“There’s also a joke about country and western [music] in it” Leonard Cohen on The Captain

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There’s also a joke about country and western in [The Captain]. The guy who has to be educated – he says, ‘I didn’t risk my life for some country western song.’ But the argument is won by the captain. By the end the kid takes the captain’s bars and accepts the responsibility of leadership. If he is not exactly converted to country music, he is converted to certain values that exist in country music, like the notion of manly self defense.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Note: The pertinent lines from The Captain follow (bolding mine):

“I left a wife in Tennessee
And a baby in Saigon —
I risked my life, but not to hear
Some country-western song.”

From Tortoise-Shell by Biba Kopf. New Musical Express, March 2, 1985. Originally posted May 23, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“Young Canadian women were more realistic than that … Tougher” Leonard Cohen On Poetry As An Inefficient “Instrument Of Seduction”

Interviewer: Was poetry also a way for you to approach girls more easily?

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Oh yes. But few women were impressed because poetry wasn’t very prestigious back then. It wasn’t a very efficient instrument of seduction (laughs)…certainly not in the beginning. Young Canadian women were more realistic than that (laughs)… Tougher.
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Leonard Cohen

 

Leonard Cohen, quoted in Comme Un Guerrier by Christian Fevret (Throat Culture magazine, 1992). Note: Originally posted August 1, 2012 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“One is distracted by this notion that there is such a things as inspiration” Leonard Cohen On Songwriting

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So to penetrate this chattering and this meaningless debate that is occupying most of my attention, I have to come up with something that really speaks to my deepest interest. Otherwise I nod off in one way or another. So to find that song, that urgent song, takes a lot of versions and a lot of work and a lot of sweat. But why shouldn’t my work be hard? Almost everybody’s work is hard. One is distracted by this notion that there is such a things as inspiration, that it comes fast and easy. And some people are graced by that style. I’m not. So I have to work as hard as any stiff to come up with the payload.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Leonard Cohen – Los Angeles 1992 from Songwriters On Songwriting By Paul Zollo. Originally posted Apr 25, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“America has its own version of the blues. What I do is the European blues. That is, the soul music of that sensibility – White Soul.” Leonard Cohen 1975

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From Leonard Cohen: Cohen’s New Skin by Harvey Kubernik (Melody Maker:1 March 1975). Accessed at LeonardCohenFiles. Photo by Guido Harari. Originally posted May 21, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“A country [Spain] that has something such as flamenco, that has in its tradition poets like Lorca, shouldn’t let itself be influenced, and certainly not governed, by a music made up by another mentality and put on it by strictly commercial interests.” Leonard Cohen 1974

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Interviewer: In spite of being Canadian, you have made the Mediterranean into something of a home. What do countries such as Greece and Spain mean to you?

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That they are two very pure vestiges in a technologized world. The folklore of both countries is something that is not found in many places, although it seems, from what I have seen since my arrival in Barcelona, that it is losing out in favor of Americanization. A country that has something such as flamenco, that has in its tradition poets like Lorca, shouldn’t let itself be influenced, and certainly not governed, by a music made up by another mentality and put on it by strictly commercial interests.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From 1974 Interview with Leonard Cohen by Jordi Sierra I Fabra. Published in Leonard Cohen by Alberto Manzano (1978). Photo by Pete Purnell.Originally posted Jun 5, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“I try to write good songs that move along” Leonard Cohen On Songwriting


Leonard Cohen: I try to write good songs that move along. I just take the subject matter for granted. It’s from my own visions. I would think that’s the way anybody writes a song.

Interviewer: But Cohen’s visions, full of mystical figures such as Joan of Arc and allusions to such things as Scientology and Zen [both of which he’s “plugged into” at one time or another] are not what most people in popular music write about.

Leonard Cohen: Hmm, yes, that’s true. But then, my music isn’t very popular, is it?

For Cohen, Grief Is Joy by Lynn Van Matre (Chicago Tribune: Nov 23, 1975). Thanks to Rike, who discovered and contributed the article from which this quote is taken.