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View Full Version : Talkin Bout Menergy: The Patrick Cowley Thread


The Raider Dr. Jones
11-16-2012, 03:23 PM
I threatened to make this thread over in the Italo thread, and while I am waiting for my laundry to dry I will follow through!

Patrick Cowley was a dude from upstate New York who, in 1971, decided he was gonna go to San Francisco and make music. So he packed a bag, went to the thruway outside Rochester, and stuck out his thumb. (In 1971 I believe this was still only very unwise, as opposed to suicidally insane.) Eventually he was at I believe they called it the Electronic Music Lab at CCSF, learning to play and program early analog synths.

For a while, as I understand it, he and the other students there made money doing bits and pieces of commercial music -- segues for TV stations, radio effects, that kind of deal. His dance music work starts to pop up in the late '70s, when disco was booming in San Francisco and everywhere else and guys like Giorgio Moroder were making all-electronic production a thing. He was a light operator and DJ at some of SF's bigger clubs, he played synths on records for Sylvester and some other artists, and he eventually made his own music, starting with remixes (like a famous 16-minute version of "I Feel Love" from 1978) and progressing to three albums of his own in the very early '80s.

Then he was one of the first casualties of what decimated the SF dance music scene in the '80s -- he came down with AIDS complications before anyone even widely understood what it was. Pneumonia killed him in the fall of 1982, just after his third album dropped. A headline in one of the local music trade papers read "MEGATRON MAN DIES," which is a cooler obit than any of us will ever have.

Here is some disco music:

I Feel Love Mega Mix (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSTf0B-9laQ) - Giorgio Moroder allegedly did not like this version, so fuck him.

Menergy (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46DiMfrz0bg) - Cowley's first big hit under his own name I think, and probably the gayest disco tune recorded until the Boys Town Gang started making songs that were explicitly about ass-fucking. First heard this via Ben Liebrand's Grand 12-Inches series, which is great stuff if you're into old '80s dance music.

Megatron Man (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buOjgSK1Z3Q) - Gave Cowley his nickname. Not sure if it's a vocoder or what doing the voice effects but it's rad. Big influence here on the "hi-NRG" style of disco, one of my favorite music genre names ever.

Sea Hunt (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNO1bCA9Klc) - Based on the TV theme of the same name. Very cool synth stuff on this one.

Do Ya Wanna Funk (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0Vh-a2l6SY) - Probably his biggest hit playing and composing for Sylvester. If you do not wanna funk I don't really see what's wrong with you.

Tech No Logical World (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwqmvSr1wlU) - From the Mind Warp album, most of which Cowley recorded while he was very sick and on his way out. The whole record has this spooky, melancholy feel to it. Worth listening to all in one piece (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rL1RkKz8dm8).

Healy
11-16-2012, 09:32 PM
This is some good stuff! And now that I know that there's a song called "Menergy" I can't stop giggling.

Googleshng
11-16-2012, 11:00 PM
Do Ya Wanna Funk (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0Vh-a2l6SY) - Probably his biggest hit playing and composing for Sylvester. If you do not wanna funk I don't really see what's wrong with you.

That's the only one of these I'd heard before, and then only because of Trading Places. Going to be adding that to the "Wait that's a guy!?" file.

But yeah, this is all honestly really good stuff. Thanks for sharing!

The Raider Dr. Jones
11-17-2012, 09:08 AM
This is some good stuff! And now that I know that there's a song called "Menergy" I can't stop giggling.

It occurs to me that I shouldn't have mentioned the Boys Town Gang without a link.

Boys Town Gang - Cruisin the Streets (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwxCLRLtBXQ)

Healy
11-17-2012, 04:01 PM
So on this thread's recommendation I listened to Mind Warp. There was an added poignance to the last non-remix song, Goin' Home (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POvgFayLdNM), knowing that Cowley knew he was gonna die soon.