Leonard Cohen On Kurt Cobain

ATN Toronto correspondent Peter Howell reports: I met up with Leonard

Cohen in Toronto this week. He was in town promoting

Tower Of Song: The Songs Of Leonard Cohen, yet another tribute

album, and

the third honoring Cohen. This album finds mainstream artists

including Elton John, Billy Joel, Sting, Willie Nelson singing

Cohen's work. Perhaps the most interesting thing to emerge from our

conversation was Cohen's comments about Kurt Cobain, who made his own

indirect tribute to the

Godfather of Gloom in the Nirvana song "Pennyroyal Tea," off In

Utero: ``Give

me Leonard Cohen afterworld/ So I can sigh eternally.''

Cohen said he wished he had had the chance to speak with Cobain; he

would have tried to help the troubled star, perhaps by

introducing him to the small Zen community on Mt. Baldy, north of L.

A., where he now lives, working as

cook and personal assistant to a Zen master.

``I'm sorry I couldn't have spoken to the young man,'' Cohen said of


recognizing some of his own past excesses in Cobain's downfall.

``I see a lot of people at the Zen Center, who have gone through drugs


found a way out that is not just Sunday school. There are always

alternatives, and I might have been able to lay something on him. Or



Cohen said the members of Nirvana all turned out to see him, when he

performed in Seattle in 1993. And he knows Courtney Love indirectly

(Love adores him, and plays Cohen records at her shows), because

his daughter is a friend of new Hole bassist, Melissa Auf der Maur.

Incidentally, Cohen also revealed he's a fan of Phil Collins, of all

people. But Collins turned Cohen down when asked by Cohen to cover

a Cohen composition for Tower Of Song. ``I asked him, and he

declined,'' said Cohen, who modestly left most of the legwork to his

manager, Kelley Lynch. ``And I wrote him saying, `Would Beethoven

decline Mozart's invitation?'

``He wrote back a lovely fax, saying, `Beethoven must decline because

Beethoven is going on tour with so-and-so ...' It was a very charming

fax he sent me, and completely legitimate.''

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