Hear Leonard Cohen Recite Poems & Talk About Life At Mt Baldy Zen Center, Writing Lyrics, His Kids… – 1998 Radio Interview

Chris Douridas interviewed Leonard Cohen on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic – March 3, 1998. Highlights include

  • “I’m a bad monk” – Life at Mt Baldy Zen Center, including cooking for Roshi
  • “No existential leap” – Leonard’s recitation of A Thousand Kisses Deep, including a line written that day
  • “The old are kind” – Leonard’s recitation of a quatrain
  • Discussion of Leonard’s participation in the Montreal poets group
  • The public’s belated discovery of Dance Me To The End Of Love
  • Leonard’s painstaking writing style
  • The influence of Mediterranean music
  • The work of his children, Adam & Lorca

“They understand I’m not Depeche Mode, but I think they take the measure of it” Leonard Cohen Talks About His Teenage Kids’ Opinions Of His Music And The Prospect Of Adam Becoming A Musician (1988)

Now that they’re teenagers, what do your kids think of your music?

Leonard Cohen: I just spoke to my son — he’s 15 — on the telephone and he said, “Dad, I’ve just been listening to Various Positions and I want you to know I really respect your writing.” It was pretty nice. I gave him a cassette of I’m Your Man before it came out and both my children recited all the lyrics to me.

So they’re fans.

Leonard Cohen: They are very judicious. They understand I’m not Depeche Mode, but I think they take the measure of it. My son has started to write lyrics, so he knows what some of the problems are.

Does he want to be a musician?

Leonard Cohen: I don’t think so, but he happens to be gifted in that realm, so there’ll always be that temptation. He’s a very good singer – a real singer. His pitch is good, he could do it.

He could sing your songs.

Leonard Cohen: He could, but I don’t think he’s interested in the business, in a career in showbiz. I never was. I never thought I was until I had the revelation that I was a songwriter living in L.A.

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

A Young Lorca Cohen Packs CDs By Dylan, Grateful Dead, Fugazi, & Leonard Cohen (aka “Dad”) For Boarding School Stay

“She didn’t have to do that. It was wonderful.”

Leonard Cohen

From An Interview With Leonard Cohen by Rob O’Connor (Downtown, Feb 12, 1992). This article was contributed by Dominique BOILE. Originally posted Aug 6, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Father’s Day Photo & Greeting From Leonard Cohen – 2016

fday

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Happy Father’s Day!quotedown2

Leonard

Leonard sends Father’s Day greetings and this brilliant photo of himself reading to his children, Lorca & Adam (along with a kitten clutched by Adam) at their home in Hydra.

2017 Update: Leonard sent this Father’s Day photo and greeting my way at this time last year (2016). It immediately became one of my favorite shots of Leonard and his children. Now, the fact that he took the time and effort to search out and forward this photo when he was already in pain and all but incapacitated by the illness that led to his death renders this image all the more poignant and moving.

Also see Leonard Cohen As A Father

“It is agreeable to see [my daughter] go back to school with her satchel of CDs including Dylan, the Grateful Dead, & myself.” Leonard Cohen 1992

From Cohen’s Reputation For Solemnity Ill-Gained By Mary Campbell. AP Story, published in The Hour (Norwalk, CT): Mar 28, 1992. Originally posted at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“It is only when you have children that you’re truly forced to give up looking only at yourself and start worrying about some other lives” Leonard Cohen


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It is only when you have children that you’re truly forced to give up looking only at yourself and start worrying about some other lives. If you attempt to respond to a child, you can never think of yourself in the same way again. You stop being the center of your drama, which becomes very secondary in light of your children’s needs, of their urgency. I understood right away that the trap had slammed shut (laughs)… There are many marvelous aspects of course; the beauty is indisputable. But the destruction of your self image is inevitable. There were many things that I didn’t like about myself. I was very selfish, I was only concerned with myself. I wouldn’t admit that other beings were legitimately worth my attention.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Comme Un Guerrier by Christian Fevret (Throat Culture magazine, 1992). Photo contributed by Leonard Cohen. Originally posted at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Revisiting Billboard’s 1998 Tribute To Leonard Cohen

Billboard’s 30th Anniversary Tribute To Leonard Cohen – November 28, 1998

The November 28, 1998 issue of Billboard contains a 14 page celebration of Leonard Cohen:

