The city of Newport, R.I., has a basic population divided into two types: the zillionaires and the navy guys. Bud Cowsill is basically a navy guy, having been a chief petty officer long enough to have been torpedoed while minding his own business in a boiler room. But he may be the first of the navy folk in Newport to join the millionaire class. Because Bud is the father of the Cowsills, the newest and the youngest and hottest of the rock groups.
When he retired, all Bud had to do was support a wife and six kids on a pension. But he did manage to rent one of the broken down old Newport mansions and, somehow, as every dedicated hobbyist can do, music buff Bud kept bringing home musical instruments. As things went their inexorable way, Bud sold the Newport furniture piece by piece. But in the meantime he was building his own family rock ‘n’ roll group. By last June the Cowsills were $100,000 in debt. The bank wanted the old mansion back. Bud kept making those audition records with five of the youngest kids – Sue is a fast 8 years old – and last summer he took a record to a New York manager named Len Stogel.
The record was “The Rain, the Park & Other Things.” It caused such a furor that an album titled “The Cowsills” was made right away. The single record has sold almost a million and a half and the album has gone over the million mark.
Just when everybody else knew that show biz had a hot new attraction, the bank decided to foreclose on the Newport house. Frantic phone calls and borrowed money saved the Cowsill manor. It shouldn’t take much more saving. There are now (on royalties) a Cowsills game, comic book, doll, toy music instruments, miniskirts and a line of men’s toiletries. Why the last, deponent knoweth not. The Cowsills are booked for all the big music festivals and the terms of their new record contract are a bit unbelievable. But, then, so is the story, even for show biz.