Great interview in Rolling Stone

This section is dedicated to the new studio album and the Dublin concert video
User avatar
Junk
Posts: 335
Joined: Wed May 09, 2012 4:59 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Great interview in Rolling Stone

Postby Junk » Sat Sep 20, 2014 1:45 am

We had another song on the album, which was called "Happens to the Heart," which will be on the next album. It's a very good lyric, a very good tune, but we didn't nail it.
http://www.rollingstone.com/music/featu ... s-20140919
Leonard Cohen on Longevity, Money, Poetry and Sandwiches"
I was always like a bear in a honey tree, just trying to get something without getting stung to death"

The Canadian icon talks about his songwriting secrets in a new Q&A.
By Gavin Edwards | September 19, 2014

Leonard Cohen is our leading poet of love, wisdom, and sorrow – and according to the lyrics of Nirvana's "Pennyroyal Tea," the guiding spirit in Kurt Cobain's afterworld. We sat down with the singer-songwriter on the occasion of his 13th studio album, Popular Problems, in a formal dining room at the Canadian consulate in Los Angeles (he primarily lives in L.A. and mostly recorded the album in his home studio, but he hails from Montreal). He discussed producer Patrick Leonard ("It was an unusually fraternal collaboration"), his fedora ("I've got about 20 of these") and the aging process ("My high jump is definitely degraded"). Cohen turns 80 on Sunday, and Popular Problems will be released two days after that.


When you finish something like this record, are you proud of it?
It's the done-ness of it that I really like. It nourishes me. Some guys don't know how to open a door.

What are the pros and cons of working at home?
I don't know if there are any cons. It's very nice to go into your backyard and climb up into your studio. We had some good mics there, and both Pat and I had our keyboards, so we were able to flesh out these songs.

Patrick said that part of the process of working together was stripping out any excesses or fripperies.
Yes, both in the music and in the lyric. We were both, I think, quite compassionately savage about our vision. Pat, because he has such an abundance of musical ideas, he'll sometimes overproduce. But he's quite aware of that. So sometimes we'll just say we don't need a chorus here, we don't need horns here, you know, we need to break it down here. And same with the lyric: If something's obscure or just on the wrong side of accessible, then Pat will mention that and I'll happily redirect.

How do you know when a song's working?
You can pretty well tell. We play it for select people, like my daughter – there's a few people who aren't afraid to tell you that it isn't working. We had another song on the album, which was called "Happens to the Heart," which will be on the next album. It's a very good lyric, a very good tune, but we didn't nail it. So we didn't put each other on about it – not for more than a week or two. "You know, this song really doesn't make it." "Thank God you said that, Pat, because I can't stand it."

Has your approach to making music has changed over the decades?
I never had an approach. I was always like a bear in a honey tree, just trying to get something without getting stung to death.

Is financial necessity is good or bad for art?
I think it levels the ground. I never had huge amounts of money when I was young. I had huge amounts of fame, and I always had the sense of labor and recompense. I always said I don't want to work for pay, but I want to get paid for my song. Financial necessity of course arose in a very acute manner a few years ago. [His then-manager stole over $5 million from his retirement account.] I thought I had a little bread, enough to get by. I found I didn't – for which I'm very grateful because it spurred a lot of activity.

I was curious about a lyric on "Nevermind," "There's truth that lives and there's truth that dies."
"There's truth that lives and truth that dies. I don't know which, so never mind. There is no need that this survive, there's truth that lives and truth that dies." It's one of those phrases that resonates in some corner of the heart. And I don't think it serves us well to explain it or to analyze it or to interpret it. It sounded right to me. There are certain truths that are in a dormant stage that you can't always locate or be nourished by. But they're there.

When you're writing a song, are you aware that you're tapping into something that you may not have a conscious handle on?
Well, I think that sometimes when you're in ninth gear, or when you're really skiing down the slope – you're right on top of the snow, you don't want to go any deeper. As someone said, you learn to stop bravely at the surface. If you hear something that really resonates, you just fold your hands in gratitude and try to incorporate it into the song. Sometimes those obscurities are just bullshit and they have to be excised; they have to be ruthlessly removed even if they sound good. Because they produce a disconnect in the song that every listener feels unconsciously. If you feel somebody's trying to put you on, you really feel it.

