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Man Parrish interviewed by Lenny Fontana for True House Stories # 085

Part 1
Man Parrish talks about his early beginnings from being an adopted kid living in Brooklyn to beginning to find his way into music. Parrish is a native New Yorker] of Italian descent. He attended the High School for the Performing Arts and the Academy for Dramatic Arts (NYC) as a teenager.

He moonlighted as a non singing, onstage “extra” role in several operas at the Metropolitan Opera House in Manhattan. Parrish left home at the age of 14 and was a member of the extended family that converged nightly at Studio 54, Anvil and other night spots around NYC.

His nickname, Man, first appeared in Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine. Andy Warhol gave him the name “Man”. His early live shows at Bronx hip-hop clubs were spectacles of lights, glitter, and pyrotechnics, which drew as much from the Warhol mystique as the Cold Crush Brothers.

Part 2
Man Parrish first release was “Hip Hop, Be Bop (Don’t Stop)” issued in 1982,  which has later been featured in the video game Grand Theft Auto, which sold millions of copies. It was sampled in Sway & King Tech’s 1991 song “Follow 4 Now”, from their second album, Concrete Jungle.

His biggest chart success in the UK was his recording of “Male Stripper” under the artist name Man 2 Man, which peaked at No. 4 in the UK Singles Chart. He eventually signed with Elektra Records via David Bowie’s manager Tony Defries who also managed his music career, but was dropped from the label in 1984, when they decided not to release the album he had recorded for them.

Elektra signed him for dance music, his manager wanted him to create pop-rock. Man Parrish has mixed, produced and worked with various artists such as Boy George, Michael Jackson and Cyndi Laupher.[ He later served as the road manager for the Village People and Crystal Waters. In 2010s, Parrish was in negotiations with Pink Biscuit Records and was scheduled to release a record via Southern Fried Records, the label owned by Fatboy Slim.

In 2018, he also did a sound performance – installation for MOMA PS 1 titled The Box, asking the question: Is Sound Considered Art?

Parrish started his own label instead. From 2000 to 2015, he created the longest running underground New York City club party, at the CockBar called Sperm. In 2018, three pieces of his musical works were accepted into the Museum of Modern Art’s MOMA permanent collection in New York City. Film scores for Behive, (a modern dance film), The Jones’s, (an indie art film) and his 1983 music video for “Hip Hop, Be Bop (Don’t Stop)”.

Man Parrish YouTube Video Part 1

Man Parrish YouTube Video Part 2

Man Parrish

Biography Man Parrish

The New York Times has said he is the “GodFather Of Electronic Music”. Other media sources claim he is a founding force behind EDM, the electronic dance movement, that is now considered mainstream pop music of today. He has sold over 5 million records worldwide, plus an additional 80 million through the distribution and sales of the hugely popular Grand Theft Auto Video Games series. Volumes 1 and 3 contain his music.

Manny (Man) Parrish is nonetheless one of the most important and influential figures in American electronic music. Helping to lay the foundation of electro, hip-hop, freestyle, house, and techno, as well as the dozens of sub-genres that splinter off from those styles. Parrish introduced the aesthetic of electronic pop to the American scene. Mainstream recording artists today, still try to recreate the sounds and styles that he first brought to modern music.

As a result, his early tracks like “Hip-Hop Be Bop (Don’t Stop)” and “Boogie Down Bronx” were period-defining works that provided the basic genetic material for everyone from Run- DMC and the Beastie Boys, to Daft Punk and Missy Elliot, Lady Gaga and Peaches — and his tracks remain undisputed classics to this day.

A native New Yorker, Parrish was a member of the extended family that converged at the infamous Studio 54 Club. Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Mick Jagger, Halston, Liza Minnelli, Dianna Vreeland, Farrah Faucett, Michael Jackson, and others attended his shows at Studio 54, once where he came down from the ceiling, in a grand entrance, to a crowd of legendary cheering celebrities.

