Bob Dylan And Leonard Cohen Back Congruent Cologne Concepts

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The Singer-Songwriter Scent Of Success

Lost in the rages of fragrance
– From “The Window” by Leonard Cohen

Ongoing readers will recall the previous post, Indifference: Leonard Cohen’s Cologne Concept, focused on Cohen’s his vision he shared with Sean Dixon, aka Sleep66:

Leonard once told me he was going to come out with his own cologne. It was going to be called “Indifference,” and its slogan was going to be “I don’t give a shit what happens”

That same post also included the Cohencentric ad proposal as a means of furthering this venture.

It turns out that Leonard Cohen is not the only iconic singer-songwriter to consider developing his own line of cologne. The following excerpt is from Carrie Fisher’s book, “Wishful Drinking:”

Dylan wasn’t calling to ask me on a date. He was calling because this cologne company had contacted him to ask if he would endorse a cologne called Just Like A Woman. Now Bob didn’t like that name, but he liked the idea of endorsing a cologne. And he wanted to know if I had any good cologne names.

Do I look like someone who would be wandering around with a bunch of cologne names rattling around in my head?

Well, tragically, I did. I did have quite a few ideas for cologne names and so I told them to Bob.

There was Ambivalence – for the scent of confusion.

Arbitrary – for the man who doesn’t give a shit how he smells!

And, Empathy – feel like them, smell like this.

Well, Bob actually liked those!

The Dylan-Cohen Defecatory Disinterest Dialectic

The reader’s attention is called to the description of “Arbitrary,” the second of Ms Fisher’s designations winning Mr Dylan’s approval. The juxtaposition of that phrase, “for the man who doesn’t give a shit how he smells,” with Mr Cohen’s proposed slogan for his cologne, “I don’t give a shit what happens,” readily identifies the hitherto undiscovered motif employed by both of the men most often acknowledged as the poet- lyricists of their time:

Does Not Give A Shit

The Consequences

The intuitively apparent mythicocloacal significance implicit in this shared theme mandates a re-appraisal of the corpus of work produced by not only each of these artists but also all those performers influenced by them.

It also opens up, of course, a synergistic entrepreneurial opportunity for a combined Cohen-Dylan line of colognes for the discerning kind of man who is governed only by his own insouciance.

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The Cohen-Dylan Interface

All posts about Leonard Cohen’s & Bob Dylan’s opinions of each other, their meetings, and comparisons by others can be found at

Leonard Cohen Declines Bob Dylan’s Invitation To Play In Rolling Thunder Revue

rollthunLeonard Cohen Watches Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Baez Perform

Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue was less a conventional tour than a traveling carnival, replete with gypsies, cowboys, groupies, relatives (including Dylan’s mother), reporters, and various hangers-on, that camped at  local motels to play a series of gigs at small to intermediate sized venues – and, for good measure,  film “Renaldo and Clara,” a surrealistic movie – during fall 1975 and spring 1976.

The Rolling Thunder Revue featured not only Dylan but also  (at various times and in various doses) Joan Baez (Dylan’s ex-lover), Rambling Jack Elliott, Kinky Friedman, Joni Mitchell, Roger McGuinn (formerly of the Byrds), Bob Neuwirth, Ronee Blakley, and Allen Ginsberg. The backup musicians included T-Bone Burnett, Bob Stoner, Steven Soles, Luther Rix, Howie Wyeth, Mick Ronson (David Bowie’s guitarist and arranger from the Ziggy Stardust era), and David Mansfield as well as violinist Scarlet Rivera, whom Dylan found, literally, on the streets of  New York. On December 4, 1975, the night the Rolling Thunder Revue played the Montreal Forum in Montreal, Quebec, there was the chance that the troupe would be joined by Leonard Cohen.

But, that was not to be.

The story is best conveyed in this excerpt from “On the Road With Bob Dylan,” the account of the Rolling Thunder Revue by Larry (Ratso) Sloman that is oblgatory reading for any Dylan fan or anyone who wants to understand this epoch of pop music:

“Get Leonard please,” Dylan gets serious. “I got some people to see.”

Ratso walks over to the booth and dials Cohen’s house. After a few rings the poet picks up. “Leonard, this is Larry, how are you?”

“Can’t complain,” Leonard replies and Ratso remembers his work and laughs at the irony.

“Are you coming to the concert?”

“I guess so,” Cohen says in his world-weary monotone. “You’re so coy, Leonard.”

“Is it gonna be crowded?” the poet worries.

“You won’t have to deal with the crowds, we’ll zip in the stage door, Leonard,” Ratso reassures him, as Dylan keeps nudging the reporter, trying to grab the phone. “Tell him to come through the back door,” Dylan whispers in Ratso’s ear. Ratso frowns and hands Dylan the phone.

“Leonard? Yeah, how you doing? Can’t complain, huh. Well I could but I won’t. You wanna come to the show? Fatso can pick you up.”

“Ratso, not Fatso,” the reporter pokes Dylan, “but he doesn’t know me as Ratso.”

“Yeah, Larry’ll pick you up. You got four people? Sure, easy, hey, if you wanna play a couple of songs that would be all right too_ Pardon? OK, whatever you feel like doing. We’re gonna hang around for a few days, we got some film to shoot. We’re also making a movie so we’re gonna be shooting tomorrow and the next day, here. Maybe after the show we can get together if that’s OK with you. OK, man, Larry’ll pick you up, see you later then.” Dylan hangs up and the trio starts back toward the bar.

Cohen’s house is a tiny affair, located in the heart of old Montreal, a student, foreigner, bohemian ghetto. Ratso shivers as he walks up the block looking for the address. He finds it, and knocks on the door. Muffled sounds but no answer. A few more knocks. No response. Suddenly the reporter notices the door is slightly ajar and he throws it open. And steps into a sea of sound, the harmonicas, spoons, kazoos, and spirited voices washing over him like a funky Jacuzzi. Cohen is ringleading, playing the harmonica, stomping his foot on a chair, leading the vocal to a French chanson. “How are you, my friend?”

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