“Songwriting,” said Leonard Cohen, “is much like the life of a Catholic nun. You’re married to a mystery.” That mystery — where songs come from, and how to reach them — is one all songwriters learn to embrace. Though it’s an unanswerable question, for many it is a galvanizing force.
As Leonard said, “If I knew where the good songs came from, I’d go there more often.”
The Great Song Adventure is an exploration and celebration of that ongoing mystery, the source of songs. It began when Louise Goffin invited Paul Zollo to speak at one of her master-classes in songwriting. That conversation was so fun and electric, and went off in so many directions, they considered turning it into a podcast.
Their original vision was a show that could preserve these kinds of conversations, and could extend to include intimate, expansive musical conversations with legendary songwriters they both know well and revere, such as the brilliantly eloquent Van Dyke Parks, who was their very first guest.
And so the Great Adventure commenced, as Louise and Paul traveled all over interviewing songwriters and building content for their show. They did new interviews with legendary songwriters – and also great current songwriters – as also created new shows around interviews from the Zollo archives. The first archival ones to come are talks with Tom Petty and Leonard Cohen.
Part of the original vision was to conduct these talks at Chinese restaurants, so as to have the fun of talking while eating good Chinese food (a great long-standing musician tradition), but also to distinguish the show with a charmingly distinctive old-time radio ambiance. To provide not only a good conversation, but a location which would be present in the fun sonics throughout.
This was a miscalculation. One built mostly on Paul’s enthusiasm for the idea (which might have been inspired more by the food than the sonics). However, instead of being charmingly distinctive, as hoped, it proved to be – well – noisy! Distracting. And so, although yummy, the idea was jettisoned for sonically-pure spaces.
However, Louise & Paul did conduct a trial conversation – just between the two of them- at Hop Li on Pico in West L.A. And though admittedly too thick with audio ambiance, this historic episode has been preserved, and we are happy to present it to you now.
Hop Li Seafod Restaurant: 10974 Pico Boulevard.
West Los Angeles, California 90064
310-441-3708. (Tell them Louise & Paul sent you.)