Madonna was HIS opening act. He appeared a second time at Studio 54 for George Lucas’ Return Of The Jedi grand opening movie premiere party. His performances were crafted with sets, costumes, and special effects, not common to beginning artists. We worked at the Metropolitan Opera House in NYC and went to the HS Of Performing Arts “Fame” High School.

He was signed to Electra Records and managed by David Bowie’s notorious manager Tony De Fries and the infamous Main Man Ltd management team. Tony De Fries had managed the careers of David Bowie, New York Dolls, Mott the Hoople, Mick Ronson, and Dana Gillespie to name a few.

Parrish recorded and remixed tracks for Michael Jackson, Boy George, Gloria Gaynor, Klaus Nomi, and Hi-NRG group Man2Man, among others, and served as manager for the Village People for 6 years, touring the world, and Crystal Waters to name a few. He’s had charted pop and dance hits worldwide and has a huge following of fans, musicians, producers, and DJs who consider him a living legend.

He continues to remix, lecture, compose, collaborate, DJ, and stay quite active behind the scenes, in the music industry. Man Parrish is renowned and considered by many as a modern-day living legend. He even has his own iPhone app. He’s currently writing a book documenting his life and his extensive NYC “downtown scene” knowledge.

Redbull Music acknowledged his works and did a 15-minute documentary film on him. They also did two -1 hour, in-depth spotlight radio shows. He’s referenced and interviewed in over 45 books and interviews worldwide. His online digital music sales catalog has over 120 of his titles on iTunes. Redbull in 2019 did a 3-hour “Master Class” interview, live onstage, in Los Angele, on his life and 50-year music career history.

Two of his 1978 film scores and his 1983 music Video “Man Parrish Hip Hop Be Bop” were recently added to the prestigious permanent collection of The Museum Of Modern Art [MoMA] in New York City. He was also included as part of their “Club 57” exhibit which ran from November 2017 to April 2018 in the main museum on 53rd street, NYC. Additionally, he did an ambient sound installation for Moma. “Is Sound Art?”, asking the question, does art have to be a visual medium, to be shown in a museum?

His plan is to bring that installation to various cities worldwide. He was also on a 2019 exhibit in Paris “Musee De City Of Paris”, and A 2020 London Museum Electronic Music Exhibit along with Jean Michele Jarre and Kraftwerk claiming them as “The Forefathers of Electronic Music’.

His “Man Parrish Stories” on YouTube chronicle raw, honest, direct, and unedited stories of his amazing life. He talks about being homeless, hanging out with celebrities, insider tales of the music business and being physically, mentally, and sexually abused as a child. He was part of a multi-state pedophile ring as a venerable teen run-a-way. Those stories are both heartbreaking, hilarious, and honest. There are about 40 “episodes” 5 to 15 minutes in length. Man hopes that one day Netflix will take notice and expand on his stories for a series.

Spotify reached out to him for the Jean Michele Basquiat exhibit in New York City in April 2022. The “Listen Like Basquiat” campaign was to promote the unseen 200-piece Basquiat show. When Spotify asked the family what music Jean Michele listen to, Man Parrish was their reply. Man Parrish is featured in billboards, subway, and online ads for Spotify.

In 2020, Man’s good friend Michael Levine asked Man to remix a title track for a documentary on Runners. Roberta Flack sang the track, Man remixed it.

In May 2021 “The Art Club” on Fulton Street, Brooklyn, in New York City, asked Man Parrish to do an installation for Art Week NYC. His collaboration with Eva Muller took over about 1000 sq feet of gallery space on a lower level and completely transformed the environment with their installation. Carefully lit, dark mazes with artwork, day-glow graffiti art, video projections, and live performers were the crowning jewel of the NYC Art Week crowd.

His music, as well as some wonderfully detailed information, are available in over 150+ digital outlets worldwide, like iTunes, Amazon, etc, and on his website