The tribute is a 14 page appendix in the middle of the magazine. A recent interview with Leonard written by with Susan Nunziata was also posted on Billboard’s own website, but there is more in the magazine – we can read comments from his co-workers and friends, like Phil Spector, Jennifer Warnes, and Steve Lindsey. Dylan Siegler writes about Leonard’s career. There are numerous stylish advertisements showing great photos of Leonard and his family. For instance the staff at Stranger Management, his promoters, record companies, financial advisors, music publisher, and TV/radio channels greet him. A touching ad is on page LC-12: photos from Leonard’s family album are presented with the text “With love from your family; Suzanne, Lorca, Adam and Esther”.1

The Nunziata interview is studded with gems, including  Cohen’s acknowledgment of  his debt to Jennifer Warnes:

Jennifer Warnes practically revived me from the dead in America by putting out Famous Blue Raincoat.… She’s been an invaluable help in my life.

And there is also a discussion of Cohen’s project with Phil Spector:

Of note was Cohen’s collaboration with Phil Spector on the album “Death of a Ladies’ Man”. The almost unimaginable combination of Spector and Cohen has been well documented. Spector’s obsession with guns, his heavy drinking, his tendency to surround himself with menacing henchmen, and his penchant to threaten musicians. The now infamous stories of Spector holding a gun to Cohen’s neck as a sign of his unswerving affection and his obsessive possessiveness of the master tapes, to the extent that Cohen was prevented from hearing the mixes before the album was released, are now legendary. The sound and style of Ladies’ Man were in such contrast to Cohen’s previous work that it came as a great disappointment to him.

However, with the intervention of time, Cohen has mellowed and warmed toward the album and has now developed a great affection for it, even to the extent that he has entertained the possibility of working with Spector again. Spector, for his part, expressed great admiration for Cohen, and warmly cherished the honor of working with Cohen and of sharing in the writing and production of “Death of a Ladies’ Man”. [emphasis mine]

The Cohen Cover Photo

The intriguing qualities of the interview notwithstanding, I am more taken with the ads placed in the Cohen tribute section by his business associates and family (seen in the following sections) and the spectacularly cluttered cover (seen atop this post).

While I understand the significance of the Cohen-authored books and albums comprising the border of the cover and the fact that no periodical is likely to sacrifice its own logo to highlight a cover photo, I am convinced the simple image of Leonard Cohen, freed of the clunky icons surrounding the image’s perimeter, is far more striking.

The Leonard Cohen Family Ad

Clearly the highlight of the ads is the touching collection of family photos with the inscription

With love from your family;
Suzanne, Lorca, Adam and Esther

Ad From Moses Znaimer

Moses Znaimer was the head of several Canadian specialty channels, including  Much Music, MusiquePlus, MusiMAX, and MuchmoreMusic. His ad places Cohen on a background filled with images of music, Hebrew script, a rose, a statue emblematic of Eastern thought, and a list of Cohen’s roles: Poet, Singer, Songwriter, Rabbinical Student, Buddhist Adept, and Lover Of Women.

Ad From European Promoters

I first award this ad the prize for Funniest Tribute Ad because of its legend,

First we take Manhattan
Then we take a break

… and the accompanying pseudo-Polaroid of Cohen collapsed on the floor.

It also wins the award for Most Sincere Tribute Ad because of the openly self-serving signature lines:

Dear Leonard,
We can’t wait to see you back on the road.
Love, Fleming, Steen, & your European promoters.

Ad From Greenberg & Associates Financial Advisors

Things change. In 2005, Cohen and his legal team would accuse Greenberg of failing to warn Cohen about his dangerous financial situation. 2

Ad From Stranger Music

Some things really change. The text reads,

“Like a bird on the wire
Like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free”

Dearest Leonard,
With great love and affection,
from Kelley [Lynch], Joan [Lynch], Jack [Lynch], and all your friends at Stranger Management, and from Steve Lindsey [arranger & producer]

The ad shows Leonard Cohen playing  at University Of Rome in 1974  (see Rare Photos: Leonard Cohen’s 1974 Appearance At The University Of Rome – Performance & Book Promo).

View The Original Tribute

The entire Tribute section can be found at Google Books
Note: Originally posted Mar 24, 2011 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

  1. Source: LeonardCohenFiles []
  2. Leonard Cohen’s Troubles May Be a Theme Come True By Marc Weingarten.  New York Times October 6, 2005. []