Do you write much poetry that isn't suitable for lyrics?
Oh, yeah. And sometimes I think, "What the hell am I doing? It doesn't mean anything, it's deeply irrelevant. Not just to everybody else but to myself." But what else are you going to do? Everything else has gone away. Most of the things that I've liked to do, for one reason or another, it's often inappropriate to do them.

At age 80, are there things you can't do that you used to be able to?
There's a lot of things that you can do that you couldn't do when you were younger. You depend on a certain resilience that is not yours to command, but which is present. And if you can sense this resilience or sense this capacity to continue, it means a lot more at this age than it did when I was 30, when I took it for granted.

What are you good at that has nothing to do with music?
I can make a couple of good sandwiches: tuna salad and chopped egg salad. And Greek bean soup. I was a cook for my old Zen master for many years. So there were two or three dishes that he liked, you know. Teriyaki salmon, a few things. I wouldn't call myself a good cook by any means. My son is a very good cook. My curries are not bad.

Do you write songs faster or slower than you used to?
There's always a group of songs that I'm working at. Some of them are 10 years old, and some of them are just a few weeks old. I'm always trying to adjust these songs to some position where I can bring them to completion. There's a few songs that I would like to finish before I die. One in particular, it's a lovely melody that I can't find any words for. I've been trying for a good 15 years. I've tried many, many versions. And God willing, maybe something will happen.

After you're gone, what would you want people to remember about you?
I never give that much thought. Some people care about their work lasting forever – I have little interest in it. You probably know that great story about Bob Hope. His wife came to him and said, "There's two plots available at Forest Lawn. One looks at some beautiful cypress trees, one looks over the valley. Which do you think you'd prefer?" He said, "Surprise me." That's the way I feel about posterity and how I'm remembered. Surprise me.
User avatar
B4real
Posts: 6246
Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2009 4:49 am
Location: Australia

Re: Great interview in Rolling Stone

Postby B4real » Sat Sep 20, 2014 2:15 am

I got this interview on a google alert but never had the time to read it then.
I've done that now and it is a great interview, Murray! Thanks for putting it here.

This is very interesting:
We had another song on the album, which was called "Happens to the Heart," which will be on the next album. It's a very good lyric, a very good tune, but we didn't nail it. So we didn't put each other on about it – not for more than a week or two. "You know, this song really doesn't make it." "Thank God you said that, Pat, because I can't stand it."
Be for real. Free yourself to find the real Self ~~ Me
Happiness is like learning the violin, the more you practice it the more it comes to you ~~ Me
Without the heart, there can be no understanding between the hand and the mind ~~ Gore Vidal
Tchocolatl
Posts: 3781
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2003 10:07 pm

Re: Great interview in Rolling Stone

Postby Tchocolatl » Sat Sep 20, 2014 4:13 pm

I enjoyed this interview.

Interesting indeed this promo paper. Just a casual talk, not the performance (v.i. also) in front of an audiance that was the Canadian consulats affairs in L.A. and London. Intimate. pronounced "et" at the end.

I like how it is stressed how both companions in musical zen purposedly work to achieve simplicity. Like somebody else here (more of less) put it : it's dark, it's strong, it's simple : it's Cohen.

This being said, we must agree : the sun is cooking very well.

Maybe the other opus will have eleven songs?

......................considering that, vaguely, the whole global village is floating in the american dream.......
***
"He can love the shape of human beings, the fine and twisted shapes of the heart. It is good to have among us such men, such balancing monsters of love."

