“I don’t think that changing the political structure by violent means is going to have any real effect on society” Leonard Cohen 1976 Interview: Politics, Revolution, Freedom, Nazis, Jung…

André De Bruyn interviewed Leonard Cohen after the concert in Brussels (Cirque Royal) on June 10th 1976. The text (in Dutch) appeared in Tliedboek in July 1976 and in 1978 (in Spanish) in “Leonard Cohen” by Alberto Manzano. The original interview is now being made available for the first time thanks to Francis Mus, author of “De demonen van Leonard Cohen.”

Cohen’s answers to the journalist’s questions are more straightforward than in many of his interviews during this period. Topics covered include personal vs political change, the futility of violent revolution, Jung’s political and philosophical views, and a blunt comparison of Russia and the United States that prefigures the notions embedded in Democracy, a song Cohen would release 16 years later. The Canadian singer-songwriter also elaborates on the meaning of freedom in Bird On The Wire. Especially noteworthy is his explanation that the significance of a song lies not in intellectual truth but in the truth of experience, using an embrace and taking a drag from a cigarette as examples of the latter.

Note: The interviewer’s accent obscures some of his words (at least, to me) and the quality of the recording is suboptimal but decipherable. In any case the content of this interview rewards any effort required.

Special thanks go to AlanM5049, whose audio editing greatly improved the listenability of the recording.

1976 Leonard Cohen Interview: Politics, Revolution, Freedom, Nazis, Jung…
Video by Allan Showalter

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 Apr 13, 2015.

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