John Cowsill is only 11 years old, but as the percussionist for the Cowsills, he is destined for a stardom that only America can bestow That is not to say that he doesn't deserve it. When he, his mother, his 8-year-old sister and three of his brothers finished their concert at Town Hall yesterday afternoon, there were few in the audience who could honestly say they were not entertained. The problem is that the audience, shrunken by the weather, was made up largely of Mr. Cowsill's contemporaries.
There was a time when the median age of the 45 rpm record buyer was 16. Now that median age is approaching bottom, or at least a point where pop music is competing with box tops, comic books and Ideal toys: The Cowsills' contribution is not to music, but to show business, momism and the American family.
By that criterion, they're great As a matter of fact, they're irresistible.
There was 8-year-old Susie pinch-hitting on the bass guitar, belting out "To Sir With Love," and leading Gary Stevens, the WMCA , around by the hand while she sang "Sweet Talkin' Guy." There was brother Bill, 19, on the guitar and brother Bob, 18, on the organ. There was brother Barry, 13, on the bass and brother Dick, 18, working the lights and brother Paul, 15, acting as stage manager. Cowsill, introduced as Barbara, sang harmony.
But most of all there was , and you can bet your last "Good Guy" sweatshirt, your only "Superman" comic book ' and your one Monkee autograph that he'll become the Saturday afternoon matinee idol since Baby Leroy. Young John struts across the stage singing with all the charisma of a James Cagney playing George Pd. Cohan. He drums' with all the style of a Gene Krupa, but with half the reach. He has enough talent in the twirl of his drumstick to keep the pockets of an army of mohair-suited managers jingling at least until his voice changes, and even yesterday there were signs that that may be soon.
The Cowsills used to play free guest sets in New York discotheques and unpaid concerts on the Central Park Mall. Papa Cowsill - he's called Bud in the group's press releases - nearly lost the family's 22-room mansion in Newport, R.I. financing his children's ambitions.
(Note: I'm not sure if this is the end of this article or not.)