James Adams reports in ‘The Globe and Mail’, Toronto, in 1995:
"To signal new beginnings, Cohen thought earlier this year that perhaps it was time to do a recording, say, 14 short songs, each of them under three minutes. In fact, he did record a rather concise tune called ‘I Was Never Any Good at Loving You’, with some "hot session players" in Los Angeles. While it likely will find its way on to his next CD, right now he’s wondering if he really has the knack for cranking out book-filled ditties. ‘I have this ponderous mind’, he chuckles, ‘that seems to need eight on 10 stanzas to uncover the idea of the song.’"
James Adams continues: "Cohen hasn’t entirely forsaken the purely written word that first brought him attention. He is currently about 100 pages into a new volume of prose and verse titled ‘The Book of Longing’, which, ‘if it stands up’, should be published late next year."
As we know, Leonard’s songs are always being worked on for several years. He writes and re-writes them until he is completely satisfied. In 1988, for instance, he worked with songs like ‘Born in Chains’, ‘There’s a Light in Jamaica (a tribute to Bob Marley), ‘The Anthem’, ‘Our Time Has Come’, ‘Waiting for the Miracle’ and ‘My Secret Life’. His 1992 CD ‘The Future’ included some of these, some renamed. Some are still in development - or have been dropped.
In his conversation with Gloria Hunniford on UK Radio 2 (England, 1988), Leonard even recited the following verse from ‘My Secret Life’:
I saw you this morning, you were moving so fast,
Robert Hillburn interviewed Leonard Cohen for Los Angeles Times in September 1995 at the Zen Center on the edge of the tiny resort village of Mount Baldy. The interview was published on Sunday, September 24. We quote:
"They have been very kind to me here," Cohen says matter-of-factly about his change of lifestyle as he sits on a narrow cot that would look at home in an Army barracks. "This was originally two cabins, but they broke through [the wall] and made it one cabin to give me a bit more room."
"I stay here and do my work and help look after Roshi, who is the old teacher. He's 88, and three or four of us are charged with doing that. Cooking is my contribution."
The 61-year-old songwriter and poet hasn't turned his back on the world. He frequently heads down the mountain to Los Angeles in his four-wheel-drive vehicle, either to visit an affiliated Zen center, to visit his daughter in the Mid-Wilshire area or meet with Kelley Lynch, his manager.
Cohen has plenty of time here to devote to his writing. At present, he's working on an illustrated book of poems and songs for a future album. His workroom contains a primitive Macintosh computer and a synthesizer, tools for his music and his graphic art. There is also a radio in the room but no CD or cassette player. He has to go out to his vehicle to play a CD.
He pauses at the car to answer a final question--whether he plans to tour if the response to the tribute album suggests there is a big U.S. audience to hear his songs again.
"Well, you know, the devil laughs when we make plans," he says. "I wouldn't want to say never, but I'm not waiting for the phone to ring."
If you want to read the whole interview use the link to Carter Page’s Leonard Cohen page!
From The Billboard, Saturday, August 5, 1995:
"A Thousand Kisses Deep"
The Beat by Melinda Newman
Leonard Cohen has been working on several "very, very personal" songs for a new album. "On The Future, there were a number os songs that had kind of a personal approach to geopolitics," he says, noting that the new songs are "a little bit different" from those on his previous album.
Two tracks, "My Secret Life" and "A Thousand Kisses Deep", are close to completion, and a third, "Never Any Good At Loving You," has been recorded.
Cohen is living in a cabin on a mountain in California, where he is planning to install an 8-track console.
"I’m trying to keep a kind of record alongside the songs, a kind of journal," he says. "It would be a very personal diary that would be spontaneously spoken, with keyboard, maybe every morning when I get up - something like that. I’d like to have a very intimate kind of record…of a very different nature than actual songs."
"I'm a living diary"
Cohen recalls his Helsinki concerts and the splendid Baltic herrings of the local marketplace. He also loves ice hockey. "I used to be the left defense player myself".
"The Zen Center of Mt. Baldy is now my home. I used to spend here a couple of months every year", Cohen says, "but now I have moved my personal property here. I live in a small cabin".
Cohen has not sold his houses in Montreal or Hydra. "My kids use the houses occasionally. I bought my house In greece 30 years ago for 1.500 $ and now the house almost falls over.
"Running this Zen Center takes most of my time. I’m one of the oldest residents here, and that’s why I have got certain benefits. We have even built a water closet for me inside my cabin!"
"I always scribble something. Nowadays my only need is to jot everything down. I don’t feel that I am a singer, or a writer. I’m just the voice, a living diary."
"’The Book of Longing’ is my next book of prose and verse. I’m also writing songs. It takes always about four years to make an album. I’m now working on seven songs, but I can’t say when the record will be ready."
It took many years, until 2001, before the final versions of A Thousand Kisses
Deep and In My Secret Life were released on the album Ten New Songs.
Book of Longing still remains unpublished. Cohen has not been touring since 1993.