“If they don’t like you they just get up and leave” Leonard Cohen On Why He Likes To Perform For Mental Patients


From Famous Last Words from Leonard Cohen by Paul Saltzman. Maclean’s: June 1972. Photo by Peter Brosseau. Found at Library and Archives Canada. Originally posted Dec 19, 2012 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric.

“I didn’t get enough money or women or fame for me to quit. I don’t have enough yet, so I’ve got to keep on playing. I know it’s rather unbecoming at forty to keep it all going, but I have to do it.” Leonard Cohen 1977

[I asked] Cohen about longevity in songwriters, why so few lasted past adolescence.

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I think there are a number of things that bear on that. You can burn yourself out, for one. The late teens and twenties are generally the lyric phase of a writer’s career. If you achieve enough fame and women and money during that period, you quit, because that’s generally the motivation. I mean, I didn’t get enough money or women or fame for me to quit. I don’t have enough yet, so I’ve got to keep on playing. I know it’s rather unbecoming at forty to keep it all going, but I have to do it.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

The Obscure Case of Leonard Cohen and The Mysterious Mr. M. by Bruce Pollock (After Dark: February 1977). Found at LeonardCohenFiles.

“I never thought we were singers. I certainly never had any musical standards to tyrannize me. I thought it was something to do with the truth, that if you told your story, that’s what the song was about.” Leonard Cohen

From Leonard Cohen Interviewed About Judy Collins and “Suzanne”. Photo Credit: Peter Brosseau/Library and Archives Canada/PA-170174.

“I suddenly found myself in dark cities, bad climates, and stuffy hotel rooms [instead of] a beautiful sunlit room on a Greek island…because the song seized me and the appetite for reaching many people seized me.” Leonard Cohen

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From Harry Rasky’s The Song of Leonard Cohen (1979). Photo by Pete Purnell.

Leonard Cohen On Touring & Monastic Life: “Once you get the hang of it, you go into ninth gear and kind of float through it all.”

From Cohen hopelessly in love with life on the road by Sylvie Simmons. London Daily Telegraph: June 14, 2013. Photo on viewer’s left by Szilvia Szanto. Originally posted June 15, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric.

“I’ve always seen song and poetry as the evidence of the life rather than the life itself, the picture of life is straight and if you really are experiencing things then this work is the evidence of that experience.” Leonard Cohen

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I don’t want to get into performing too much because I’ve always seen song and poetry as the evidence of the life rather than the life itself, the picture of life is straight and if you really are experiencing things then this work is the evidence of that experience. If your experience only becomes putting out for the public, and we are all whores in a certain level because we’re out there every night like the entertainer, but for me I couldn’t live that life totally because I know it would dry things up.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From The Sounds Interview 1971 by Billy Walker. Sounds: October 23, 1971. The image atop this post is the back cover of Flowers for Hitler by Leonard Cohen Jonathan Cape (UK): 1973. Photo by Sophie Baker.  Originally posted June 14, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“If I could really sing well I’d sing everybody’s songs but I feel if I sing my own songs nobody can complain. I think if you sing your own songs you can really embody the vision in the song” Leonard Cohen 1971

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The reason I’ve stayed away from it [other people’s materials] mostly is because I started writing my own songs because I couldn’t really learn the tunes of other songs. I would love to and if I could really sing well I’d sing everybody’s songs but I feel if I sing my own songs nobody can complain. I think if you sing your own songs you can really embody the vision in the song but I wouldn’t like to try it with ‘0 Sole Mio’.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From The Sounds Interview 1971 by Billy Walker. Sounds: October 23, 1971. Photo Credit: Peter Brosseau/Library and Archives Canada/PA-170174. Note: Originally posted June 13, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric