“I was drinking about three bottles of wine by the end of the tour… before every concert. I only drank professionally, I never drank after the concert.” Leonard Cohen On Château Latour & His 1993 Tour


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One of the reasons was that I was so wiped out physically by the end of my last tour because I was drinking heavily. I was drinking about three bottles of wine by the end of the tour… Before every concert. I only drank professionally, I never drank after the concert. I would never drink after intermission. It was a long tour. It must have been 60 to 70 concerts. [Interviewer: Why did you need to drink?] I was very nervous. And I liked drinking. And I found this wine, it was Château Latour. Now very expensive. It was even expensive then. It’s curious with wine. The wine experts talk about the flavour and the bouquet and whether it has legs and the tannins and the fruit and the symphonies of tastes. But nobody talks about the high. Bordeaux is a wine that vintners have worked on for about 1,000 years. Each wine has a very specific high, which is never mentioned. Château Latour, I don’t know how I stumbled on it, but it went with the music, and it went with the concert. I tried to drink it after the tour was over, and I could hardly get a glass down. It had no resonance whatsoever. It needed the adrenaline of the concert and the music and the atmosphere, the kind of desperate atmosphere of touring—desperate because I was drinking so much! I had a good time with it for a while, but it did wreck my health, and I put on about 25 pounds.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Cohen wore earplugs to a Dylan show? by Brian D. Johnson (Maclean’s: June 12, 2008)

“I think if I had one of those good voices, I would have done it completely differently. I probably would have sung the songs I really like rather than be a writer.” Leonard Cohen


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I think if I had one of those good voices, I would have done it completely differently. I probably would have sung the songs I really like rather than be a writer. When I was a kid I always had this fantasy of singing with a band. We’d have get-togethers and I’d sing ‘Racing with the Moon,’ stuff like that. I just don’t think one would have bothered to write if one could have really lifted one’s voice in song. But that wasn’t my voice. This is my voice.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

“Leonard Cohen’s Nervous Breakthrough” By Mark Rowland, Musician, July 1988. Photo by Johann Agust Hansen.

“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.

“It was just at a certain moment that I felt that songs of a certain quality came to me that somehow demanded … or somehow engage a larger audience” Leonard Cohen


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I’ve always played and sung. Ever since I was 15. I was in a barn dance group called the Buckskin Boys when I was about 18 .. 17. It was just at a certain moment that I felt that songs of a certain quality came to me that somehow demanded … or somehow engage a larger audience. Like when you write a good song, you feel like you can sing it to other people. When you write other songs that are not so good you just sing them to yourself. I don’t know … I think … I guess greed had something to do with it.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

Ladies and Gents, Leonard Cohen by Jack Hafferkamp (Rolling Stone: Feb. 4, 1971). Note: Originally posted Jan 9, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“I started bringing some songs together. And it really changed my whole scene.” Leonard Cohen On His Career Shift From Author To Singer-Songwriter


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A lot had to do with poverty. I mean I was writing books (two novels and four volumes of poetry) and they were being very well received … and that sort of thing, but I found it was very difficult to pay my grocery bill. I said, like it’s really happening. I’m starving. I’ve got beautiful reviews for all my books, and you know, I’m very well thought of in the tiny circles that know me, but like … I’m really starving. So then I started bringing some songs together. And it really changed my whole scene.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Ladies and Gents, Leonard Cohen by Jack Hafferkamp (Rolling Stone: Feb. 4, 1971). Photos: Copyright John Rettie – www.rocknrollphotographs.com

Note: Originally posted Jan 4, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric