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Friday, 19 October 2012

Patrick Joseph Cowley, Record-producer

b. October 19, 1950
d. November 12, 1982

Born in Buffalo, New York, he died in San Francisco in 1982, aged jusr 32, an early victim of AIDS (when it was still known as GRID)

 During his teenage years, Cowley became a successful drummer with local amateur bands before attending Niagara University and later the University at Buffalo to study English. In 1971, at the age of 21, Cowley moved to San Francisco to attend the City College of San Francisco where he studied music, specifically the use of synthesizers.

Cowley met San Francisco based musician Sylvester James in the late 70s. Sylvester had asked Cowley to join his studio band after hearing some of his early synthesizer recordings. Cowley contracted HIV sometime in the early 1980s.

Cowley's own hits included "Menergy" in 1981, a frank celebration of the gay club sex scene, and "Megatron Man". In 1982, Patrick Cowley became the DJ at the "Menergy" parties at The EndUp in San Francisco. He also wrote and produced the dance single "Right on Target" for San Francisco artist Paul Parker, which reached #1 on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart.

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. Cowley only released three solo albums, but groups including the Pet Shop Boys and New Order cite Cowley's style as a major influence.

Cowley wrote and produced songs for several San Francisco musicians including friends Paul Parker and Frank Loverde. He was associated with many lesser known musicians such as Kat Mandu, Maurice Tani and Linda Imperial.

During a world tour with Sylvester, Cowley complained of feeling increasingly unwell. Upon returning to the United States, he visited a doctor who diagnosed food poisoning. Weeks later, with his condition only worsening, doctors again failed to identify what was wrong with him. Cowley was discharged from the hospital after doctors could do nothing more for him. It was after this that Cowley completed the album Mind Warp.

By the time of the album's release, Cowley was largely confined to a wheelchair and was unable to attend the launch event held at the Galleria Art Center in San Francisco. Subsequently, Cowley become an early victim of AIDS (or GRID, as it was known). 

Confined to a wheelchair and re-hospitalized, Cowley died in San Francisco of Aids-related complications, at age 32.
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