The Must-Hear, Must-Read 1992 Leonard Cohen Interview With Paul Zollo

Ongoing readers are likely familiar with Paul Zollo’s 1992 Leonard Cohen interview, which is, in my assessment, the most insightful and enlightening exposition of Leonard’s songwriting tactics and principles available and which has been referenced many, many times on Cohencentric. Now, Zollo offers an expanded account of that interview with commentary and reflections on the life and work of Leonard Cohen. Highly Recommended.

I’ve included one excerpt to offer a flavor of the quality of this entertaining, insightful, and informative piece:

In what remains one of the my favorite part of the interview, both delightfully funny and poetic, is his answer to my question of what his work entails.

“Anything,” he said, “ that I can bring to it: Thought, meditation, drinking, disillusion, insomnia, vacations. Because once the song enters the mill, it’s worked on by everything that I can summon. And I need everything. I try everything. I try to ignore it, try to repress it, try to get high, try to get intoxicated, try to get sober, all the versions of myself that I can summon are summoned to participate in this project, this work force. I try everything. I’ll do anything. By any means possible.”

So, I asked, do any of these things work better than others?

“No,” he said with a smile. “Nothing works. Nothing works.”



The entire article and accompanying podcast are found at Episode 6 Leonard Cohen, A 1992 Archival Interview by Paul Zollo (The Great Song Adventure: July 10, 2018).


Credit Due Department: Photo of Leonard Cohen taken on Pico Blvd L.A. in 2007 by Paul Zollo.

I am republishing selected posts from my former Leonard Cohen site, Cohencentric, here on (these posts can be found at Leonard Cohen). This entry was originally posted July 10, 2018.


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