Whoever heard of a rock group going full-tilt into the music business and calling themselves the Cowsills? It's ridiculous, unless, of course, your name happens to be Cowsill.
The Cowsills, it happens, are a family , and they are quite a group of entertainers. They come from Rhode Island, where the nine of them live in a 22-room house which looks like an abandoned set for a Frankenstein movie.
Right now, they are traveling around the country in a bus, promoting their first single for MGM, "The Rain, The Park and Other Things" and an album, "The Cowsills."
BASICALLY, their music has a British rock sound.
Bill leads the vocals and plays rhythm guitar. Bob, 18, doubles on lead guitar and organ.
Barry, 13, playing a sawed-off bass, is the personality of the group. He struts, smiles, shakes, his head ó a natural.
On drums, there's 10-year-old John. And he's not just sitting there, either. There is a lot to learnógrantedóbut John has what certainly is a family trait, a ton of confidence.
He plays a simple rock beat with an occasional shotgun roll driving the group on with steady rhythm.
There are others in that bus, though: Mom and dadóBarbara, 40, and Bud, 44; twin 17-year-old sons, Dick and Paul who handle the mountain of electrical equipment, act as stage managers; and Susan, who, Bill says, "has been with the act for only four weeks but has been with the family for eight years."
She sings one song, the only one she knows, and her brothers kid her about running for Congress in about 30 years.
A combination tutoróregistered nurse and a promotion man from MGM string along, too. Never quite sure what is going to happen next in the Cowsill world.
BUD who retired a few years ago after a 20-year career in the Navy, is the coordinator and business manager . Barbara, with a teen-ager's figure, occasionally joins the boys on stage. She also sang on their first single.
She has a beautiful clear voice and handles the poignant folk things as well as she handles the kids.
"It's great," Bill said "because we're all doing something together. I don't think any family has more interests in common.
"And our folks . . . well, they're hip. They're not trying to act young or anything like that, but they know what's happening and they think young."
Performing ability is only part of the Cowsill talent. The boys have teamed up to write more than 100 tunes. Seven of them, including the hit single, are on the LP.
Now, the Cowsills feel they are going places. They don't know exactly where or how, but they're having fun doing it.