The financial woes and decreased readership of American newspapers notwithstanding, it looks as though the New York Times still carries clout, as evidenced by the following:
The day after his first American concert in more than 15 years, Leonard Cohen sat in a Manhattan hotel suite warily submitting to an interviewer’s questions, including one about the music in his laptop’s iTunes. In response, he played a klezmer-style Hebrew hymn, then followed it by singing along with one of George Jones’s weepy country morality tales.
That is, as far as I can determine, the first paragraph of the first interview Leonard Cohen has given in 2009. More impressively, it is, again by my calculations, only the second interview Cohen has granted since the World Tour began in Fredericton on May 11, 2008. The first took place June 4, 2008 at Hamilton Place.1
Most of the interview is old news, consisting of the standard Leonard Cohen article items (e.g., Cohen’s financial losses, his Zen retreat, the US and Canada tour dates, his age and his energy, the songs favored in his concert sets, … ). The only arguably new information I garnered from my first reading follows:
Mr. Cohen said he hoped to make a new record when the tour ends, and offered to play one of his newer compositions. Tentatively called “Amen,” it features a Farfisa-style keyboard, a trumpetlike solo played by Mr. Cohen on his synthesizer and lyrics like this: “Tell me again when the filth of the butcher is washed in the blood of the lamb.”
The full interview, including a portion about Zen and Judaism captured on an audio recording, can be found at Leonard Cohen Returns to the Road, for Reasons Both Practical and Spiritual.
- For details of the first interview, see Leonard Cohen Live On Fedoras, Lawyers, Anjani, Dylan, Antidepressants, Drinking Professionally, Smoking Heavily, The Zen of Cognac, and The Difficulty of Singing Suzanne [↩]