There is no show business family organized quite like The Cowsills. Come to think of it, there isn't a family quite like The Cowsills. Six brothers, a kid sister, a "mini" Mommy, and the coordinating father, Bud, make up the family group.
Bill, 19; Bob, 18;, Barry, 13; John, 11, form the nucleus of the singing Cowsills. They are from time to time helped by mother Barbara Cowsill and nine-year-old Susan who doesn't mind being teased by her all-brother family.
Two brothers, Dick and Paul, are the road managers. They chose not to perform in order to be able to keep everything in order on the personal appearance tours.
The whole family likes to talk about their house which sounds like something out of The Munsters. "We have seven bathrooms and one shower," Bob told us. "The water pressure isn't so great. The best time to take a shower is around 3 o'clock in the morning. For the last three years all the money we could scrape together has gone for instruments and equipment and I'm afraid we've let the house go.
"Ivy is growing all over the house (in Newport, R.I.) and the windows are broken screens are hanging and the grass has grown to a height of three feet. There's a captain's walk on the top of the house and that's where Mom hides when things get too noisy downstairs, which is most of the time."
John, at age 11, has known a good bit of sadness. In his room in the house stands an empty monkey case. "I save my allowance to buy Clyde," he told us. "I waited so long for him to come and then the next day after I go him, I woke up in the morning and there he was lying in the bottom of the cage, frozen."
"That came when times were very rough for us," Bill explained. "We were close to losing everything. We had no money, the phones had been disconnected and there wasn't any oil for the furnace. Bob and I chopped up our dressers for firewood and we all huddled around the fireplace to keep warm."
The Cowsills came to New York and ran into producer-writer Artie Kornfeld, who introduced them to talent manager Lenny Stogel who introduced them to MGM records. "The Cowsills" their first album, quickly followed as did an extensive personal appearance tour though the United States. A second album is already in the works and requests for television appearances are rolling in.
Bill is really the leader of the performing clan. Ironically enough, he barely got passing grades in his music courses at Rhode Island College. His strong point is writing and he writes all his own lyrics.
Bob radiates a natural warmth which wins people over in a matter of moments. With all his humor and crazy antics, he's an A and B student and spends hours reading.
He's a natural
Barry is a natural entertainer. When he laughs his freckles laugh right along with him. He was the drummer for the group until his younger brother took over and he now plays a mean bass guitar. He's an honor student and says, "I'm the only one that can tease the rest of the guys and get away with it."
Drummer boy John's favorite colors are "all the colors in the world." He's also loaded with freckles, loves basketball and his view of life is a simple one. "I'm happy and I just want to be me." More than anything he wants a motorcycle and he want to learn to fly.
The old weather-beaten house in Rhode Island doesn't see as much of The Cowsills as it used to. But, the success the entire family has worked for can insure it will be repaired and kept warm.
Perhaps, though, it won't be as much fun for the old house as it used to be.