Leonard Cohen
Beautiful Losers
alb123
Posts: 103
Joined: Sat Mar 21, 2009 7:04 pm

Re: Great interview in Rolling Stone

Postby alb123 » Mon Sep 22, 2014 9:50 pm

So, from what Leonard says it appears there will be ANOTHER studio album to look forward to?
B4real wrote: We had another song on the album, which was called "Happens to the Heart," which will be on the next album. It's a very good lyric, a very good tune, but we didn't nail it. So we didn't put each other on about it – not for more than a week or two. "You know, this song really doesn't make it." "Thank God you said that, Pat, because I can't stand it."
Waterbury, CT - May 14, 2009
Las Vegas, NV - Dec 11, 2010 (Final Show of Leonard's 3 year World Tour) INCREDIBLE!
Boston, MA - Dec 15, 2012 (Best L.C. concert I've been to!)
rtychonick
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2010 7:58 am

Re: Great interview in Rolling Stone

Postby rtychonick » Tue Sep 23, 2014 6:42 pm

I posted the link to this story eight days before you did. It's in the forum discussion list. Why would you post it again?
User avatar
Junk
Posts: 335
Joined: Wed May 09, 2012 4:59 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Great interview in Rolling Stone

Postby Junk » Wed Sep 24, 2014 12:44 am

This one is by Gavin Edwards September19.
rtychonick
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2010 7:58 am

Re: Great interview in Rolling Stone

Postby rtychonick » Wed Sep 24, 2014 5:04 pm

It is identical to the original. Down to the last word.
User avatar
B4real
Posts: 6246
Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2009 4:49 am
Location: Australia

Re: Great interview in Rolling Stone

Postby B4real » Thu Sep 25, 2014 1:07 am

Junk:
viewtopic.php?f=82&t=35420
http://www.rollingstone.com/music/featu ... s-20140919
BY GAVIN EDWARDS | September 19, 2014

rtychonick:
viewtopic.php?f=82&t=35368&p=347866#p347866
http://www.rollingstone.com/music/live- ... w-20140911
BY STEVE APPLEFORD | September 11, 2014

Sturgess 66:
viewtopic.php?f=82&t=35364&start=15#p347862
http://www.rollingstone.com/music/live- ... w-20140911
Steve Appleford's interview was first posted by Sturgess 66 about an hour before rtychonick's :razz:

rtychonick, As far as I can see your link above by Steve Appleford is the only Rolling Stone one you have ever posted on the forum and my quote below doesn't appear it in. Your link seems to be a somewhat different interview to that of Gavin Edwards. Please correct me if I'm wrong and I'll go and get a new pair of glasses :)
B4real wrote:I got this interview on a google alert but never had the time to read it then.
I've done that now and it is a great interview, Murray! Thanks for putting it here.

This is very interesting:
We had another song on the album, which was called "Happens to the Heart," which will be on the next album. It's a very good lyric, a very good tune, but we didn't nail it. So we didn't put each other on about it – not for more than a week or two. "You know, this song really doesn't make it." "Thank God you said that, Pat, because I can't stand it."
-------
alb123 wrote:So, from what Leonard says it appears there will be ANOTHER studio album to look forward to?
There is an interview with LC posted some time ago with him saying that he's actually half way through another studio album with Patrick Leonard as co-producer but I can't find it at the moment. So from that revelation, it would appear to be in the stores sooner rather than later :D

I found this but I think there's more somewhere else:
viewtopic.php?f=82&t=35364&start=30#p347926
Hence, perhaps, his desire to finish his new album starts before hitting the road. "As I have half a new album I actually prefer to finish and then see. I do not yet have any specific plans then, but, one thing is certain, I always like the road."
And if that beckoning road proves too hard to resist, there appears to be two new albums with numerous new songs to be dispersed on the set list!
How great it would be to have the UHTC perform many of these new songs in concert.......whether or not this becomes a reality, I love the anticipated expectation :D
Be for real. Free yourself to find the real Self ~~ Me
Happiness is like learning the violin, the more you practice it the more it comes to you ~~ Me
Without the heart, there can be no understanding between the hand and the mind ~~ Gore Vidal
User avatar
Junk
Posts: 335
Joined: Wed May 09, 2012 4:59 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Great interview in Rolling Stone

Postby Junk » Sat Oct 25, 2014 5:37 am

Ok, here's another article.
It's also by Gavin Edwards but it's different - trust me. ;-)
http://rollingstoneindia.com/leonard-cohen-cant-slow/
Now, Cohen says he wants to get on the road, though he has yet to announce a tour. “I like touring. I like the ordeal,” he says. “I don’t know if I’ll continue doing three-and-a-half-hour concerts, but with the musicians that I have in my band, it doesn’t get boring.”
Leonard Cohen Can’t Slow Down
The 80-year-old master on his new LP, hitting the road, and getting love from Miley

By Gavin Edwards | Features October 24, 2014

‘One of the downsides of growing old is that you have to surrender your vices one by one,” says Leonard Cohen. “I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, I don’t court women. So I have a lot of free time.” Fortunately, Cohen spent a chunk of that time making his 13th studio album, Popular Problems, which came out September 23rd – two days after his 80th birthday. “I keep scratching away, blackening pages,” Cohen says. “Writing is my friend.”

