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

“I was able to speak to myself in a very frank sort of way… I would set up this little Wacom tablet, and a mirror… and I’d just do a very quick sketch and then, what that sketch suggested, I would write something.” Leonard Cohen On His Self-Portraits

Interviewer: His artwork is a form of meditation, a daily practice that helps ground him and prepare him for his day.

I think of it all as notes. There were years when I would do a self-portrait every morning. I have hundreds of them. It was just a way to start the day with a kind of device to wake up… [Interviewer: His self-portraits never depict him as happy.] Well, who is? Is this unique to me?… I was able to speak to myself in a very frank sort of way. I would do it while I brewed my coffee. I would set up this little wood Wacom tablet, and a mirror, a little mirror, and I’d just do a very quick sketch and then, what that sketch suggested, I would write something. [My drawing is] transcendent decoration. If it has any value at all, it’s because it’s harmless and doesn’t invite any deep intellection. I have always loved things, just things in the world. I love trying to find the shape of things. [Interviewer: And the nude women?] I would just see a beautiful woman photographed in a pornographic magazine. I would see a figure in Playboy or something like that, and I’d just take the form. I rescue her. I put her back in the twelfth century, where she belongs. You know, I couldn’t get anyone to undress.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


From He Has Tried in His Way to Be Free by Sarah Hampson (Lion’s Roar: Nov 1, 2007). Photo by Lorca Cohen.

“Jesus! Shit! What the fuck’s happening?” Leonard Cohen, Commenting On His Computer File Crashing

Note: These words are not, as far as can be determined, from any of the 80 verses of Hallelujah

Quote from Porridge? Lozenge? Syringe? by Adrian Deevoy/ Q Magazine: 1991. Found at LeonardCohenFiles. Photo found in Prophet Of The Heart by Dorman & Rawlins, Omnibus Press: 1990

Leonard Cohen Explains How He Became A Mac Man

At a certain point Macintosh gave free computers to Canadian writers, including Margaret Atwood, Irving Layton, and Jack McClelland. Not only that, they were kind enough to provide tutors who actually came to my house and helped me set up and showed me how to work it. So I got interested in the Macintosh computer quite early.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


From Leonard Cohen by Robert Enright (Border Crossings, Issue No 194, Dec. 2007). Photo by Lorca Cohen (2004). Originally posted November 17, 2011 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Bob Dylan Congratulates PEN Lyrics Award Winners Chuck Berry “Shakespeare Of Rock And Roll” & Leonard Cohen “Kafka Of The Blues”

To Chuck, the Shakespeare of rock and roll, congratulations on your PEN award, that’s what too much monkey business will get ya . . . Say hello to Mr. Leonard, Kafka of the blues, and Lord Byron Keith [Richards] if he shows up. In all seriousness, Chuck, congratulations on this prestigious honor. You have indeed written the book with a capital B, and congratulations to Leonard, who’s still writing it

Bob Dylan writing on the occasion of the 26 February 2012 PEN New England Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award Ceremony

Note: “Too Much Monkey business” refers to Berry’s song of the same name.

Chuck Berry – Too Much Monkey Business

\Note: Originally posted Feb 27, 2012 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“Rob Hallett & Leonard Cohen Plot Over An iPad At Dinner” April 18, 2012

hallettt-cohen-campcohen-scaled1000Photo and caption posted April 18, 2012 at Greetings From Camp Cohen by J.S. Carenza III.

Curious about what it was on that iPad that so captured the attention of Messrs Hallett1 and Cohen last night, I fired up the High Resolution Reflectometric Image-Capture Enhancer I picked up on eBay when the Durham NC CSI lab upgraded.  Check out the right lens of Leonard Cohen’s sunglasses in the blow-up below.

blowup3-scaled1000Yep, it’s the mirror image of the graphic (seen in the photo below) that illustrates the DrHGuy series, Cohen-Bieber Compared.


Note: Originally posted April 19, 2012 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric


  1. Rob Hallett is President Of International Touring at AEG Live and a key factor in persuading Leonard Cohen to begin the series of tours that opened in 2008. Update: Hallett has since left AEG to head up his own music business Robomagic. []

Photo: Shades of Leonard Cohen Working On His Mac

Sporting nifty sunglasses with graduated amber shading, Leonard Cohen, a long-time Mac adherent, works at his computer equipped with what looks to me like a Wacom drawing tablet. His work space also sports a mouse pad and a keyboard pad that presage the carpets covering the stage at  some Leonard Cohen World Tour concerts, such as the March 2, 2013 show at the Paramount Theater in Oakland, California. (Also see Leonard Cohen On The Carpet – In Concert)

Leonard Cohen - Screen captures from video by Wayne Weber taken at the March 2, 2013 concert in Oakland, California at the Paramount Theater

Leonard Cohen – Oakland, 2013 (Screen capture from video by Wayne Weber)

Credit Due Department: This altogether delightful photo was taken by Lorca Cohen.