His plan was to start smoking again at the tender age of 80 years young, having smoked for 50 years. He thought about it a lot…

This press conference was at the Canadian Embassy in London some years back to an invited audience flown in from all over the world.

I have friends who were on the road with Leonard singing for over 350 of his concerts worldwide! They had a lot of fun on those tours. They still talk about the food and catering..

Essential to Leonard’s survival were his Jewish roots, which informed his life and influences. His family came from Poland. The album before this went to number one in many countries. I loved this album, and trust you will to. He has certainly left a legacy for us all to embrace with his music, songs, and lyrics. What a volume of work along with his Zen training in the monastery. I hope you embrace and enjoy this audio interview as much as I did.

This encouraged my own path in part, living within the monastic community of Plum Village, France, and Deer Park Monastery, Escondido, California. In the tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hahn. It has been a very healing and nourishing path for me, and many others.

Leonard loved watching TV, and also drinking alcohol in moderation whilst in the Monastery. His master told him it’s good to drink on a rainy day. He felt it appropriate and a breach of hospitality for him not to drink whilst in company. Whilst still following the schedule at the Monastery, incorporating this into his practice, he enjoyed smiling and following the rules of the Monastery.

His cover story looked very good, he had nothing to complain about. He tried everything; wine, women, song, money, career, art. Every kind of extravagance, and every restraint, but nothing worked! Nothing in the human realm is meant to work, and from that place compassion arises.

The one question worth asking anyone is, “What are you going through?” He felt a fundamental sense of not flowing with the authentic motion, which is why he stepped into the Monastery. His good songs, and love of his audience and their interest—he would feel completely at home. Creating LOVE at the epicentre, which kept him touring. But this became dependant on the concert going well. With real, serious diligence taken on to the stage night after night. Things had to go well for him on stage, or he felt he betrayed people and their time and money.

Besides all that, he developed a dependance on the applause, the love, the wine, the songs. The antidote being his diligence to his practice which he developed later in life. What a life that was lived to the full!

He considered himself very fortunate tasting the practice. It was clean, not dogmatic, and the example from his master.

May his soul rest in peace, surrounded and bathed in Love. I have just seen Nick Broomfield’s wonderful film Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love. Which is a fascinating insight into his life, and love affair with Marianne and the Greek island they lived on all those years ago. An enduring love that lasted their entire lifetimes. They died three months apart, and were in touch until Marianne’s last breath. The documentary covers the rise and fall of his career. Finally rising again to unprecedented heights with his touring and later albums.

This audio interview was for the Popular Problems album launch in London, UK. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed being there. Stuart Maconie hosted the event. You’ll find the full interview in the members section.