There were a few phrases where I opened my mouth and nothing came out. The others were very sympathetic, but what can they do? They can’t scream and shout at me and say, “You have to have a voice.” They helped me a lot. Sometimes when I came to a high note, I just opened my mouth and Roger sang it. Roger sings very well and Brian does too. They were my crutches when I needed them.

My nodules are still with me, so I have to go easy on the red wine, and to warm up, I do what I call ‘mock operatics.’ I do it naked, though, because there’s a certain piquancy about that. With clothes on, it doesn’t work, so I sing in the complete raw. I went to throat specialists-I think I saw them all-but they always tell you to just rest and not do the tour… or have an operation. I came very near to having an operation but I didn’t like the look of the doctor and I was a bit perturbed about having strange instruments forced down my throat.”

Freddie Mercury

Freddie always gave 110% every time he went on that stage! A true musician – performer

This picture is from Neal Preston
Freddie giving himself inhalation treatment to alleviate his vocal chords
1981 – “Gluttons For Punishment” tour

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