“The only thing that differs in those writers [Celine, Burroughs, Gunter Grass, Sartre] and myself is that I hold out the idea of ecstasy as the solution.” Leonard Cohen 1967


The only thing that differs in those writers [Celine, Burroughs, Selbe, Gunter Grass, and Sartre] and myself is that I hold out the idea of ecstasy as the solution. If only people get high, they can face the evil part. If a man feels in his heart it’s only going to be a mundane confrontation with feelings, and he has to recite to himself Norman Vincent Peale slogans, ‘Be better, be good,’ he hasn’t had a taste of that madness. He’s never soared, he’s never let go of the silver thread and he doesn’t know what it feels to be like a god. For him, all the stories about holiness and the temple of the body are meaningless.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


From After the Wipe-Out, A Renewal” by Sandra Diwa, published in The Ubyssey (the student newspaper of the University of British Columbia), February 3, 1967. The photo is from York University Libraries, Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections, Toronto Telegram fonds, F0433, Photographer: John Sharp, ASC01708. Originally posted August 3, 2016 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen Talks About Drugs: “The recreational, the obsessional and the pharmaceutical. I’ve tried them all. I would be enthusiastically promoting any one of them if any one of those worked.”

Interviewer: I asked him… if he’d ever tried psychotherapy…

Leonard Cohen: It was an opinion of mine, based on no research or evidence-well, evidence, yes, because I saw my friends in therapy did not look improved. I preferred to use drugs. I preferred the conventional distractions of wine, women and song. And religion. But it’s all the same.

Interviewer: When you say ‘drugs’ do you mean something like Prozac, or the recreational kind?

Leonard Cohen: Well, the recreational, the obsessional and the pharmaceutical. I’ve tried them all. I would be enthusiastically promoting any one of them if any one of those worked.

From Look Who’s Back at 67: Gentle Leonard Cohen by  Frank DiGiacomo. New York Observer: Oct 15, 2001. Photo by Chris Buck Website Instagram

“It was dangerous to accept a potato chip at a cocktail party then [1960s]. I speak literally. It could be sprinkled with acid. I went to somebody’s room [at the Chelsea Hotel] who was having a cocktail party, had a few chips, and four days later was still trying to find my room.” Leonard Cohen

chotelFrom I Never Discuss My Mistresses Or My Tailors by Nick Paton Walsh. The Observer, October 14, 2001. Photo by Chris Goldberg.

Leonard Cohen explains why he swore off drugs (1992): “I spent many years in the meditation hall establishing some kind of balance in what is left of my soul, and I don’t like to threaten that.”


Life Of A Lady’s Man by Brian D. Johnson. Maclean’s: Dec 7, 1992. Note: Originally posted July 30, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“I never really got into cocaine. I tried it but I don’t really like ingesting things through my nose. It always seemed so undignified for a chap of my stature.” Leonard Cohen

Quotation from Leonard Cohen: Porridge? Lozenge? Syringe? by Adrian Deevoy. Q, 1991. Animation of Leonard Cohen’s stage gesture when singing “When you’ve done a little line or two” from live video of Everybody Knows.

“Pot doesn’t do anything for me. Want some?” Leonard Cohen On LSD, MDs, & Marijuana

I don’t get high with LSD. I see people hallucinating all around me, but I don’t get high. I don’t mean to say that I got there first, but I just know that vision. You know, I find it very familiar. It’s one that I’m in most of the time. Taking LSD for me was not the most significant spiritual experience. I don’t want to put it down — it has done beautiful things for a lot of people. But for me it was just revisiting somewhere that I am anyway. I don’t think there’s any danger in LSD. I would take LSD as long as it wasn’t under medical supervision. I just don’t think there are any doctors around who could provide you with a guide. They aren’t spiritually advanced enough. It would be like…like giving somebody a diamond and then giving him a guard to prevent him from picking his teeth with it. Pot doesn’t do anything for me. Want some?quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


Leonard Cohen on his experience with LSD (been there – without doing that), the spiritual ineptitude of physicians, and the ineffectiveness of marijuana in his case. Note that Leonard, ever the gracious host, politely offers the interviewer a toke.

From Is the World (or Anybody) Ready for Leonard Cohen? by Jon Ruddy. Maclean’s: October 1, 1966. Photo taken in Edmonton in 1966 by Rocco Caratozzolo, contributed by Kim Solez. Originally posted August 11, 2010 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen On Janis Joplin & Drugs

You wrote Chelsea Hotel about Janis Joplin. Were you aware, during the time you knew her, that she was killing herself?

I hoped that Janis might have been in for a long haul the way that Bob Dylan or Joni Mitchell have been but you kind of knew that the candle was burning at both ends and she probably wouldn’t make it. Just in the way that she sang and the way that she lived. But at the time we didn’t know that you couldn’t do that forever. It’s like now they say that cigarettes and sugar and even white bread can kill. But we didn’t even know that heroin could kill you. I was somewhat older than most of those people so I favoured a moderate position. Also, because I’d come up through the literary side, I knew the biographies of the poets and how they’d wrecked themselves. So I didn’t feel like going on the trip. And I did caution moderation to a few people but you can’t get them to stop using something unless they want to do it themselves.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


From Porridge? Lozenge? Syringe? by Adrian Deevoy/ Q Magazine: 1991. Found at LeonardCohenFiles. Photo of Janis Joplin by Columbia Records (Billboard page 5) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.