Cohen is sitting in a dining room at the Canadian Consulate of Los Angeles, wear­ing a fedora, a maroon necktie and a sparkle in his eye. He lives not far from here, in the nondescript Mid-Wilshire neighbor­hood, next to his children and grandchil­dren, on what he likens to a Norman Rock­well street. “This is a tough company town,” he says. “Fortunately, I’m not in that world, so I just enjoy the climate.”

A decade ago, Cohen says, he was “slid­ing into a peaceful retirement” when he discovered that his then-manager had taken more than $5 million from his retirement fund, cleaning it out. “So I did the only thing I know how to do, which is sing songs and wash dishes. Well, there’s no money in dishes.”

So Cohen embarked on a worldwide tour, often playing three-hour shows that left au­diences stunned. In 2012, he released his first album in eight years: the excellent Old Ideas, on which he collaborated with Pat­rick Leonard, best known for co-producing many of Madon­na’s biggest albums. Cohen liked the experience so much that he decided to co-write Popular Problems with Leon­ard, who also served as the album’s sole producer.

From January to July of this year, Leonard would visit Cohen at his house, where they would write together (which usu­ally meant the producer adding music to Cohen’s lyrics). Then they would record the tunes in Cohen’s home studio. The album, spare and hypnotic, feels like a series of po­etic telegrams from the edge of the world. “When we started working on this music,” the producer says, “Leonard talked about removing anything extraneous, like a gui­tar fill or a cymbal crash. Now when I listen to music, I hear most of it as annoying filler.”

The first single, “Almost Like the Blues,” came after the songwriting was suppos­edly finished. Cohen stumbled on an old skeleton lyric, then spent 48 hours re­vising it, finishing it at five in the morn­ing. “I’m often not pleased at the end of the thing,” Cohen says, “but this one I was pleased with.”

Cohen sent the lyrics to the poetry editor of The New Yorker (which printed them in September) and to Leonard, who responded with what the producer calls an “overblown” backing track. When Cohen rejected it, Leonard com­posed a bluesy keyboard piece in minutes. After two hours and a handful of vocal takes, they had a finished track.

Now, Cohen says he wants to get on the road, though he has yet to announce a tour. “I like touring. I like the ordeal,” he says. “I don’t know if I’ll continue doing three-and-a-half-hour concerts, but with the musicians that I have in my band, it doesn’t get boring.”

Cohen’s new album comes at a time when he is more beloved than ever – in the past few years he has been honored by everyone from PEN New England to the Grammys, which gave him a Lifetime Achievement Award. Author Alan Light devoted an entire book to Cohen’s 1984 anthem “Hallelujah” – one of the most covered songs ever – and Miley Cyrus just announced on Instagram that she plans to cover the title track to 1988’s I’m Your Man. “I know my songs are not that important,” Cohen says, “but I feel they are available for reinterpreta­tion. I never get jaded about that. When somebody like Miley Cyrus or [Michael] Bublé covers that song, I look forward to it. I’m so delighted when anybody covers a song, my critical faculties go into suspension.”

Resting his hands on a white tablecloth, the singer is modest, gracious and funny. Cohen on whether he sings around the house: “More like complaining.” On his own husky voice: “Gettin’ used to it.” On what he wants people to know about him: “The less, the better.”

Asked to consider his 80th birthday, he laughs. “I don’t think you can ignore the heap of years it represents, but it’s nothing to dwell on either. We have work to do, and we’re very privileged if we can do our work. At 80, you’re aware that it can stop at any moment. You can’t fool yourself about that. But until it stops, God willing, I’ll be able to scratch out a few more tunes.”

Return to “2014 releases: Popular Problems & Live in Dublin”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest