Well, I know I’m in the prophecy business; but, I work so slowly that the business is almost bankrupt. For instance, I began this song about democracy in ’88 and I didn’t get it out till ’92. Well, by the time I got it out, the song was co-opted as a tool for the Democratic Party. It was played on the radio stations in the week of the election and it seemed to fit in with the President Elect’s programme.
From Leonard Cohen’s The Future Interview by Bob Mackowitz. Transcript from a radio special produced by Interviews Unlimited for Sony Music, 1992. Originally posted May 7, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
For Cohen, Grief Is Joy by Lynn Van Matre (Chicago Tribune: Nov 23, 1975). Photo by Pete Purnell. Thanks to Rike, who discovered and contributed the article
Interviewer: You once walked out on the stage to 500 people and remarked, “The person here in the most pain is me.” Could you ever have said something like that and not laughed out loud?
Leonard Cohen: Well I can’t even remember saying it! It is a hilarious line, though. I think Steve Martin could have delivered that line better than me. If I ever said anything like that, I hope I was laughing.
From Having Lunch With Leonard Cohen by Jon Wilde, Sabotage Times. Dec 3, 2015 (the quote itself is taken from a 1988 interview).
DrHGuy Note: The incident referenced by the interviewer and forgotten by Cohen is described in Leonard Cohen: The Poet as Hero by Jack Batten (Saturday Night, June 1969):
Then there was the concert at York University a couple of years ago,* just before his first record came out. “What he did, he mesmerized the five hundred people in the hall,” Alice [Freeman] says. “He walked on to the stage and lit some incense and looked out in the audience and said very quietly, ‘The person here in the most pain is me.’ Then he went into a soft chant and got everybody in a nice trance. After that, he talked and read and sang for three hours and every single person worshiped him. It turned into a Leonard Cohen love-in night.”
*Leonard Cohen played York University (Toronto) Feb 16-19, 1967
View more animated gifs at Leonard Cohen Animations
Note: Originally posted Dec 28, 2011 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
Leonard Cohen answering questions in Details (July, 1993). Photo by Clarence Risher – originally posted to Flickr as dsc_0938.jpg, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons. Originally posted Jan 15, 2010 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
The big change is the proximity to death. I am a tidy kind of guy. I like to tie up the strings if I can. If I can’t, also, that’s O.K. But my natural thrust is to finish things that I’ve begun.
Leonard Cohen Makes It Darker by David Remnick (New Yorker: October 17, 2016)
I mean, if I’d just nailed this lyric [The Future] to the Church door, like Martin Luther, it might be a cause for some trembling and menace; but, the fact is, it’s married to a hot little dance track. So, you’re going to dance your way through The Future. You’re going to dance your way through the whole record because the groove is honoured.
From Leonard Cohen’s The Future Interview by Bob Mackowitz. Transcript from a radio special produced by Interviews Unlimited for Sony Music, 1992. The transcript was prepared by Judith Fitzgerald. Originally posted May 7, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric