DrHGuy Note: The “new record” was Ten New Songs .
From October 16, 2001 Online Web Chat
Our writing process in general applied to almost everything we worked on. He’d present lyrics to me, I’d work on some music, then I’d go meet him at his house in Los Angeles. He’d make me something to eat first; tuna salad, or he’d scramble up some eggs, or egg salad. He made a great egg salad. Oh, and a roasted chicken! He loved roasted chicken and cauliflower. He’d done a lot of cooking at the Zen monastery. He had a certain very refined sense of hospitality, and he enjoyed when people would come by. Then there would be some discussion of his latest ideas that he was investigating about life and religion and philosophy. Or we’d talk about family and friends. There were these long periods of sort of setting the tone for the work. And then he’d listen to the music, several times, before deciding whether it was something we wanted to move forward with. We studied Zen together, and there were often just quiet moments, with incense and no words. He called me his ‘dharma sister.’ We toured for so long together, and sometimes it felt like we were soldiers preparing for battle. But traveling with Leonard, there’s a quiet, monastic tone to the whole thing. You’re just respectful of his space and his sense of contemplation. He would carry his own guitar; sit in the front of the bus, or the middle of the plane; sometimes he would write, but there wasn’t a lot of hoopla going on. We benefited from his aura. Still, he would always tell jokes—some were pretty corny, pretty dry and always with a twist. Even though his image is that of the very dark, solemn poet, Leonard loved to laugh.
From He Called Me His Dharma Sister by Sharon Robinson (Texture)
Credit Due Department: Photo by Marc Roed
My two cents worth: More harmonies, more harmonies, more harmonies! They lift from extremely satisfying to sublime. The album will be cherished by the lovers of beauty, but I want it to seduce millions. That part was clearly mapped out by The Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel. Forgive my impertinence,
Leonard Cohen’s reply to Hattie Webb after she’d forwarded some of the songs from her upcoming solo album over to LA for her “friend and teacher” to hear. From Leonard Cohen Tribute: The Webb Sisters On “Our Friend And Teacher” Hot Press: Dec 20, 2016. Photo of Hattie Webb taken at the Mar 2, 2013 Leonard Cohen Oakland Concert by Soheyl Dahi
I remember walking into a club called Max’s Kansas City that I’d heard was the place where everybody went — I didn’t know anybody in New York—and I remember lingering by the bar, I was never good at that kind of hard work that’s involved with socializing, and a young man came over to me and said, ‘You’re Leonard Cohen, you wrote Beautiful Losers,’ which nobody had read, it only sold a few copies in America. And it was Lou Reed. He brought me over to a table full of luminaries – Andy Warhol, Nico. I was suddenly sitting at this table with the great spirits of the time.
DrHGuy Note: While this is an account of Leonard Cohen meeting Lou Reed, Andy Warhol, and Nico in 1966, I’m most taken with Leonard comment on his own difficulties with “socializing.”
Quotation from I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen by Sylvie Simmons. Ecco: 2012. Photo by Eugene McLaughlin.