Man Parrish Gives Old Schoolers A History Lesson On The Synth
Man Parrish shares an amazing accounting of his career and those he’s worked with
Dance music icon Man Parrish was using synthesizers and creating new ways for them to be used before Deadmau5 was even hanging in his Grandpa’s sack.
Blazing a path that today’s dance music artists take for granted today, artist like Man Parrish were doing things with synthesizers that took the industry over 30 years just to recognize its importance and give them the credit they deserved.
Like Patrick Cowley and Giorgio, Man Parrish’s mind set when it came to the synthesizers was light years ahead of the pack. Back in the day, whether it was Boogie Down Bronx, Hip Hop Be Bop or Heatstroke, they were made using cutting-edge technology that we take for granted today.
So, while going through FB we come across this post from Man Parrish. What an amazing piece of history! With over four decades in the biz, there’s nothing we can say that he doesn’t cover here when it comes to the impact synths [and he] have had on dance music.
Check it all out below, an amazing piece written by him from his Facebook page where you get to see all that history and schooled in one post. Mind blowing!
INDUSTRY MEMORIES: Sylvester- Mighty Real (1978) from Man Parrish
Patrick Cowley did all of Sylvester’s music. Patrick was the west coast “Giorgio Moroder” of his day, and did synthesizer disco tracks for many other artist on Megatone Records out of San Francisco. Patrick (and later Sylvester) were among the first people to die in the first wave of the early AIDS crisis.
By the time my record came out, Patrick had passed away. This is about 1983. I did a track called “Heatstroke” which was the precursor to my album. It was the title track to a porn movie, that actually got me my record deal… LOL.. I was a big Patrick Cowley fan, and tried to imitate a lot of what of what Patrick did on that song.
Marty Bleckman, the president of Megatone Records called me one day, when he was in New York for the new music seminar, and wanted to speak to me. I thought he was going to give me hell for ripping off Patrick’s sound. I met him in his hotel room in Times Square. I think he was staying at the Marriott. He shook my hand, and asked me to have a seat at the table in his room. He sat across from me and he was terribly distraught. He said now that Patrick had died, There’s no one around that could produce synthesizer records for his label, and he was afraid he was going to go out of business because Patrick’s sound was basically the label’s sound.
He mentioned my song Heatstroke, and said I was the closest thing to Patrick that he knew of, and would I be interested in doing new music for Sylvester. Quite frankly I was blown away! Sylvester was a dance legend and he’s asking me to do all of his new music! Marty asked me to do a demo that he can give to Sylvester, and if Sylvester liked it, Sylvester would write lyrics, and we be in business. I did a demo, and Sylvester absolutely hated it… LOL.
But, Marty loved it and passed it onto another label artist they had called Paul Parker. Paul already had a few hit disco songs called Right On Target (which he would sometimes jokingly sing on stage as “my name’s not Margret”), Pushing Too Hard, and a few others that Patrick Cowley did as well. Marty flew me out to San Francisco to meet Paul Parker. We got along famously. Paul told me that everyone used to call Sylvester “Transvester”. Sylvester was VERY gay, very “out” which was basically unheard of in those days and Sylvester was extremely flamboyant as you can see by the music video attached. He was black, gay, loud and proud!
Marty Bleckman the label owner was right, Megatone Records was dying since Patrick was no longer around. I did a track for Paul called “One Look”. It was in the more popular New York freestyle synthesizer sound, and not the Giorgio Moroder disco sound that Patrick did, so Marty didn’t put it out.
We wound up releasing One Look on Dice Records, which was run by Morris Levy one of the famous, notorious, ripoff real life Mafia gangsters who had infiltrated the music business and was featured in the iconic music industry book called “Hit Men”. That book was about how there was so much money to be made in the music industry back then, that the mafia actually opened up record labels and ripped artist off for the sea of cash that was flowing in, in record sales. Needless to say, we never got paid on that one either LOL.
Patrick Cowley and Paul Parker were very good friends. Paul has an awesome singing voice and Patrick used him on many of his records as a background singer. When Patrick died, he gave Paul some of his old synthesizers. Paul had a few synthesizers sitting in his closet in San Francisco. He said “I don’t know what these things are, but could you use them?”. He gave me one of the bigger synthesizers, and said here, take this back to New York and do something with it.
Turns out, it was Patrick’s main synthesizer that he used on Do You Wanna Funk and all those classic records released on Megatone. Needless to say, that legendary synthesizer is one of my cherished pieces in my vintage synth collection.
I also have one of the original Roland MC8 MicroComposer Sequencers used by Giorgio Moroder on Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love”, and the original Vocoder used by Electric Light Orchestra on “Mr. Blue Sky”. That Vocoder later became my “voice” on my album and many other tracks that I did like Boogie Down Bronx.
Glad to be a part of dance music history!