MGM Records has shown their faith in the Cowsills by placing 250,000 dollars behind them and switching the green light on - no stops at all. The first phase was the extensive 32-city promotion tour the group set out for from their home in Newport, Rhode Island.
I was on the tour from the first to the last day. To say it was a gas would be an understatement - it was super-sensational. Mayor Shay of Newport officiated at the ceremonies where hundreds of Newport's well-wishers turned out to bid the family farewell. That was at Town Hall. After that, we all lost track of days, time and even the month.
At Boston's "Where It's At" club, where the first press reception was held, 450 people - members of the press, dj's and distributors - turned out to see and hear this phenomenal group they'd all heard so much about. They obviously weren't the least bit disappointed. A standing ovation greeted the end of the evening.
In Norfolk, Virginia, we had a bit of a scare at the hotel. We were at the Golden Triangle Hotel at about 3 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon when we all heard the fire alarm ringing furiously. Dashing out in the hall, we found the entire floor of occupants
hurriedly vacating the premises. We joined the rush only to find that little Susan was missing. "Find her," Barbara Cowsill shouted to us.
??? minutes later, we found Susan calmly watching fire engines from a lady's room. The woman had dashed out of her room, leaving the door open, so Susan wandered in to catch some of the action. By the time we found her, we all could have burned to death.
Every afternoon, regardless of where we were, the boys, Bill and Bobby, Barry and John, would rehearse. Sometimes Barbara and Susie would join, but most of the time, Susie would nap.
One thing which strikes you about this family: no matter what heights of success they reach or what good things come their way, they will never change, never. They will remain unassuming, perfectly natural and always their happy, friendly selves.
I remember a junior press reception I had set up in Atlanta, Georgia. All high school and college papers were interviewing them. Bill noticed that the reporters were being served only cokes and cookies. He came to me and asked why this was, when the regular press reception
that evening would feature all kinds of food and beverages. He felt that the kids were being cheated, and later made his feelings known to the manager of the hotel ballroom where the affair was held. All the Cowsills are like this - they feel for people - so deeply that one is surprised at times for their capacity for feeling.
Along the way, traveling by bus (we all called it "Old 91") we would make "junk" stops. These were stops made for food and sodas along the road at little out-of-the-way stands. The kids usually picked up potato chips, hot dogs and all kinds of junk - so we came upon this familiar term.
The Cowsills are lots of fun to be with - they love life, little children, dogs, cats, birds and all the groovy things. Any problems we encountered, were usually solved with gentleness rather than fights, understanding rather than demanding. This is what makes their lives so enjoyable. This is what makes others love them - their humanity - they're so very real.
Plans are in the works for the Cowsills to do a movie for MGM, have their own TV show, tour Europe and perform for the Queen of England. In spite of all this — and much more to come — "We're still just the Cowsills."*