Sincerely, L. Cohen by Brian Cullman (Details for Men, January, 1993). Note: Originally posted Nov 5, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric.
They are very different. My dad [Loudon Wainwright III] almost becomes a child with children. He regresses. Leonard is always Leonard. What you see is what you get. He is very wise and imposing and he is like that with his kids too. It’s funny.
Rufus Wainwright is the father and Lorca Cohen, the daughter of Leonard Cohen, is the mother of Viva. Rufus Wainwright is also the son of singer-songwriter and actor, Loudon Wainwright III.
From Rufus Wainwright: Rock Dynasties, Gay Marriage And My Battle With Addiction by Sathnam Sanghera (The Times of London: August 29 2014). Photo atop post by Bruce Baker – ,Flickr. CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons. Originally posted September 3, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
An Interview with Leonard Cohen by Michael Harris. Duel: Winter 1969. The photograph of Leonard Cohen performing at the May 22, 1967 Queen’s Park Love-in1 (including reading his poetry) held in the Yorkville section of Toronto, was taken by Bill Dampier and is credited to York University Libraries, Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections, Toronto Telegram fonds, F0433, ASC26833.
- This is, as far as I can determine, the only officially designated “love-in” featuring a Leonard Cohen performance. [↩]
Q: Is there one piece of criticism that sticks in your mind?
Leonard Cohen: The only criticism that has stuck in my mind is that somebody once said to me that I had a cruel streak. Maybe that is too honest for this article. But that stayed with me, the possibility that I enjoyed and took pleasure in the discomfort of another’s distress.
Q: What is your greatest fear?
Leonard Cohen: That I have a cruel streak.
Q: What is your most unpleasant characteristic?
Leonard Cohen: I really don’t think I have a cruel streak.
From “Q Questionnaire – Leonard Cohen” in Q Magazine, September 1994. Photos by Gabriel Jones. Originally posted at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
You felt quite able to project the very personal, interior vision of your songs in front of 130,000 people?
When you’re singing for that many people, it becomes private again. This last concert I gave in Paris, the stage was high, like the side of a building, and the audience was way, way, way down there, so you’re really only dealing with the microphone. They’re at an event, they’re outside, the wind is howling, it’s an event on a different order and you take your place in the moment. But an audience of two or three or four thousand is the real test, because you can really do all the wrong things, you can play to the crowd, you can play for laughs, you can play for self-pity, you can play for heroic aspect; there are so many ways of selling out in front of an audience. There’s no such thing as a casual performance; one has an exact notion of what one is going to do out there.
From Leonard Cohen: The Romantic In A Ragpicker’s Trade by Paul Williams (Crawdaddy, March 1975). Photo by J..S. Carenza III.
Canadians are very involved in their country. We grow up on the edge of America and we watch America the way that women watch men: very, very carefully. So when there is this continual cultural challenge right on the edge of your lives, of course it develops a sense of solidarity. So, yes, it is a very important element in my life.”
From Leonard Cohen: ‘I’m a closet optimist’ [a report on the Sept 16, 2014 London Press Preview Of Leonard Cohen’s Popular Problems] by Andy Morris. Gigwise, Sept 16, 2014.
What’s great about the best folk and country music is the clarity, the removal of anything extraneous from the point. And listening to I’m Your Man, I hear that in your own writing again, those succinct narrative and musical qualities.
That’s what I’ve been working on for the last few years. I think The Book of Mercy was the final statement of the mystical, religious being. I don’t have to talk about religion anymore – it’s gone underground. I don’t think popular music is a good place to explore a lot of those ideas. The song that is going to survive in this landscape today has got to have a certain kind of power, of strength. You don’t put your philosopher at the head of the army. This is a time for a very strategic position – to the marketplace, and to the whole psychic landscape. Muscle is indicated, a kind of phalanx. A lot of other things have to be put behind the front line. If your heart has really been threatened with cynicism – one’s own, I’m talking about, not CBS’, [laughter] with the greed, the skepticism, the general devaluation of all spiritual currency that faces us today, a position has to be taken that is appropriate in the face of this real assault.
Leonard Cohen’s Nervous Breakthrough by Mark Rowland, Musician, July 1988.