Leonard Cohen On Touring As A Bullfight, An Italian Wedding, A Motorcycle Gang …

tour-aus

2013 Australian Tour Opens Today

Note: This entry was originally posted Nov 13, 2013 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric. The references to the concert at Perth and the Australian Tour were contemporaneous when first published.

Today’s concert in Perth marks the beginning of Leonard Cohen’s last leg of what could well prove to be his final tour. To commemorate this occasion, I’ve collected some of the Canadian singer-songwriter’s thoughts on touring and concert performance.

A Cohen Concert Comment Compendium

The Italian Wedding Tour:

[Touring is] like an Italian wedding. You kind of know the bride and maybe you’ve met the groom once or twice, but you’ve never met anyone else that’s there. And everyone gets too drunk and eats too much. The morning after you don’t remember much about the wedding. As far as I can see this is my last tour. But the will is frail and I may fall back and it might take 10 more tours to finally quit, or this might be it.1

The Leonard Cohen Bullfighting Tour Metaphor:

Tours are like bullfighting. They are a test of character every night.2

The DrHGuy Corollary To The Bullfighting Tour Metaphor:

And you think being on the other side of the cape is easy?

Leonard Cohen’s father, Nathan. confronts bull

More Bullfighting:

It’s that way for matadors and singers. There’s that life-and-death moment with the audience out there and you’re so exposed.3

The Concert As Boxing Ring Or Ouija Board:

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  1. From Famous Last Words From Leonard Cohen by Paul Saltzman. Maclean’s: June, 1972 []
  2. Ladies and Gents, Leonard Cohen by Jack Hafferkamp. Rolling Stone: February 4, 1971 []
  3. Leonard Cohen Is A Poet Who Is Trying To Be Free by Marci McDonald, Toronto Daily Star, April 26, 1969. []

Where do you get inspiration for your work? Leonard Cohen “I do it for the same reason the sparrow sings – even when it doesn’t have a very good voice”

Where do you get inspiration for your work?

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Maybe I do it for the same reason the sparrow sings – even when it doesn’t have a very good voice. No one tells the sparrow that it should sing the same way as a nightingale. Some of us are just born this way. I think it’s natural that I write. Whether I have a voice or not, what I do is part of me.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From ”En tunne vanhenevani lainkaan” – Leonard Cohen Soundissa 1976: The 2016 reprint of a June 1976 Leonard Cohen interview by Dougie Gordon. (Soundi: Nov 11, 2016) Via computer translation.

Leonard Cohen Attributes Refinement In His Music To Self-Confidence & Gain In Self-Confidence To Bob Johnston


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I used to be petrified with the idea of going on the road and presenting my work. I often felt that the risks of humiliation were too wide. But with the help of my last producer, Bob Johnston, I gained the self-confidence I felt was necessary. My music now is much more highly refined. When you are again in touch with yourself and you feel a certain sense of health, you feel somehow that the prison bars are lifted, and you start hearing new possibilities in your workquotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Leonard Cohen: Cohen’s New Skin by Harvey Kubernik. Melody Maker: 1 March 1975. Accessed at We Are Cult Originally posted December 19, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Audience Member, while Leonard Cohen tunes guitar: “Good enough for folk music” Leonard Cohen: “Yeah, but not good enough for eternity” (1976)


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With his back to just over a hundred fans who filled Nashville’s Exit-In, Leonard paused for the third time to tune his guitar. A drunken voice blurted from the darkness, ‘Good enough for folk music!’ A few patrons chuckled. Leonard made a final adjustment, then casually turned to respond, ‘Yeah, but not good enough for eternity.’ He smiled his sardonic best and the adoring crowd filled the small room with laughter. Leonard was back, and we lucky few were there with him.quotedown2


 

From Leonard Lately – A Leonard Cohen interview-article by Bill Conrad.  Posted May 7, 2012 at No Depression. Note: Although not published until 2012, the article is based on an interview that took place in autumn 1976. Originally posted June 16, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“It doesn’t really matter what the singer is speaking of, it doesn’t really matter what the song is. There’s something I listen for in a singer’s voice and that’s some kind of truth …” Leonard Cohen


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It doesn’t really matter what the singer is speaking of, it doesn’t really matter what the song is. There’s something I listen for in a singer’s voice and that’s some kind of truth. It may even be truth of deception, it may even be the truth of the scam, the truth of the hustle in the singers own presentation, but something is coming across that is true, and if that isn’t there the song dies. And the singer deserves to die too, and will, in time, die. So the thing that I listen for is that note of something big manifested that is beyond the singer’s control.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From How The Heart Approaches What It Yearns – Interview With Leonard Cohen Presented By John McKenna. RTE Ireland, May 9 & 12, 1988. Originally posted Dec 3, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“I always associated song and singing with some sort of nobility of spirit.” Leonard Cohen

Quotation from Transcript of Pacifica Interview with Kathleen Kendall. WBAI Radio, New York City: December 4, 1974. Photo by Pete Purnell (Leonard Cohen In Concert 1974 To 1993: Photos By Pete Purnell). Originally posted Dec 23, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric