“Why would [Bob Dylan] go for Jesus at a late time like this? … I don’t get the Jesus part.” Leonard Cohen

dylanturnschristian-jwarnes-lcoohen

Excerpt from Down the Highway: The Life of Bob Dylan by Howard Sounes Grove Press (April 12, 2002) p 336

The Cohen-Dylan Interface

All posts about Leonard Cohen’s & Bob Dylan’s opinions of each other, their meetings, and comparisons by others can be found at

Originally posted Jan 15, 2010 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen Identifies Himself As “One Of The First Punks,” Tells Bovine Sex Joke, Talks About Roshi, Nick Cave, Jennifer Warnes, Dominique Issermann, & More – 1988 Video Interview

Topics Covered In Interview With Christian Eckert (Munich 1988):

  • Leonard Cohen’s I’m Your Man album
  • Post-Modernist Disco
  • Leonard as one of earliest Punk Rockers
  • His young bull/old bull joke
  • Book of Mercy
  • “I don’t have time to think about politics”
  • How Jennifer Warnes’ Famous Blue Raincoat rehabilitated him
  • Leonard’s attitude covers of his work
  • Nick Cave rescuing his song “to let it fall apart again”
  • His computer
  • Living in a Portuguese section of Montreal\
  • Roshi
  • Gap between public and private life
  • Critics being on trial
  • Concerns about next tour
  • Dominique Issermann’s direction of First We Take Manhattan video

View video on YouTube

“It’s singing on poetry. It’s an elegant and wonderful event that I feel fortunate I could do year after year.” Jennifer Warnes On Performing Leonard Cohen Songs

How did you decide which songs to put on Famous Blue Raincoat?

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The ones that suited my voice, and they had to hang together. I wanted it to be a whole album. Roscoe [Beck] and I had been in Leonard’s band for the Field Commander Cohen tour, so we knew the songs. It wasn’t like we casually cherry-picked a few – we knew exactly which ones had to be and delivered a kind of musical payoff. Leonard is not known for his great melodies, but he actually is a great melody writer. If you take the words off and just listen to the melodies, he’s really, really good. It’s just not known, because we’re so distracted by the poetry.quotedown2

Jennifer Warnes

 

Jennifer Warnes by Carl Wiser (Songfacts: April 13, 2018) is an informative and entertaining interview with Jennifer Warnes about working with Leonard Cohen, her musical history, and her impending album, Another Time, Another Place. The entire piece, available at the link, is a highly recommended read.

“My first tour with Leonard [Cohen] was in 1972. Looking into his audience, I saw a sea of beautiful faces not unlike the ecstatic ones you see in old religious paintings, where the men and women were openly weeping.” Jennifer Warnes

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My first tour with Leonard was in 1972. Looking into his audience, I saw a sea of beautiful faces not unlike the ecstatic ones you see in old religious paintings, where the men and women were openly weeping—and even though I was only 22 years old, I knew I was not in Kansas anymore. This was the tour when famously the audience sang to him in Jerusalem [after Cohen walked offstage mid-performance, overwhelmed by the crowd’s applause]. I was onstage when it happened; we were crying, and it was this moment when I understood the depth of his commitment and their commitment to him. I think somebody had given him some windowpane acid, and it was coming on as they were singing to him. He thought a miracle was happening, and you could see it on his face. He just sat down on the stage and listened to them sing. It was a Jewish chant, and it was heart-rendingly beautiful. I’m just this sunshine girl from Orange County! And when I encountered such depth and richness and spiritual power—when I finally understood that kind of intimacy within music was possible—I came home changed. I refused to go out on tour with an opening act for Neil Diamond, not because I disliked Neil Diamond, but because I was still reverberating from that impact. Leonard shattered my relationship with pop music, and now I’ve had this career that kind of vacillated between pop and music with meaning.quotedown2

Jennifer Warnes

 

From Remembering Leonard Cohen: Close Friends, Collaborators & Critics on How He Changed Music Forever by Sasha Frere-Jones (Billboard: November 17, 2016).

“I wanted to be around [Leonard Cohen] because I wanted to be around that radical kindness.” Jennifer Warnes

It’s probably hard to pick one [song[, but what are your favorites?

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I have no favorites. My favorites are my friendship with the man himself. I don’t care about the music on some level. I care about the man. I care about the man and what he gave and what we stood for. What he showed and how he led, with gentleness and kindness and tenderness. And how he respected women, the overwhelming gentleness always shocked me because I was raised in a rougher universe. I came from that situation where men didn’t treat women well, so to be around somebody so overwhelmingly gentle, you kind of put everybody else on the back burner. I wanted to be around him because I wanted to be around that radical kindness. And I think people sensed that he was like that, but as a woman to be around that? It was the reason why everybody wanted to be his girlfriend or his boyfriend or whatever. He was revolutionary in the stance that he brought to the world. So the music is gorgeous and the body of work is huge. And, you know, he is Dylan’s equal. But I would say when all is said and done, what I’m going to remember are a few tones of voice and the look in the eyes and his impeccable timing when you were in pain, those kinds of things. I’ll remember that I woke up from a surgery to see him in there sleeping in the hospital, and I’ll remember him at my mother’s funeral. That’s what I’ll remember.quotedown2

Jennifer Warnes

 

From ‘Born to be his conduit’: Jennifer Warnes remembers her friend and collaborator Leonard Cohen by Randall Roberts (LA Times: Nov 14, 2016)

Listen To, Download 1994 BBC Radio 1 Kaleidoscope Interview With Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen, Jennifer Warnes, Suzanne Vega Talk About Songwriting & More

The description from BBC Radio follows:

Duration: 28 mins

Songwriter Leonard Cohen reflects on the art of songwriting with the help of collaborator Jennifer Warnes and long time fan Suzanne Vega in this Kaleidoscope special. Cohen tells the stories behind some of his most famous songs and recalls an eventful session with a gun obsessed Phil Spector. Part of Radio 4 on Music, re-releasing the best of Radio 4’s Music Archive.

Listen to this broadcast at the BBC Radio site

MP3 Download

The interview can be played directly from the BBC Radio site (see arrow on screenshot atop this post) but downloading is allowed. Just right click on the following link, choose “save link as,” and download

1994 BBC Radio 1 Interview With Leonard Cohen

Note: Originally posted Jan 31, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“Leonard told me once that the most important person in your life might not be your significant other, or your parent, but a special teacher. There is no doubt in my mind that Leonard came to teach.” Jennifer Warnes On Leonard Cohen “that beautiful Canadian teacher, lover and revolutionary”


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You would see the line of women standing at the hotel door, and I didn’t want to join that line. I wanted a piece of Leonard’s heart, which he didn’t give away casually. So I dug in my heels and I tended to the music whenever he wanted me there. That sustained our friendship for nearly 50 years. Leonard told me once that the most important person in your life might not be your significant other, or your parent, but a special teacher. There is no doubt in my mind that Leonard came to teach. He heard his inner voices clearly. One thing he always said was that he writes and writes and then discards the slogans. Isn’t that nice? That’s probably the way to get to your truth: Look for the difficult answers. Peel all the artifice away from yourself and your writing, and what remains is the news you need to bring forward. No matter how long it takes to heal ourselves and our country, Leonard Norman Cohen, that beautiful Canadian teacher, lover and revolutionary, has left us with tools we can really use. If only we could hear the song within him, now.quotedown2

Jennifer Warnes

 

From Remembering Leonard Cohen: Close Friends, Collaborators & Critics on How He Changed Music Forever by Sasha Frere-Jones (Billboard: November 17, 2016). The photo was a gift from Jennifer Warnes.

Leonard Cohen Explains Why He Changed Ain’t No Cure For Love From A Theological Proposition To A “Love Song About A Guy Who’d Lost A Girl”

jenn-lenn

With An Assist From Jennifer Warnes

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I had this idea that ‘there ain’t no cure for love’ in every sense of the matter. If you do have [love] it’s a kind of wound, and if you don’t have it it’s worse. And this is what Christ is about: Christ had to die because there ain’t no cure for love. You can’t change this world. And Christ, especially, understood this. So I wrote the whole song on those terms. [Interviewer: What terms?] Theological terms. And then I thought, ‘I’m never gonna get behind this, either. But Jenny [Jennifer Warnes] heard part of the song and she liked it. So I started writing a lyric that would have these ideas somewhere way, way back and no one would have to bother about them but me. It’d just be this love song about a guy who’d lost a girl.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen’s Nervous Breakthrough by Mark Rowland, Musician, July 1988. The photo is a gift from Jennifer Warnes.