Leonard Cohen goes west

I'm not saying alive, I'm not saying dead.

I’m not saying alive, I’m not saying dead.

Gassho, bhikkhu. 

• A final interview with The New Yorker.

• From Lion’s Roar: “Leonard Cohen burns, and we burn with him.”

• His obit in The New York Times.


13 Responses to “Leonard Cohen goes west”

  1. Steve O Says:

    This is now officially the worst week ever.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      If Tom Waits announces he’ll run for the Senate as a Republican, that will be the trifecta right there. I always wanted to see a Waits-Cohen double bill. It would’ve scared all the bullfrogs out of Calaveras County.

  2. Randolph Says:

    So many marvelous songs from the man….

    “Closing Time” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-UXn-uI_bfw

    • Steve O Says:

      You know how folks sell tickets so far in advance, that you don’t really pay attention to the dates when you pull out the Visa.

      Bought tickets to Dylan and then grabbed tickets to Cohen the day they were announced. Didn’t even realize that we were seeing them in the same venue, a couple of days apart.

      I’ll spare you the Dylan deconstruction for now. (TL;DR: he sucked.) But Lennie was amazing, awesome, an experience that I’m having trouble accepting will never be recreated.

      Probably played four hours. I think he was 78. Equal parts concert, theater, ritual, and ceremony.

      Most pop performers will be forgotten weeks if not days after they’re gone. LC will be studied alongside Faulkner, Joyce, Gershwin, Mahler, and the like, if there’s any justice. Then again, we’re a post-face book society that just elected a game show host president. So I have no delusion that anything important will ever get its due again.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      He always seemed to take such joy in his work, even after his financial problems set him on the road again. Inspirational.

  3. Patrick O'Grady Says:

    It strikes me that LC has seized our attention at the right moment. He found himself basically penniless in the mid-2000s and went back on the road … for two years. Did nearly 250 shows, some of them lasting more than three hours. Beginning at age 75.

    “It was a long, ongoing problem of a disastrous and relentless indifference to my financial situation,” he told The New York Times in 2009. “I didn’t even know where the bank was.”

    Jikan did not lay down and die in the face of adversity. He carried on. May we do likewise.

  4. larry brown Says:

    one of my favorites, sorry to see him gone.

  5. Hurben Says:

    To my shame, I was at a meeting this afternoon & when a colleague said the he’d heard that Leonard Cohen had died, I shouted ‘Halleluiah’ followed by blank stares & an awkward silence..

    Yes it was inappropriate.

    To put some context to this, many years ago I was at work & while my program was compiling I was cruising the Internet when I read that Timothy Leary had died.

    I turned to a colleague & said, ‘Hey, you know the Moody Blues song, Timothy Leary’s dead? Well Timothy Leary’s dead!

    I got this blank stare & the comment, “who’s Timothy Leary & who are the moody Blues?”

    I’m told that that’s the moment that you realize that you’ve become your father but I’d disagree because I’d never become my father.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Yeah, Hurben, I get that “WTF?” stare a lot, even from people my own age (my references can be particularly obscure).

      Whenever I trot out a particularly hoary one, Herself — who is seven years younger — snorts and calls me “Old Man.”

      Now and then I hear my father’s voice coming out of my mouth and it startles me. I try not to use his words.

    • JD Dallager Says:

      My Dad looks back at me a lot more from the mirror the older I get.

  6. Carl Duellman Says:

    a musician friend of mine gave me a mix cd about 15 years ago. i didn’t even look at the artists, i just popped it in the cd player and let it play. after a few listens certain songs started sticking in my head and a lot of them were from mr cohen. i had never heard him before even though i’m in my 50s. i read the new yorker interview the other night and i could tell he was nearing his last cigarette. the terry gross interview a few years ago was pretty good. to quote from my pathetic memory: ‘a million cigarettes and a million shots of whiskey went into making this voice’.

  7. Dale Says:

    I listened to an old Terry Gross interview with LC today. I was hoping he would come to a small venue in MD before he died, but alas…

  8. Pat O'Brien Says:

    I don’t watch network TV, so I missed this.

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