Even the normal rush and chaos of the new year is like a monastery retreat compared to an interview with the Cowsills, one of the more recent singing groups to strike suddenly with a hit album.
Their record, “The Rain, The park, and Other Things,” was number one “on the charts.” And is still in the top ten, and their album, “The Cowsills,” is I the top twenty. They have made two appearances on the “Ed Sullivan Show” and they have been signed for several more.
It is a family operation, the Cowsills, four boys, a mother and a daughter, who make up the performers, and a father and two other sons, who work behind the scenes. Bill, 19; Bob, 18; Barry, 13; and John, 11 are the nucleus of the singing group; Mrs. Barbara Cowsill and Susan, 8, tune in on cue. Bud Cowsill, the father, a former enlisted man in the Navy, who retired three years ago, is the general manager, Dick 18, Bill’s twin, and Paul, 16, are road managers.
Now about the interview.
It was a happening. It took place in a small room in the offices of the Cowsills’s agent-manager, Lenny Stogel.
Ideally, two or three people participate in an interview. Four is a crowd. For this, all the Cowsills were present, except the father.
Stogel and his wife were also present. A couple of press agents were there. Two or three girls, associated with Stogel’s office, came and went. It could be described in a word – bedlam. Above the din and the babble the teasing and the children’s jokes, a few basic facts about the Cowsills trickled through.
Mr. and Mrs. Cowsill try to raise their children with love and understanding, but with a firm hand.
Mr. and Mrs. Cowsill are both from Cranston, R.I. He joined the Navy when he was 17, and they were married two years later.
The Cowsill kids are all self-trained musicians, who developed their own natural talent.
Barry was the original drummer until John took over. Now Barry plays the bass guitar and sings. Bill and Bob do all the musical arrangements.
Mrs. Cowsill joined the singing group because she wanted a good reason to travel with the family.
The Cowsill’s home is a 22-room mansion in Newport, a white elephant nobody else wanted. It is still sparsely furnished and in terrible disrepair, but they are about to set out to restore it.
“There is a couch and two chairs and a television set in the living room,” said Mrs. Cowsill. “That’s it. There’s a pool table in the dining room and a 1917 gas range in the kitchen. Whatever money we could get our hands on went into stereo, instruments, all that stuff.
“The first things I’m going to do is put in a real kitchen. Then I start on the living room. I’ve been dreaming of doing that living room since I first laid eyes on it.”