From No Mercy – Leonard Cohen’s Tales from the Dark Side by Anthony DeCurtis. Rolling Stone: January 21, 1993. Photo of Brill Building by John Wisniewski. Used under CC BY-ND 2.0. Originally posted Dec 26, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
I have never shunned success. I have always tried to write hits that people would find enjoyable. My record company and I have an agreeable relationship; I sell enough records to keep them happy but few enough so that they don’t worry about the next one. If anything, I would have liked for them to treat me more as a commodity than an artist because I worry about the artist part enough for both of us.
From The Prophet of Love Looks into the Abyss: A Conversation with Leonard Cohen by Thom Jurek (Los Angeles Reader, August 27, 1993).
Note: Like many musical artists, Leonard Cohen had a complicated relationship with his record company that shifted over time. Posts about this issue are collected at Leonard Cohen & The Music Industry.
State of Grace by Doug Saunders. Globe and Mail: Sept 1, 2001. Photo by Gabriel Jones. Originally posted February 27, 2009 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
It feels very far from the experience of one’s own life. There’s no way you’d really want to present the naked shivering animal to a perfectly innocent journalist, there’s no way to preserve one’s dignity and really reveal the shameful and menacing experiences that produce one’s own life and work.
The quotation is from Sincerely, L. Cohen by Brian Cullman (Details for Men, January, 1993). The photo shows Leonard Cohen being interviewed by André De Bruyn after the 1976 concert in Brussels Originally posted Oct 21, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
Malka Marom: Free concerts in mental wards, why?
Leonard Cohen: Oh, it satisfies my notion of virtue, I think the news will get around that I’m a virtuous person.
Malka Marom: Why not old folks homes? – why only mental wards?
Leonard Cohen: I should really extend my virtuous activity, hardly give these concerts any longer.
Malka Marom: At one time you said “they were the only people who could understand my landscape…”
Leonard Cohen: I gave all sorts of reasons for those kinds of activities I was infected with the general notion of self improvement, and I thought that just giving concerts for money was inconsistent with my own version of self virtue and I thought that this would be the most appropriate place to extend those activities.
Malka Marom: You are saying this in the past tense.
Leonard Cohen: Oh, yeah, I’m not going to do anymore of that stuff.
Malka Marom: Why?
Leonard Cohen: I don’t know, perhaps I will.
Malka Marom: Why not this preoccupation with expressing your virtues? [sic]
Leonard Cohen: I am not attached to my virtues at this practical moment. I think after a couple of children and a few wives and general experience in the market place, you arrive at a more realistic vision of yourself and I don’t think that these charitable activities are consistent now with my awn version of myself. I’m much nastier than that. You see I was lying when I was performing those virtuous activities – I don’t feel like lying now. Really, I’m going on tour now for very professional and specific reasons – I really want to play this music for people and get paid for it.
Malka Marom: And yet you told me just a few minutes ago that you would like to cover Canada in the north because it was important for you and for the people.
Leonard Cohen: Yes – well occasionally I lapse into other frames of mind.
From an interview with Malka Marom (1970s). Photo of Leonard Cohen & John Miller property of John Miller. Originally posted December 13, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
I was totally unprepared for the response in Poland [in 1985]. They had cassettes of my songs and Xeroxes of my books. Tickets were scalped for a month’s wages. It was almost embarrassing. ‘The Partisan’ became a kind of anthem in the detention camps after Solidarity was outlawed and there was a large roundup of people. Lech Walesa sent me greetings when I entered. I had the Pope’s bodyguard.
Leonard Cohen Work Finds A Place by Mary Campbell (AP – Kentucky New Era: June 29, 1985). Poster for the March 19, 1985 Leonard Cohen concert at Arena Poznan’ in Poznan, Poland (inscription: The Legendary Bard Of The Protest Song, The Great Poet And The Composer) contributed by jeremek, who originally posted it at LeonardCohenForum. Originally posted Sep 18, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric