The family that plays together, stays together. The Cowsills, a rocking combo that comprises a father, mother, six boys and a girl, met the local deejays and press last night at a buffet reception in Belmont Mansion. MGM Records is bankrolling the $250,000, cross-country tour for the group in the secure belief that the domestic gimmick makes the combo a sure bet for everything from hit records to a TV series. At the core of the unit are four of the boys, who double as vocalists and instrumentalists: Bill, 19, at the electric organ; Bob, 18, guitar; Barry, who is 13 today, bass; and John, the uninhibited 11-year-old drummer. The youngsters all have stage presence, but most professional is the youthful-looking, miniskirted mother, Barbara. Her folk-style treatment of “The Rain, the Park and Other Things” provides the click single the tour is plugging.
The Cowsills are from Newport, R.I. and live in one of those big, old, hard-to-heat, Munster-like mansions. The act has been three years in the making most of which time was spent raising money for instruments. The kids are largely self-taught musically, but the family writes most of its material. In the first LP, 11 of the numbers are originals. Credit for organizing the act goes to the father, Bub, a retired Navy CPO. The two other sons, Dick and Paul, act as road managers and help the father set the stage and sound. Suzie, the Cowsills’ baby, is an 8-year-old go-go girl, tambourine thumper and chirper. The quartet of boys offers a variety of rock styles (from Detroit to San Francisco) with overpowering sound. Besides providing the novelty of having a mother front an outfit, Mrs. Cowsill supplies the woman’s softening touch. She has a clear vocal line and blends harmonically with her rampaging offspring. You’ll remember Mama.