I met a young musician in Montreal, Jeff Fisher. He arranged ‘First We Take Manhattan,’ which had that Sergio Leone quality that I wanted – otherwise the song would have been laughed out of the world. I said to him, ‘Why don’t you write something? Let’s do a rap song.’ I had this song, ‘Jazz Police.’ From going around with the fusion group Passenger. There was this standing joke that if I caught them playing augmented fifths, or even sevenths, I’d call them on it, because I’ve always gone for a certain kind of sound. So I was the ‘jazz police.’ The lyric, I’m not sure what it was about. The idea was to take a premise and let it collapse into a joke, or an absurdity. But – I hated it. I hated the whole thing and I think I still do. I was going to let it go, but then all these other songs started breaking down, and it moved back on the menu. It caught the mood of this whole period I’m describing, though – this kind of fragmented absurdity. I was living that, so I let it stay, and also, I didn’t have much to choose from. The vault was empty… To put together another couple of songs for this record – it would have been another year! And I realized things were hospitable for me in Europe. If I waited, I’d be starting from scratch again.
From Leonard Cohen’s Nervous Breakthrough by Mark Rowland (Musician: July 1988)