Leonard Cohen is coming to town. If I ever compiled a list of favorite living artists who I would probably never get a chance to see live, he would be right near the top.
I've been a fan of Cohen since before I was thirteen years old. For my friend Chris' 13th birthday (which was about six weeks before mine), after a day of intense comic book shopping, his parents allowed the two of us to see the R-rated Pump Up the Volume in the theater. It was pretty badass... an angst-ridden, music-driven teen drama with boobs, and we got to see it! Cohen's music was a focal point of the film. His original version of "Everybody Knows" served as the opening song to Christian Slater's pirate radio show. "If It Be Your Will" made a lone appearance during a key scene late in the movie.
Pump Up the Volume introduced me to a lot of great music at a pretty young age. I was initially crushed when Leonard Cohen failed to appear on the soundtrack CD (the version of "Everybody Knows" on there was Concrete Blonde's cover), but that disc was my first exposure to the Pixies, Sonic Youth, Bad Brains and Henry Rollins. And though they didn't appear on the soundtrack either, the movie also introduced me to the Descendents. My musical tastes were progressing rapidly. In the span of about a year, I had moved from pop hair-metal to Metallica and Anthrax. I had just started listening to KJ104 and getting into the Red Hot Chili Peppers. All those punk and college-rock bands from Pump Up the Volume easily appealed to me. I can't quite figure out why Cohen had such an impact. Whatever the reason, I am grateful.
Now he's coming to the Orpheum Theater and I'm going to skip it. Tickets are $80-$250. That's not in the budget.