Sunday, February 24, 2013

40 Year Itch: Leonard Cohen Retires ...Kind Of




"I'm leaving the music scene...maybe the other life won't have many good moments either, but I know this one, and I don't want it"

It had been a tough year for Leonard Cohen. His 1972 tour of Europe and Israel, filmed by documentarian Tony Palmer, ended with a frustrated Cohen walking off the stage mid-concert in Jerusalem. The film, Bird On The Wire, cost Cohen $125,000 and wouldn't be seen until 2010. Aside from the financial pressure, Cohen was exhausted by the demands of the music industry and angry at himself for playing along.
Something he opened up about when he sat down with Melody Maker's Roy Hollingworth for an article that appeared on February 24, 1973.


"Well, I wish everybody well on ‘the rock scene’, and may their music be great. May there be some good songwriters – and there will. But I don’t wanna be in it. 

 "I have songs in the air but I don’t know how to put them down. Anyway, I’m going." 




 Have you been writing much recently?

 "I’ve found myself not writing at all. I don’t know whether I want to write. It’s reached that state. I have a book of poems out, and I'm pleased with them. But I don't find myself leading a life that has many good moments in it. 

 "So I've decided to screw it. And go. Maybe the other life won't have many good moments either . . . but I know this one, and I don't want it. 


Entertaining Israeli Troops in 1973. Cohen joined the Israeli army during the Yom Kippur War

 "No matter how withdrawn you feel from the scene – no matter how protected you think you are. No matter how little you think you're really involved with it. . . . You find yourself drawn into it.

 "You find yourself worrying like 'I should have another song. I should write this. I should do better. I should appear more on public. I should be greater. I do envy that song, I do envy this one.' Well . . . forget it."

 "I just feel like I want to shut-up. Just shut-up."




"Passing Through" from Leonard Coehn LIve released by Columbia Records in 1973


 "This is the time. This is the time to retire to another life. This is a time to retreat. It's a time when inferior men are coming forward, and the scene is being taken over by men who are rather shoddy. This is a purely personal feeling, from personal experiences. 

 "They may want to make me a bigger star – but I have other plans."

Cohen spent most of the mid 70's living on a Greek Island but he continued to write songs and poems. He began recording his next studio album New Skin for the Old Ceremony a year after this interview. In 1976 he resumed touring. His most recent album, Old Ideas, came out in January of 2012.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post a Comment