Leonard Cohen On The French Canadian Separatist Movement, Communism, & America (1974)

What are your feelings now about the French Canadian separatist movement?

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There has clearly been a victory for the French Canadian spirit. Whether it manifests itself exactly in a separate state or in an associate state, or just in a psychic differentiation is quite irrelevant. The fact is that the French Canadian spirit has triumphed in Québec. There’s nobody that seriously contests the idea that this is a French state of some kind. But also, certain of my political opinions in the past have been anti-leftist, anti-communist, which stopped me from really throwing myself in against the Vietnamese war. Because I thought that the communists were using this battle to weaken America and to destroy American youth and to destroy the American army. I still do feel that way. I feel that America suffered a terrible defeat. I do feel the youth has been brainwashed by the communists, and poisoned both spiritually and physically as part of the communist conspiracy. I think we have been defeated in a war, and I think America’s been disarmed. I think it’s very weak, and I think a country without an army is in a very dangerous position. I think there are lots of people waiting to carve America up, psychically or actually.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen Looks at Himself by Danny Fields. Soho Weekly News, Vol. 1, #9. Dec 5, 1974.

Credit Due Department: This outstanding interview was discovered and contributed by Jugurtha Harchaoui.

“I see a time when Elders will be honored…” Leonard Cohen, 1968


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So many I speak to are in a personal moral crisis. We are in the midst of a moral revolution. I see a time when Elders will be honored. By the time the hippies are old, they may be the Elders and heal the gap between the generations. There will be a society when the old are consulted again.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

Also see Leonard Cohen’s Lays Out His Mission In 1974: “To Become An Elder”

From Poet Writer Singer Lover Cohen by Paul Grescoe. Canadian Magazine: February 10, 1968.Photo from York University Libraries, Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections, Toronto Telegram fonds, F0433, Photographer: John Sharp, ASC01709. Originally posted April 13, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen Gives Good Interview – The Book: Review Of Leonard Cohen On Leonard Cohen + Q&A With Editor Jeff Burger

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Leonard Cohen On Leonard Cohen: Interviews and Encounters (Musicians in Their Own Words)

The Basic Points

1. This is a collection of 50+ Leonard Cohen interviews, the earliest of which is a transcript of the 1966 Take 30 CBC TV session with Adrienne Clarkson and the most recent a 2012 piece by Dorian Lynskey for the Guardian (London). Fans are likely to be familiar with many of these but a number were previously unavailable (see Q&A  Question #3 below). The interviews are supplemented with a foreword by Suzanne Vega, a preface, including a brief biography of Cohen, by the editor, Jeff Burger, and introductions to each of the interviews, many of which include comments from the interviewers.  The book also contains eight pages of photos (not included in the galley proof used for this review).

2. As noted repeatedly in posts on this site, Leonard Cohen gives good interview – sometimes in spite of egregiously narcissistic, overtly antagonistic, or embarrassingly incompetent interviewers. He is articulate, gracious, clever, and revealing.

3. If you have any interest in Leonard Cohen, this volume offers not only insights into the Canadian singer-songwriter and his work but also a delightfully entertaining read.

Leonard Cohen On Leonard Cohen Now Available

Leonard Cohen On Leonard Cohen has an official release date of April 1, 2014, but on checking this morning I discover that date is apparently an April Fools joke since Amazon lists the book as being in stock, at least in hardcover.

 Jeff Burger

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Note: The following biographic material and the above photo are from byjeffburger.com, a site which also provides more information about Leonard Cohen on Leonard Cohen and Burger’s other works.

Burger has been a writer and editor for more than four decades and has covered popular music throughout his journalism career. His reviews, essays and reportage on that and many other subjects have appeared in more than 75 magazines, newspapers and books, including Barron’s, The Los Angeles Times, Family Circle, Melody Maker, High Fidelity, Creem, Circus, Reader’s Digest, Gentlemen’s Quarterly, All Music Guide, the Berkeley Barb, The Morton Report and No Depression. He has published interviews with many leading figures from the music world, including Bruce Springsteen, Roger McGuinn, Wolfman Jack, Tom Waits, Foreigner’s Mick Jones, Billy Joel, Tommy James, the Righteous Brothers, Deep Purple’s Tommy Bolin, and members of Steely Dan and the Marshall Tucker Band. He has also interviewed many other public figures, such as Suze Orman, Daymond John, James Carville, Donald Trump, Sir Richard Branson, F. Lee Bailey, Sydney Pollack and Cliff Robertson.

