He put his vocal chords at risk to save his guitar playing.

By Brian Ives

Bruce Springsteen’s fans are surely looking forward to the release of his autobiography, Born To Run, due out on September 27. But this week, Springsteen is on the cover of Vanity Fair, for a long feature which includes a new interview. The article reveals a somewhat alarming revelation about his health.

Three years ago, the article says, Springsteen underwent a surgical procedure to address the chronic numbness he was experiencing on his left side, which was inhibiting his fretboard hand (Springsteen plays most of the guitars on his albums, and plays throughout his shows as well, taking most of the leads). The numbness was attributed to damaged disks in his neck. The procedure to remedy this entailed cutting his throat open and temporarily tying his vocal cords to the side to make way for the insertion of replacement disks, which meant that, for three months, he was unable to sing. “A little nerve-racking,” Springsteen told the magazine. “But it’s been very successful for me.” The article also addresses Springsteen’s battles with depression.

Related: Bruce Springsteen Plays Four Hour Concert in NJ

The writer, David Camp, also covered other topics in the feature: he asked if Springsteen will get involved in the current presidential campaign, as he campaigned for John Kerry in 2004 and Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. Springsteen indicated that he probably wouldn’t, but added, “when the times have felt very drastic, I feel like, ‘Well, I gotta put my two cents in.’ So we’ll see what happens.”

As for his next album, Springsteen says that it is untitled, but has been finished for more than a year. However, he hasn’t released it due to his current tour and the fact that he was working on the book. While he referred to it as “a singer-songwriter kind of record,” it won’t resemble his acoustic-based solo albums, like Nebraska, The Ghost of Tom Joad and Devils and Dust. Instead, the article says, it’s inspired by the ’60s collaborative albums by Jimmy Webb and Glen Campbell: “pop records with a lot of strings and instrumentation.”

In the meantime, Bruce Springsteen has four dates left on his current tour; check out his itinerary on Eventful.

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