Leonard Cohen & Anjani Thomas KCRW Interview – Wrestling For Lyrics, New Songs, New Album, The Story Of “C,” The Curious Tiny Ordeal, …


Now Online – The KCRW Interview Of Leonard Cohen & Anjani

On June 24, 2006 Leonard Cohen and Anjani were interviewed by Chris Douridas on KCRW. During that show, two new songs by Leonard Cohen that were written for possible use in an album on which he was then working were played and subsequently became the focus of a Heck Of A Guy post, Two Very Raw, Unreleased Leonard Cohen Songs “Puppets” And “Book Of Longing”.

That post also lamented

The good news is that the entire interview was revealing, interesting, and insightful .  Of special interest were the descriptions Cohen and Anjani provided of  the unusual process by which the songs in the Blue Alert album were created.

The bad news is that, although the link to the program listing is still intact, the archived recording of the interview itself is no longer available. (At least, I can’t find it. When I click on the appropriate buttons, I get a popup box reporting “This media cannot be found.” If anyone has better luck, please let me know.)

Whether the recording was actually missing from the website’s archives or the problem was idiosyncratic to my own computer software or internet connection, it is available now – and it is a treasure for fans of Leonard Cohen and Anjani.

Program Highlights

This list of snippets from the show provide a taste of the treats offered in the interview:

  • Anjani and Leonard Cohen perform “Undertow,” the song which Anjani has described as the demarcation between her previous vocal style and the revised mode that would mark her renditions on the “Blue Alert” album.
  • They provide a brief history of their introduction by John Lissauer,1 including Cohen’s comment that on that first encounter he was “smitten by [Anjani’s] beauty,” to which he quickly adds, “that quickly evaporates when you’re actually working with someone.” He goes on to speak of Anjani’s musicianship and discipline.
  • Cohen recounts Columbia’s refusal to issue “Various Positions” (an album which included “Dance Me to the End of Love” and “Hallelujah”) and the assessment by Columbia Records president Walter Yetnikoff, “Look, Leonard; we know you’re great, but we don’t know if you’re any good.”
  • Anjani and Cohen offer an anecdotal history of the making of the “Blue Alert” album, including her request to put his lyrics for “Blue Alert” to music herself, which she laughingly characterizes as “I had to wrestle him for it,” to which Cohen replies, “There’s a lot of concessions you make for peace in the house.”
  • Cohen notes that “What you hear [in “Blue Alert”] is Anjani’s demo.” He explains that attempts to add other instruments cluttered the song, that “all the acoustic space was fully and gloriously occupied by Anjani’s keyboard and voice.” He adds that “John Lissauer put on a moment of saxophone at the end that just situates it in the smoke.”
  • Anjani sings “Blue Alert.”
  • Leonard Cohen describes his involvement in an “avalanche of litigation” and credits their work on the “Blue Alert” album as “sublime release,” saying “the songs rescued us from the curious tiny ordeal that had overtaken my life at the time.”
  • Both Anjani and Cohen review the writing of “Never Got To Love You,” which originated from unused “outtakes” (Cohen’s term) from “Closing Time.” Cohen notes that the original lines were “very securely situated at this bar I remembered on the Laurentian Highway.”
  • Anjani sings “Never Got To Love You.”
  • Cohen briefly notes the publication of his “Book of Longing” and pays homage to Irving Layton.  Also mentioned is the release of the tribute film, “I’m Your Man,” with shout outs to Rufus Wainwright, Nick Cave, Perla Batalla, and others.
  • Anjani explains how she came to understand – and learn from – Cohen’s approach to music, which she refers to as the “Story of ‘C.'”2
  • Cohen and Anjani describe their “normal life” and Anjani praises his expertise in making egg salad. Cohen speaks of their “very deep collaboration” on music and in daily life, noting that “the future always uncertain.”
  • Anjani sings “Thanks For The Dance”

How To Listen To The Recorded Interview

Again, the original problem may have been unique to my browser or my internet access, but this is the following method now works (for me).

  1. Go to this link: Leonard Cohen and Anjani – KCRW Interview
  2. One that web page, you should see the image below (sans my annotations). Click on “Legacy Player.” (In my case, clicking on the other choices, “Listen” or “My Shows,” leads to a “This media cannot be found” warning.) A pop-up window should form, a 15 second blurb for KCRW follows, and then the interview begins.

  1. For a more complete exposition of this story, see The Anjani Chronicles: Anjani Goes To New York, Meets Leonard Cohen, and Finds Romance – But Not In That Order []
  2. For a more complete exposition of this event, see Story of “C” []

One response to “Leonard Cohen & Anjani Thomas KCRW Interview – Wrestling For Lyrics, New Songs, New Album, The Story Of “C,” The Curious Tiny Ordeal, …

  1. Alan,

    I put this link some time ago on the forum.

    Greetings, Wijbe