The Cowsills In Magazines

On Tour with the Cowsills!
July 1968
Hullabaloo Magazine

I have worked with many top groups in my life as a press agent, but until I met the Cowsills, I didn't really know what a joy public relations work could be!

First of all, they treat you like you're their long lost buddy. Immediately, you become one of the family. While on tour with them, I was being registered as Janis Cowsill. And the funny part about it was that I came to feel like a Cowsill.

I met the Cowsills for the first time in June of 1967. I walked into a room and was hit right in the face with the feeling of being in the midst of mass humanity. There were Barry and John and Susan — then, there were Bill and Bob and his twin, Dick, and, of course, dear, dear Paul. They were screaming and yelling and hitting one another, and the older guys — Bill, Bob and Dick — were sitting there trying to look real cool and not quite making it!

While on tour, the Cowsills always manage to find time to take in the sights and meet with their many fans. "Old 91,"their family bus, takes them from town to town, from gig to gig. Remember — the family that moves together grooves together!


The wild and wonderful inside story of the Cowsills as told by their ace publicist Janis Murray!

Well, I was supposed to interview them for their biography. And, let me tell you, I still feel that, for getting through that session without committing murder, I deserve the Medal of Honor! I would ask Barry what his favorite color was, and he would say, "Blue." "No, no, no!" John would scream at the top of his little lungs. "His favorite color is yellow and he knows it — he's lying to you, lying, lying, lying!" "John Patrick Cowsill, shut up," Barbara Cowsill, the petite mother of the clan, would interject calmly. "Don't let them rattle you, Janis. Just belt them one." Well, of course, I couldn't do that — not that I didn't want to! Finally, with goodness knows what inspiration, I did get through that interview — tired, bedraggled, ready to take a slow boat to China to recuperate — but I loved those kids!

The next encounter was their first photo session. They showed up—

seven shining, eager faces all ready to commit who knows what horrendous crimes. Bud, the clan father, and Barbara Cowsill were along, too. We went to various locations around New York City and, last of all, we hit the Central Park boat basin. Of course, the whole family wanted to climb to the top of this jutting piece of wood in the water near the dock. So, there I stood, watching the beginning of what I was certain would be impending death for all of them and wondering what their manager, Lenny Stogel, would do to me when he heard the news. They didn't fall and they had a lot of fun, and I was even beginning to enjoy myself when, all of a sudden, sirens started screaming and police were surrounding us with cars, motorcycles, and horses. In all the confusion, I gathered I was under arrest and so were the Cowsills. Charming!

After an hour and a half of fast explaining, we were released with a light sentence, a $20 fine, and a warning that, next time, we might all kill ourselves!

Smile . . . they've got their love to keep them warm.

Page 2

In September of 1967, the Cowsills went on their first major U.S. tour for MGM Records. "The Rain, The Park and Other Things" had just been released, and MGM was putting $150,000 behind this group. They expected and demanded big things. On September 11 at 11 A.M., "Old 91," as we came to affectionately call the old bus which took us from city to city, left Rhode Island, and on board were nine Cowsills and one Janis Murray.

My job was to obtain as much press coverage as possible during the 35-city tour. But my job somehow extended itself to some of the more human aspects of person-to-person relationships. For instance, in Minneapolis, I took Susan shopping and bought clothes for her dolly. After we left the store, Susan burst out crying as if she'd lost her last friend. Finally, she told me that I shouldn't have bought the clothes for MaryBeth (that's the doll) because her father didn't want her to be spoiled. Well, her opinion was that we would both be killed upon our return to the hotel. I really looked forward to that! We went to Bud Cowsills' room as if we were walking the last mile and stood waiting while he looked at the clothes. Sue tearfully explained to him that "Janis just insisted. Honest, Dad, I didn't ask for them." Finally, he smiled and nodded. Let me tell you, that smile was like a ray of sunshine! I had been ready to pack up and head for New York on the next plane according to the fate Sue predicted.

In the next few weeks, I came to know and love Bud Cowsill as his family did. He is one of the dearest people in the world — stern but fair, hard but loving, and always ready to lend an understanding ear.

Then, in Norfolk, Virginia, we had a fire in our hotel. It was one of those inconvenient times when you've just fallen asleep. Fire engines clanged and people screamed. We all seemed to meet in the hall in our robes and slippers — and then I noticed that Barry was missing! In fear of my very own life, I chased around that hotel like a madwoman, looking and calling for Barry. Of course, I was sure I would be a martyr in the end, maybe rescue Barry and then fall dead from smoke inhalation or something like that! I found Barry in this little old lady's room. The old lady and Barry were calmly having a cup of tea together and watching all of the action from the hotel window. I grabbed him almost by his hair and dragged him out of the room. Then, we heard the news — it was a false alarm. Away went my dreams of being a heroine. But, at least, we were safe.

How am I doing?

In California one evening, after the biggest press party of the tour (850 people in the California Room of the Century Plaza Hotel gave them a standing ovation that lasted for minutes), everyone was tired and happy, so we all went out and celebrated. Most of us staggered home so tired that we barely could get into bed at about 3 A.M. I had just gotten to sleep when my phone rang. It was Bill. "Bride of Frankenstein is on Channel,4," he said enthusiastically. "I'll be right down, and we'll watch it together." By the time I realized that I just wanted to sleep and didn't give two dangs about Frankenstein's bride, he was pounding at the door. So, like a complete fool, I sat and watched not only that one but the next one, Scalphunters of Zambudi! At least, Bill was happy. And, during intermissions, we talked all about life and goals and things that were really important to both of us. Bill wants to be an English teacher. I think he'd be a fantastic teacher. He possesses great intelligence, perception, and depth of feeling for other people.

So, these are just a few of the funny, wonderful things that have happened to me as the Cowsills' press agent. I expected it to be just another challenge and just another group, and it turned out to be so much more than that.

The Cowsill clan carefully evaluates each performance. Perfection is their goal. They feel their fans deserve the very best.


It was a challenge but one that gave me so much happiness and satisfaction. I helped a great, wonderful family — and that'sa good feeling.

The Cowsills have been to Europe, have done almost every major TV show, are going to do their own weekly TV series very soon (and a movie) — but they haven't changed at all! And maybe one day soon, I'll be able to tell you all about the things that are to come.


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