Burger has been editor of several periodicals, including Phoenix magazine in Arizona, and he spent 14 years in senior positions at Medical Economics magazine, the country’s largest business magazine for doctors. A former consulting editor at Time Inc., he currently serves as editor of Business Jet Traveler.

Q&A: Jeff Burger

 1. You are the editor of a collection of interviews with Leonard Cohen. Who are the readers you had in mind when you put together Leonard Cohen on Leonard Cohen?

Serious fans who want to know more about the man behind the music will likely constitute the primary audience for Leonard Cohen on Leonard Cohen; I don’t expect that someone with just a passing interest will be likely to spend 600+ pages with his thoughts. But more people are becoming devoted fans every day and for them, this chronologically arranged collection should offer lots of insights and surprises and a chance to examine Cohen’s entire adult life as it unfolds through his own words.

2. How did you choose the specific interviews that comprise the book? Did you have any formal criteria? Do the articles that ended up in the book have any common characteristics?

While I had no formal criteria, I did make an effort to include material from as many years as possible. I also looked for interviews that shed new light; some repetition was inevitable—people tend to repeat stories, jokes and observations—but I tried to include conversations that showed some aspect of Cohen you couldn’t quite find elsewhere. I should add that I had no shortage of material to choose from. I passed on using dozens of Q&As and I was being approached about including interviews even after I’d finished the book.

3. The description of the book on your web site has it that “Approximately 25 percent of the material has not previously been printed anywhere. A few of the print pieces have not previously been published in English and some of the material has not previously been available in any format, including the many reflections and reminiscences that contributors supplied specifically for this project.” I know that previously unavailable content will be of special interest to fans who may have already read many interviews with and articles about Cohen. Can you tell us about this material that is available for the first time in English and, especially, the material that is available for the first time in any format in Leonard Cohen on Leonard Cohen? Continue Reading →

“As Roshi says, you can’t live in paradise – no restaurants or toilets.” Leonard Cohen On Boogie Street

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There are moments – I suppose when you embrace your children, or kiss your beloved, or plunge into a pool of cold water – when you forget who you are, when you forget yourself, and that’s a very refreshing occasion, and it’s paradise – there’s no you. But you resurrect immediately into Boogie Street. If you’re lucky, you resurrect with the residue of the experience of paradise. But, as Roshi says, you can’t live in paradise – no restaurants or toilets.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

State of Grace by Doug Saunders. Globe and Mail: Sept 1, 2001. Accessed 09 June 2014 at Ten New Songs. Originally posted June 12, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“There is no escape from loneliness except in yourself…” Leonard Cohen

Interviewer: I have always interpreted the your songs in a pained expressions of loneliness. Do you still feel this kind of pain even though you have found consolation and warmth in Suzanne and your children?

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I think marriage can also create real loneliness. When you get married and live with your wife, you begin to realize that there is no kind of comfort or repentance for inner loneliness. Not in marriage, not in friendships, not in money – nowhere. There you can look for comfort only for yourself and for your own self, and only then will you realize what your real turmoil is. And once you have gone through all this, it should comfort you and make you less lonely and depressed. But then you realize that the same feeling is still there – there is no escape from loneliness except in yourself. You can cling to me and get a lot of strength and comfort, but it will not release you from the pain forever. Life is only to be seen in some places in some places.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From ”En tunne vanhenevani lainkaan” – Leonard Cohen Soundissa 1976: The 2016 reprint of a June 1976 Leonard Cohen interview by Dougie Gordon. (Soundi: Nov 11, 2016) Via computer translation.

Credit Due Department: 1974 photo of Leonard Cohen by Emily Bindiger