Hear 1985 Interview: Leonard Cohen Gives Occupation As “Sinner,”Talks About Songwriting, Cantor’s Singing, Aging, Wine … Performs Night Comes On & In The Eyes Of Men

Leonard Cohen Interview: April 28, 1985

Mixed Bag with Pete Fornatale (WNEW-FM, NYC)

Part 1 – Selected Contents

  • Leonard Cohen’s persona as a stranger.
  • Leonard Cohen on Songwriting: “I never operated from a very deluxe position. I never thought of myself standing in front of a buffet table, choosing between the caviar or the herring. I feel more like a rat in the bottom of the barrel, trying to sink his teeth into something, and whatever yields, that I follow.”
  • The early influence of a Cantor in synagogue listing ways to sin and die
  • Leonard Cohen on wine: “The red wine has been good to us”
  • Asked to name his occupation, Leonard Cohen replies “sinner”

 

Part 2

  • In-studio acoustic performance of Night Comes On by Leonard Cohen and “three-fifths” of his band

 

Part 3 – Selected Contents

  • Discussion of Cohen’s “Marita Please find me I am almost 30″ and the graffiti he found in the CBC men’s room: “Marita Please find me I am almost 50″
  • Irving Layton’s take on aging: “The inescapable lousiness of growing old”
  • Book of Mercy written with author’s “back against the wall”
  • Leonard Cohen on artistic skills: “If the gift is there, it reveals itself very early”
  • Recitation: In The Eyes Of Men
    In the eyes of men he falls, and in his own eyes too. He falls from his high place, he trips on his achievement. He falls to you, he falls to know you. It is sad, they say. See his disgrace, say the ones at his heel. But he falls radiantly toward the light to which he falls. They cannot see who lifts him as he falls, or how his falling changes, and he himself bewildered till his heart cries out to bless the one who holds him in his falling. And in his fall he hears his heart cry out, his heart explains why he is falling, why he had to fall, and he gives over to the fall. Blessed are you, clasp of the falling. He falls into the sky, he falls into the light, none can hurt him as he falls. Blessed are you, shield of the falling. Wrapped in his fall, concealed within his fall, he finds the place, he is gathered in. While his hair streams back and his clothes tear in the wind, He is held up, comforted, he enters into the place of his fall. Blessed are you, embrace of the falling, foundation of the light, master of the human accident.

 

Photo by Daniel Bastida

I am republishing selected posts from my former Leonard Cohen site, Cohencentric, here on AllanShowalter.com (these posts can be found at Leonard Cohen). This entry was originally posted Sept 27, 2016.

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