“We’re raising a family, that’s all,” said William (Bud) Cowsill, father of seven. “And this is a good way to do it.”
For the singing Cowsills, it is a good way. It’s a bit unusual but for them, it’s fun, it’s exciting, it’s lucrative and it keeps the family together. It means trips to Europe, U.S. tours, weekend concert dates, television appearances, record cuttings, photo sessions, interviews – and homework.
The Cowsills, the pop music group, include father Bud, mother Barbara, Bill, 20, Bob and Dick, 18-year-old twins, Paul, 16, Barry, 13, John, 12, and 8-year-old Sue. With the temporary exception of Dick, who is in the Army, the family works together and plays together.
They play a variety of guitars, drums and organs and they all sing, except for the father. “I can’t even hum,” he grinned. The group has won popularity singing songs as old as “Louise” and “Diane” and as new as their own “We Can Fly.”
“Our new life is an education in itself,” said Mrs. Cowsill, “after 20 years of being a housewife and mother – wow, what a change.”
The family became a music group after Cowsill’s retirement from the Navy five years ago.
“The kids have always been very close to music and one day a neighbor, one of these knowledgeable guys, said ‘Why don’t you do something with all this talent?’ So I did,” said Cowsill.
“Mom – she’s the novice – and Sue joined us six months ago,” said Bill.
“Yes, they wanted to come along so we told them, ‘You get in this boat, kiddos, you row’,” Cowsill added.
When The Cowsills aren’t traveling, they live in a 24-room home in Newport, R.I., and two apartments on New York’s Eighth Ave.
“But two aren’t big enough for us,” said Mrs. Cowsill. “We’re waiting for a third.”
None of the Cowsills has ever had a music lesson nor can they read music although they can create their own. And the elder Cowsills are at a loss to explain their children’s talent.
“It was just there, I guess,” Cowsill said.