Leonard Cohen Responds To Negative Review (1970): “I’ve got a bunch of big guys in my band who would love nothing more than to take you [the reviewer] into an alley.”

Now, in 1970, I was faced with reviewing his [Leonard Cohen’s] Place des Arts debut. He had developed an intense cult following, fans hugging the front of the stage, hanging on every precious word. He droned on and on, backed by a country band’s somnolent slip-slidin’ twangs. He bored me stiff. I wrote that I had a vision of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans galloping down the aisles to liven things up. The next day, Cohen demanded a showdown at a Crescent St. bar. “That review was alley talk,” he fumed. “I’ve got a bunch of big guys in my band who would love nothing more than to take you into an alley.” (The band was dubbed the Army.) Three years later, at Théâtre St. Denis, he asked, “What do you have to do to get a good review in this town?” (He later confided that his mother worried he was doing something wrong.)

 

From Juan Rodriguez’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Life – Week 4: A critic must die by Juan Rodriguez. Montreal Gazette: Feb 8, 2013. Photo by Alberto Manzano.

Recommended Reading

The first several paragraphs of this article deal with music critic, Juan Rodriguez’s experiences with Leonard Cohen, which ranged from the – uh, sharing of differing viewpoints described above to discussing Phil Spector over cognac and kosher pickles to Cohen supporting Rodriguez’s application for a Canada Council grant and lending personal support to his romantic quest. It’s an entertaining read that can be accessed at Juan Rodriguez’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Life – Week 4: A critic must die

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 Feb 9, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric.

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