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80’s Gay Music Composer Patrick Cowley’s Final Gay Porn Soundtrack To Be Reissued


For those of you who don’t know Patrick Cowley was a gay disco and Hi-NRG dance music composer and recording artist. Besides Giorgio Moroder, he is often credited as a pioneer of electronic dance music of the 1980’s.

Cowley met San Francisco-based musician Sylvester in the late 1970’s. Sylvester had asked Cowley to join his studio band after hearing some of his early synthesizer recordings. He played synthesizer on Sylvester’s 1978 album Step II which included the hits “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” and “Dance (Disco Heat)”. In addition he wrote “Stars” and “I Need Somebody To Love Tonight” from his 1979 album Stars. Cowley also joined Sylvester’s live band and joined him on several world tours.

In 1979 Patrick was contacted by John Coletti, owner of famed gay porn company Fox Studio in Los Angeles. Patrick jumped on this offer and sent reels of his college compositions from the 70s to John in LA. Coletti then used a variable speed oscillator to adjust the pitch and speed of Patrick’s songs in-sync with the film scenes. The result was the VHS collections “Muscle Up” and “School Daze” released in 1979 and 1980.

Cowley’s own hits included “Menergy” in 1981, a celebration of the gay club scene, and “Megatron Man”, which hit #1 and #2 respectively on the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart in 1981.  A collaboration with Sylvester, “Do Ya Wanna Funk”, made #4 on the Billboard dance chart that same year. Cowley also did a 15’45” long remix of Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love”, which is now a collector’s item. His final album, Mind Warp, was composed as he felt the increasing effects of HIV infection, and its songs reflect his increasing detachment from conventional reality as the disease progressed. 

During a world tour with Sylvester in late 1981, Cowley complained of feeling increasingly sick. He was initially diagnosed with food poisoning and sent home by doctors. Weeks later, with his condition only worsening, doctors failed to identify what was wrong with him. At this early stage in the history of HIV and AIDS, misdiagnosis was very common. Cowley was discharged from the hospital after doctors could do nothing more for him.

Patrick Cowley died at his home, in San Francisco, on November 12, 1982. He was 32 years old.

Now almost 35 years later The third installment of his gay porn music trilogy  — Afternooners — is about to be released.

“Afternooners” is the third collection of Cowley’s instrumental songs, recorded in May 1982. These recordings were culled from two 23-minute reels in the Fox Studio vaults. All songs were originally untitled, so the track titles are taken from Fox Studio’s 8mm film loops. This compilation also includes three bonus tracks found in the archives of fellow Megatone Records recording artist Paul Parker and the attic of teenage friend Lily Bartels. Influenced by Tomita, Wendy Carlos, and Giorgio Moroder,

Afternooners — will be released on Oct. 19 by Dark Entries and Honey Soundsystem Records. The date is special, because that would have been Cowley’s 67th birthday.

 

 

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, writer, blogger and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Advocate, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, Raw Story, and The Huffington Post

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