Contrary to belief, former child superstar Billy Cowsill of Cowsill Family fame will talk about the past. But why bother? It would be a waste of time talking about the records he made 35 years ago, when he has one that was released a few weeks ago and is flying off the shelves.
The Co-Dependents’ Live Recording Event is just as the name states. Cowsill, along with Calgary music biz stalwarts Tim Leacock, Ross Watson and Steve Pineo, make up the band. The brisk sales are a testimony to the group’s popularity live.
"We tried to just capture the gig – it was three days of fun in a deluxe ’50s truck stop, and cost about a dollar to record. We chose [the Mecca Café] because it just so happens that the ambience of the place was conducive to our sound. We are not loud, we rely heavily on the singing and performances. It has these lacquered walls, cement, wood floors – it would make a wonderful recording studio," Cowsill enthuses. "Also, [producer/engineer] Miles Wilkinson from Nashville was instrumental in getting those sounds and making it authentic."
This authenticity is also due in no small part to Cowsill who is, in fact, the real deal. A pure rock and roll singer, in line with the greats-from the King himself on down. Cowsill’s packed what could have been several careers into one thus far, from his first foray with his family band (after which the Partridge Family was fashioned), to Vancouver’s Train Wreck with Lindsey Mitchell, Elmar Spanier and Chris Nordquist, to Blue Northern, to the infamous Blue Shadows.
Cowsill has said he feels the Blue Shadows was the best band he was ever in, but how could it work with three vegetarians and a junkie? Now, Cowsill wasn’t the one eating tofu but on stage he and co-singer Jeffery Hatcher were like Don and Phil or Bill and Bobby.
The music industry almost lost one of its MVP’s when Cowsill went on sabbatical after a bad back caused him to collapse on stage.
"No, I had retired, that was it, I had to shut down. Stone cold sober, I fell on stage and said that’s it…I was embarrassed, and I certainly was NOT going to sit down to play rock and roll…"
Almost half-way through a psychology degree, (which he found therapeutic because it helped him unravel himself) Cowsill had successful back surgery and is back on top of his game. Lucky for us.
The Co-Dependents are part of a triple bill this Friday at Festival Place that will begin with The Steve Pineo Band, with drummer Ross Watson, Kit Johnson on bass and Tim Leacock on guitar. After that set, singer Jane Hawley comes out to fiddle around and it’s Beautiful Joe; then Cowsill and The Co-Dependents close the show.
With this much talent on hand, it promises to be an extraordinary night – Friday, Mar 22 at 7:30 pm. at Festival Place in Sherwood Park. Tickets are $18 Cabaret, $16.50 Adult, and $15 Children/Seniors. Call the Festival Place Box Office at 449-FEST (3378) or TicketMaster to order tickets.
Post-show, the players will be heading to catch the last set of local guitar ace Mark Sterling, who is playing a solo show at the Sugarbowl (10922 — 88 Ave.) Doors for that show are at 9 p.m., show at 10 p.m.; tickets are $10 at the door. Call 433—8369 for more info.