Leonard Cohen Outs Himself As “A Rapacious, Gimlet-Eyed Pop Monster”

Dan Cairns: If you look back, and I’m not suggesting you do, but if you were to, are there moments in your life as a writer and musician that would be harder/more uncomfortable to have to remember than others? I’m thinking in terms of recordings, or decisions, you later regretted; or moments that, at this distance, could seem questionable in terms of motives? For instance, I don’t ever read much about your ambition, yet it must have been part of the picture, and created some blurred lines on occasion. I’m not expecting you to out yourself as having been a rapacious, gimlet-eyed pop monster, I’m just wondering if there are things that might, now, make you go: ‘Oh my.’

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No you got it right Dan. I am a rapacious gimlet-eyed pop monsterquotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From the Dan Cairns – Sunday Times Culture questionnaire Leonard Cohen sent me Oct 17, 2016. While portions of that questionnaire were incorporated into Leonard Cohen: Hey, that’s some way to say goodbye by Dan Cairns (The Sunday Times: October 23 2016), this specific response was not used.

“Arab countries are closer to my personal tastes than Israel. But my brothers had problems, and I went with them.” Leonard Cohen On His Participation In The Yom Kippur War


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The Bible says that ‘you must not remain inactive before your brother’s blood.’ When I went there [to Israel during the Yom Kippur War], I didn’t think about my attitude; I just went. In spite of being Jewish, I am a great admirer of Arab culture. And I wish I could live in those countries. In general, the Arab countries are closer to my personal tastes than Israel. But my brothers had problems, and I went with them.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Leonard Cohen Words And Silences by Constantino Romero. Vibrations 2 (November 1974). Republished in Rockdelux 356 (December 2016). Via Google Translate.

“When I stand on a stage, I feel I bring my private life with me there and that that’s what’s interesting or amusing.” Leonard Cohen

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Then you have invented for yourself a very non-typical existence for a performer.

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I think the value of anybody on a stage is where he comes from. It’s not really so much what he does at the moment, assuming that it reaches a certain level of excellence. The interesting thing for me is what a man or a woman brings from his or her own personal kind of ambience to the stage. I’m only valuable at this moment because I don’t live that star’s life. When I stand on a stage, I feel I bring my private life with me there and that that’s what’s interesting or amusing. That’s what’s entertaining about me. When I see other people perform, I think the same way. When I see Joni Mitchell perform, I think this is really the story of a girl who moved from the prairies to Beverly Hills. When I see myself, I think this is the story of a guy who was born in Montréal and lives there still. And there are different kinds of stories, you know? And I think that’s what’s interesting about all of us.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Leonard Cohen Looks at Himself by Danny Fields. Soho Weekly News, Vol. 1, #9. December 5, 1974

“I think a song always has two or three doors to enter it” Leonard Cohen

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But on occasions like this, when you find yourself on a tour, you have no choice but to face your work every day. You have to sing songs that may have stopped meaning something for you …  I think a song always has two or three doors to enter it. If you know which door to choose, you can almost always enter the song. And that’s what I try to do on stage: find a door that at that moment seems appropriate. Because if you approach a song in a cynical way, you end up making it boring. quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen Words And Silences by Constantino Romero. Vibrations 2 (November 1974). Republished in Rockdelux 356 (December 2016). Via Google Translate. Photo taken by Bernd Morlock and originally posted to Facebook by Sandra Gallian.

“[Death Of A Lady’s Man is] one long poem concentrated on as accurate an expression as I could get of the inner predicament of my marriage and many other marriages.” Leonard Cohen


Leonard Cohen: Thoughts Of A Ladies’ Man by Elizabeth M. Thomson. 1979 interview reposted to FolkTracks: Jan 12, 2017.