John Mellencamp Says Years Of Smoking Made Him Sound Like Louis Armstrong

Photo: AFP

John Mellencamp noted in a new interview how profound an effect smoking has had on his voice over the years, but for now he says he's not complaining about the results.

Speaking to Forbes about his forthcoming album Strictly a One-Eyed Jack, Mellencamp mentioned that years of smoking have made their mark.

"We were laughing," Mellencamp said of listening to the mixes. "When we were making this record, it was like, 'John, your voice has changed so much since you started.' And I said, 'Well, the cigarettes are starting to pay off.' And I was happy when I heard my sing 'Gone So Soon,' that I sounded like Louis Armstrong."

He clarified that he didn't try to smoke the rasp into his voice, but simply "cigarettes take their f---ing toll on your vocal cords. ... You can tell by just talking to me that my voice is raspy, and that's all from smoking. Nothing that I wanted to do. It never dawned on me that it would happen, but I'm happy that I sound that way."

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concluded that he's happy with his career and seeing how his hard work has paid off.

"Courage is knowing you're beat before you even start, but you start anyway, and you see it to the end, no matter what the result. ...That's what we did on this record," he said.

Strictly a One-Eyed Jack will be available everywhere Friday, January 21.

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