“We [Canadians] grow up on the edge of America and we watch America the way that women watch men: very, very carefully.” Leonard Cohen

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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.”quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

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.

“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.” Leonard Cohen On The Strategic Position Of I’m Your Man

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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.

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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.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Leonard Cohen’s Nervous Breakthrough by Mark Rowland, Musician, July 1988.

Leonard Cohen Collaborates With Phil Spector & Taunts Phil’s Bodyguard, “You’re a motherfucking pussycat. You don’t even know how to use that [gun]”

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From Leonard Cohen by John Walsh (MOJO: Sept 1994). Originally posted at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“The true position is not a Sunday School position. It is not the platform you thought you had developed to present yourself as the guy you want people to know about. But the thing is, it is the way a guy feels when he’s trying to get a girl back.” Leonard Cohen

 

It sounds like this album [I’m Your Man] was like your personal psychologist, where you go in and say, ‘This is what I’m feeling,’ and the therapist says okay but keep talking, and ultimately, you discover that your real feelings are completely the opposite.

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Right, right. The true position is not a Sunday School position. It is not the platform you thought you had developed to present yourself as the guy you want people to know about. But the thing is, it is the way a guy feels when he’s trying to get a girl back. [laughter]quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen’s Nervous Breakthrough by Mark Rowland. Musician, July 1988.

“Sometimes I feel like my work is like an ice cube… you can put it in a Coke or you can put it in a scotch… it just has… the effect of cooling your drink, which is an urgent effect, to give comfort.” Leonard Cohen

 

In mythology, there’s the idea that the artist has one image, a poem or memory that is so central to their work they can never reveal it. Do you have a fixed or central image that you draw from?

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Now in my case there is no secret. Not only that, but I think that, from a certain point of view, my songs are free from meaning and significance. There’s not a secret that is being concealed, there’s nothing that I am not yielding. It really doesn’t have a meaning any more than a diamond has a meaning. The meaning is that it was cut and polished and it produces light. Sometimes I feel like my work is like an ice cube… you can put it in a Coke or you can put it in a scotch… it just has an effect, it’s hard to say what it’s getting at, I’m not sure it’s getting at anything but an effect, the effect of cooling your drink, which is an urgent effect, to give comfort.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Sincerely, L. Cohen by Brian Cullman (Details for Men, January, 1993). Originally posted at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“[Phil Spector] is very nice but he pretends to be violent. He kept a lot of guns around and armed bodyguards; bullets and wine bottles littered the floor…A pretty dangerous situation.” Leonard Cohen

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I knew his [Spector’s] songs, I liked his work a lot. But I didn’t know what it was to work with him in the studio! He had come to one of my concerts here in Los Angeles at the Troubadour. After the concert, Phil invited us to his house. The house was freezing because of the air conditioning; it was four degrees. He locked the door so we couldn’t leave. I said ‘Listen Phil, if you lock us in here, we are going to get bored… So as long as we are locked up we might as well write some songs together.’ So we started that very night. We wrote songs together for about a month, it was fun. Phil is really a charming guy when you are with him alone. I would write the words, then he would work on the melody, then I would revise the words to better fit the melody. We would exchange ideas. But in the studio when other people were around he was a totally different man. He is very nice but he pretends to be violent. He kept a lot of guns around and armed bodyguards; bullets and wine bottles littered the floor…A pretty dangerous situation. I wouldn’t say Phil is someone lovable, but he wasn’t mean – except once when he pointed a gun to my throat and then cocked it. He said ‘I love you Leonard.’ I responded ‘I hope you love me Phil.’ (laughs)… Once in the studio he pointed a revolver at the violinist who then packed up his violin and ran out (laughs)… But it was a bad time for Phil too. My mother was dying of leukemia, I was constantly going between Montreal and Los Angeles…quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Comme Un Guerrier by Christian Fevret (Les Inrocks: Aug 21, 1991). Via Google Translate. Originally posted Feb 22, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

More Posts About the Leonard Cohen Phil Spector Collaboration

Leonard Cohen Reveals “The only thing I’ve learned [about songwriting]”

I would like to know if you have any advice on the craft of song writing

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The only thing I’ve learned is that if you stick with it long enough a song will eventually yield but ‘long enough’ is often an alarming duration. I’m speaking personally. Great songs have been written in minutes.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Online Web Chat October 16, 2001.

Leonard Cohen Explains Why Phil Spector’s Death Of A Ladies’ Man Recording Sessions Lasted Until Early Morning Hours

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Phil [Spector] would make his opinions on LA football teams clear to everyone, taking a couple of hours. His analysis of the basketball situation in North America took hours every night and he talked about his devotion to laws that let us carry firearms.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen: My album will be classic in 10 years By Mary Campbell. AP: Feb 1978. Originally posted August 3, 2016 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric