“I wanted to write one of those tough guy songs, one of those saloon songs” Leonard Cohen On Everybody Knows

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I wanted to write one of those tough guy songs, one of those saloon songs. If you look closely, you can see it is a guy on the road or in the bar affirming his feelings but in a friendly way. It’s not like someone spitting on your grave. It’s like we are all in this together — everybody knows.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Robert Hilburn Interviews Leonard Cohen by Robert Hilburn I (Los Angeles Times, September 24, 1995). Photo by Alberto ManzanoOriginally posted Feb 2, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“I was completely empty – and out of that came songs that were very intimate & very personal.” Leonard Cohen On Writing The Songs For His First Album

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I did 15 or 20 concerts [in 1967], but I had used up the tiny energy I’d recovered and that really wiped me out. I lost all sense of the career as writer, the career as poet. I wasn’t the hero of my legend. I was completely empty – and out of that came songs that were very intimate & very personal.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Poet Writer Singer Lover Cohen by Paul Grescoe. Canadian Magazine: February 10, 1968. Originally posted Apr 10, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“It’s from the point of view of the nervous breakdown and beyond that the song is written.” Leonard Cohen On Waiting For The Miracle


[Leonard Cohen]  wrestles with shifting emotional states in “Waiting For the Miracle” …

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[There are] people who are bitten by this particular bug, where meaning has evaporated and significance has dissolved. Many people now confess to me that they inhabit this kind of landscape, where nothing has much taste. I mean, they’re not selling fifty million Prozac pills a week for nothing; we are undergoing some kind of nervous breakdown. And it’s from the point of view of the nervous breakdown and beyond that the song is written.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

The Loneliness of the Long-Suffering Folkie by Wayne Robins. Newsday: November 22, 1992.

“That’s what a poem does at all times. It dissolves all poetry before it and after it.” Leonard Cohen on Culture, Grunge, & Poetic Tradition

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I [often] feel I want to annihilate the entire cultural landscape. When I hear the word ‘grunge,’ I want to reach for my revolver, for example. Because ‘grunge’ was already there before the term arose. In fact, that’s what a poem does at all times. It dissolves all poetry before it and after it. It is also solidly linked in an unbroken chain with all that has come before it and all that is to come after.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Maverick Spirit: Leonard Cohen by Jim O’Brien. B-Side Magazine: August/September 1993. Originally posted Jan 12, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“I asked myself, ‘Where is democracy really coming?’ And it was the USA.” Leonard Cohen On Writing Democracy


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I addressed almost everything that was going on in America. This was when the Berlin Wall came down and everyone was saying democracy is coming to the East. I was the gloomy fellow who always turns up at a party to ruin the orgy or something. And I said, ‘I don’t think it’s going to happen that way. I don’t think this is such a good idea. I think a lot of suffering will be a consequence of this wall coming down.’ But then I asked myself, ‘Where is democracy really coming?’ And it was the USA. The USA is really where the experiment is unfolding. This is really where races confront one another, where the classes, where the genders, where even the sexual orientations confront one another. This is the real laboratory of democracy.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Songwriters on Songwriting by Paul Zollo (Da Capo Press: 2003) p. 335. Photo by Paul Zollo.

Leonard Cohen on “The Law” & Guilt

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[The Law is] about our current dismal catastrophe. It’s about the Age of post-guilt. Guilt has been given a very bad name. There are entire medical industries that are devoted to describing guilt as a disease. Actually it’s the only way that we know that we’ve done something wrong.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

Introduction to “The Law” at the June 8, 1985 San Francisco show. Accessed at Leonard Cohen Prologues – The Law

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Guilt has gotten a lot of bad press lately. Guilt is the only way we know we’ve done something wrong.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Introduction to “The Law” at the June 9, 1985 Wiltern Theatre, Los Angeles, Accessed at the review of the show by Ethlie Ann Vare in Billboard (June 29, 1985)

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Yes, guilt is a very under-estimated emotion. It has a lot of bad press today, guilt has. Actually, it is the only way we know when we’re doing a wrong thing. quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Introduction to “The Law” at the December 4, 1988 Mannheim concert, Accessed at Leonard Cohen Prologues – The Law

Credit Due Department: Photo by Pete Purnell