Interview January 1993 (Magazine "Details for men")
That was written on Clinton Street. I never felt I really sealed that song; I never felt the carpentry was finished. That song and "Bird on the Wire" were two songs I never successfully finished, but they were good enough to be used. Also, with the poverty of songs I have for each record, I can't afford to discard one as good as that. It's one of the better tunes I've written, but lyrically it's too mysterious, too unclear.
Interview 1993 (Magazine "Songtalk")
That was one I thought was never finished. And I thought that Jennifer Warnes' version in a sense was better because I worked on a different version for her, and I thought it was somewhat more coherent. But I always thought that that was a song you could see the carpentry in a bit. Although there are some images in it that I am very pleased with. And the tune is real good. But I'm willing to defend it, saying it was impressionistic. It's stylistically coherent. And I can defend it if I have to. But secretly I always felt that there was a certain incoherence that prevented it from being a great song.
BBC Radio 1 1994
The trouble with that song is that I've forgotten the actual triangle. Whether it was my own...of course.I always felt that there was an invisible male seducing the woman I was with, now whether this one was incarnate or merely imaginary I don't remember, I've always had the sense that either I've been that figure in relation to another couple or there'd been a figure like that in relation to my marriage. I don't quite remember but I did have this feeling that there was always a third party, sometimes me, sometimes another man, sometimes another woman. It was a song I've never been satisfied with. It's not that I've resisted an impressionistic approach to songwriting, but I've never felt that this one, that I really nailed the lyric. I'm ready to concede something to the mystery, but secretly I've always felt that there was something about the song that was unclear. So I've been very happy with some of the imagery, but a lot of the imagery... The tune I think is good, I remember my mother approving of it, I remember playing the tune for her, in her kitchen, and her perking up her ears while she was doing something else and saying "that's a nice tune".
Tom Sakic wrote:I'd really like to hear Famous Blue Raincoat, and some songs from Dear Heather, Ten New Songs, and Various Positions (Coming Back To You, Night Comes On). Anthem is great song, and I can't live without it, but I can go easily without The Future, and Closing Time, and Heart With No Companion, and Manhattan... While I'm waiting for Alexandra Leaving, A Thousadn Kisses Deep (hey! where's that song!??), Waiting for the Miracle to Come, The Guests, One of Us Cannot Be Wrong. I hoped that LC will show some change and courage and finally try to say his final word on songs like Death of a Ladies' Man, or to perform a COMPLETE HALLELLUJAH.
Btw, I was 12 when The Future was released, so the question is what's "younger fans" for you Those thousands who grew up on Johny Cash American CDs and More Best Of and Ten New Songs, which will fill all Canadian and European shows?
He was Fredericton's man
From Tuesday's Globe and Mail
May 13, 2008 at 4:05 AM EDT
At the Playhouse
in Fredericton on Sunday
Leonard Cohen may have 48 dates in 14 countries over the next several months, including Switzerland's prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival and Britain's Big Chill fest, but first he took Fredericton in an accomplished performance Sunday night.
The 73-year-old veteran singer/songwriter began by confessing his nervousness - "this is the first time in 14 years I have stood before you in this position as a performer" - but he needn't have. As soon as he stepped onstage for the first show of his first tour since the early 1990s, he was welcomed with a standing ovation from the sold-out house. While quipping that at shows in the 1990s, "I was just a kid of 60 with crazy dreams," he also took time to express concern for the flooded homes and fields of the Saint John River Valley. (Only 10 days earlier, The Playhouse itself was dark, its operations menaced by the overflowing floodwaters of the Saint John River.)
This Atlantic Canada mini-tour, which takes him to Halifax, Charlottetown, Glace Bay, Moncton and St. John's, is a warm-up for the main touring event, in which Cohen will move westward across Canada and into international dates starting in June.
The Playhouse, a venue of little more than 700 seats, was a good place to be starting over and proved well suited to the intimate qualities of his music. It also gave Cohen a chance to note how pleased he was to open his tour in a city known for its poets. "I used to read the Fiddlehead poetry magazine a lot," he said, mentioning local poets Bliss Carman and Fred Cogswell.Onstage more than 2½ hours, Cohen certainly looked his age, a little stooped but dapper in a double-breasted suit and a fedora, which he removed to take a bow after each song. Cradling a hand-held microphone, he was able to move energetically around centre stage to interact with his band. He played two sets of eight songs each and four encores, including 1960s standards such as Suzanne, Bird on the Wire and So Long, Marianne as well as classics from his middle period in the 1980s and early 1990s such as Everybody Knows, Take This Waltz, Hallelujah and I'm Your Man.
There were no new songs in the lineup and only two songs, In My Secret Life and Boogie Street, were drawn from a more recent 2001 album. With its martial rhythm and biting harmonica, however, the 1992 song Democracy definitely sounded a contemporary note.
Cohen took up a guitar toward the end of the first set and again for two songs later. At the start of the second set, he also toyed with an electric keyboard, even taking out his glasses to examine the buttons when starting his Tower of Song.
He was relaxed enough by then to share a laugh with the audience over the ironic line in that song about his "golden voice."
In fact, he was in excellent voice, his sure delivery given musical depth by a virtuoso group under the direction of veteran bass player Roscoe Beck and including Bob Metzger (electric guitar), Neil Larsen (keyboards), Rafael Gayol (drums), Dino Soldo (electric woodwind, harmonica and saxophone) and Javier Mas (acoustic guitar, oud and other strings).
Strong vocal support was provided by the Webb Sisters (Charley and Hattie Webb, a young British-based duo) and Sharon Robinson, a long-time collaborator and co-writer of several songs, who sang several solos and duets. There had been pre-show buzz that another musical collaborator, Cohen's romantic partner, Anjani Thomas, would perform, but she did not appear.
Cohen knows his songs well and so did the audience, many of them old enough to recall that first album in December, 1967, that made his reputation in popular culture. Already one of Canada's young literary lions, the poet and novelist seized the time to marry his muse to popular music, whose boundaries were expanding under the influence of slightly younger contemporaries such as Bob Dylan.
In mid-March, Cohen's influence was celebrated yet again, when he was inducted into New York's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - although most record stores still file him under Folk.
On the road again, Cohen is once more among his own folk, less melancholy than his reputation and as passionate and articulate as ever. After all, public performance is a literary tradition at least as old as Homer, and although Cohen's hair may be grey, closing time still seems a long way away.
Special to The Globe and Mail
Tom Sakic wrote:I hoped that LC will show some change and courage and finally try to say his final word on songs like Death of a Ladies' Man.
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