PATRICK & SYLVESTER
Left: Patrick on tour with Sylvester's band, in The Coliseum,
Center: prepairing the arrengmenents for a show.
Right : Resting by day, performing by night, on a tour of Florida.
Silvester James, such was his name, was a gay star. He was a transvestite who was very successful in the gay disco comunity in
Patrick's performance with analog synthesizer work, electronic instruments, modified guitars and self-constructed equipement became in synonymous of Sylvester's sound and covered with synthesized sounds the edition of hits like “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)”, “Dance Disco Heat”, and “Can’t Stop Dancing”.
Patrick and Sylvester working on 'Do Ya Wanna Funk' (1982)
" It's almost amazing that Sylvester had Patrick tour with us, because synthesizer technology was so primitive at the time that Patrick was constantly patching and unpatching his board to make sounds when we were performing. Frecuently he had problems on stage due to the technical limitations of sound systems vis a vis live use of synthesizers But one night at Roseland Balroom in New York Patrick played a solo that was so amazing that Tip Wirrick, Michael Finden and I were just in awe.
I remember Patrick shrugging in a humorous way and telling us : Some nights it goes well !! " (ROBERT KINGSOM )
gave life to the "Step II" album that skyrocketed Sylvester to
international fame. It was Patrick's recording work which really pushed
Sylvester's 'Step II' album into a highly marketable category, to the point
that it sold more than 500.000 records in
Left. (1979) Robert Kingsom playing bass for Sylvester at
The Roxy Theater (Hollywood) .
Right: (1979) Patrick on synthesizer and Robert Kingsom on drums performing for Sylvester at the Roxy Thether.
"Patrick was a really fun person who was also very spontaneous, in example, he frequently yelled at me publicity (but then, I was 18 or 21 years old and totally folish, so i couldn't blame him. But in the same moment he would hug me and we would laugh it off. " (ROBERT KINGSOM )
Left: Patrick on travel.
Center: working with Sylvester after hospital.
Right: Healthy Patrick performing at the studio.
A PART OF HISTORY
Back in the 70's John Hedges was living with Gerry McBride and Danny Williams. John Hedges was the person who in many ways invented disco/ dance music. He was a DJ at Mind Shaft . One night he happened to listen to the song 'Rock Your Baby', he liked it so much that he figured out a way to make the song last longer, he mixed it and made it danceable. And ever since more and more dance sounds started to appear.
went from the 'Mind Shaft' to 'Oil Can Harry's' and then to
'City Disco' where he was the head DJ. John and Gerry Mcbride were from
" More music things followed and eventually Patrick Cowley joined the DJ family, although he never lived with us. John Hedges and Marty Blecman were finding all kinds of musicians along their careers such as Barry Beam and others. i wrote the lyric for a hit called 'Castro Boy', and also did the vocals on the recording." ( DANNY WILLIAMS )
Blecman, Sylvester and John Hedges at Megatone Records.
2: Right Up : left to right, Rock Sands, Richard Dearborn, Michael Lee, Lee Horning (sitting) Larry Francis, Christine Matuchek, Ed Mendez, Marty Bleckman, Dale Pelegrino, Michael Garret, John Hedges and Cindy Baker. (standing)
3: Hedges photo in 2001
PATRICK & MARTY BLECMAN
Even though he was on tours with Sylvester, Pat remained close to San Francisco 's disco scene and joined forces with his friend Marty Blecman ( Martin Sander Blecman) to found 'Megatone Records' in the summer of 1981, whose offices would be located on 470 Castro Street, Suite 3209, San Francisco. At that time, Marty was employed as DJ at The City Disco; formerly he'd been working at Fantasy Records.
"Fantasy's" stars (Tip Wirrick, Martha Walsh, Jeanne Tracy, among
others ), would later be in Megatone. Patrick Cowley and
Marty Blecman began their productions on "Studio C"
of "Automatt Recording Studios" , on 829 Folsom Street in
Letter to Megatone Records from The Dixie Dance Kings.
The Automatt had three recording studios,Its owner was David Rubinson and its studio manager was Michelle Zarin. Studio "C" was on the second floor of the building .It was large and had very good technical equipment. It was similar to Wally Haider's ( several engineers who were working there went on to work at the Automatt at that time). This legendary recording studio in which Patrick recorded Megatron Man and Mind Warp albums torn down in 1984.
" Usually in Patrick's sessions, were his singing vocals, two technicians and sometimes Marty Blecman would show up, but Marty was always there for the final mix. His sound engineers were Maureen Droney (my wife ) and I. I recorded and mixed the most of Patrick's productions , and Maureen took an active part on Mind Warp. After Pat was finishing to fine tunning the sounds, it would take 3 days to record them and one day to mix. Obviously it was Mind Warp album the hardest one, because Patrick was very weak because of his advanced decease." ( KEN KESSIE )
Original handwriting of Marty Blecman. Notice the names he filled in the poll.
Before establishing himself in the Automatt Studio, he worked at his home studio. Many of his first hits , like "Menergy", "I Wanna Take You Home" and "Right On Target" were recorded there with an 'eight track analog machine'. He showed there all his ingenuity and his talent potential since he spent lot of hours working and modifying programs to be able to fit all his sounds into just eight recording tracks .
Patrick Cowley's home studio was near Fulsom and Mission, it was at 8th and Minna. He rented a small space in what looked like a bombed out building, occupied by squatters. A brick warehouse building. His place had a door, and when entered, recording machines and a desk for mixing, with wires running could be seen just about everywhere.
Left up: the famous PROPHET-5, Patrick's best hits were
performed with it.
Right up: Eight Track Analog machine, Patrick recorded 'Menergy' and 'Right On Target'.
Left below: front view of the PROPHET-5.
Right below: The Pro-One, former model synth used by Patrick.
" The walls were just 2x4 , with insulation covering them for sound proofing. Patrick shared his space with Tip Wirrick and there was a heavy dividing door that went to another space where Maurice Tani had the studio. They worked with Katie Guthorn who was later in Modern Rocketry . Some years later, Jo-Carol Block and Lauren Carter rented the space upstairs and had their recording studio there. For recording his songs, Patrick played all parts on an '8- track recorder machine', meticulously mixing down the first 6 tracks, and recorded 4 more, then mixed down once again, added vocals, and then mixed it all finally. He was an obsessed man , and surely each song took weeks of work, sometimes twenty hours continuosly ! (PAUL PARKER )
Cowley composed and worked all his wonderful productions almost exclusively on
his "PROPHET-5 poliphonic analog synthesizer" ( five
voices) , about
Patrick played his Robotic voices with an "studio effect box" . Most of his effects were adapted onto the synthesizer as he played it. He also used a "drum machine".... Everyone could say that Patrick could make a song with just his "Prophet V" and a drum machine.
Sights of Automatt Studio. 'Megatron Man' and 'Mind Warp' were recorded here.
"Patrick did not need special scores, by the time he would be in the studio with me and he would have all the parts written in his head. He would just spend a little time fine tuning the sounds, then he would record." (MAUREEN DRONEY )
"While recording 'Megatron Man' we didn't talk much cause we had a lot of work to do in a short time. He was the best synthesizer player I have ever met. " (KEN KESSIE )
Left: Morey Goldstein and Ken Kessie, co-founders of
“Modern Rocketry”. Morey Goldstein sadly passed away on July
5th, 2008 from a brain tumor. Ken Kessie was Patrick’s sound engineer on
Right up : Ken Kessie .
Right below: Morey Goldstein in ‘Modern Rocketry’