Cowsills? 'We're a Family Having Fun'
by Cathy Henkel - Young Ideas Editor
June 18, 1969
When you think of the Cowsills, what comes to mind?
Perhaps you think of a family or maybe the mllk commercialsls. And depending on what side of the music you're on, you either lov 'em or leave 'em.
The Cowsills were in Wichita Friday for a concert in Century II. They drew a small crowd 1,100 — but it didn't seem to hinder their show.
Before the concert, they had a rehearsal. It wasn't the regular sort of rehearsal bands go through - it was more like a family having a little fun.
THEY ALL CARRIED their own equipment on stage and began setting up. All the family was there except Mom — she hadn't been feeling well.
The Cowsills (yes, that is their real last name) consist of Bob, 19, guitar; Susan, 10, singer; John, 13, drummer; Barry, 14, bass guitar; and Paul, 17, on organ. But let's not forget Dad.
"The reason he's not in the group is because he can't sing a note," Bob explained. "So he acts as our manager."
"I'm really just their daddy," said "Bud" Cowsill. "We're kind of a gypsy family. If we weren't doing this we'd probably be in a carnival or something."
THERE ARE three other members of the family who are not in the musical act. Dick, who is Bob's twin brother, is serving in Vietnam and Bill, 21, has married and gone out on his own.
Bob Cowsill, 19, on guitar
"People take us too seriously."
Mom sang with group too
Barbara Cowsill in concert.
Susie stole the show
Ten-year-old loves music.
The third member of the family is the pet poodle, Suba - "Su" for Susan and "Ba" for the mother, Barbara.
"Mother gave the dog to Susan but she wanted Mom to part ownership," said Bob. "So she gave it that name."
Suba has made occasional appearances with the Cowsills, Bob explained. Whenever she manages to get loose, Suba, takes the stage, sits down and listens to the music.
WHAT'S IT like having your mother in the group?
"On stage, she's a business associate," said Bob. "Off' stage she's our mother. But both our parents are working with our thing — they're down on our level."
The Cowsills recently earned their second gold record, "Hair," which was broken nationwide by a local music director at KLEO, E. Alvin Davis.
There was quite a bit of controversy about the single, as many radio stations didn't want to play it.
"I couldn't understand it," Bob said. "It was something about us being anti-establishment. Even the people at MGM didn't like it when we first did it. But we liked it and went ahead and recorded it. Thanks to people like Mr. Davis, the record turned to gold."
PEOPLE TAKE US too seriously," Bob continued; "We're just a family having a good time."
Bob also says he's glad they did "Hair" as it gave them more variety.
"No group can continue in one bag," he said. "It gave us another road to follow."
At the performance that night, it was Susie who stole the show. The earlier band, Sweetwater, dedicated their part to "little Susie Cowsill 'cause she's an out-of-sight chick."
When you ask Susie if she likes performing, she gives you a wide grin and you already know the answer.
"I LOVE IT," she said.
One might think that stardom has hindered the Cowsills. But you watch them awhile, and it's obvious that they're just a family having the time of their lives — together.
"The only one of us it has changed is Suba," Bob said. "He's getting very stuck up, you knows"
The Cowsills have just their latest single, "Prophesy of Daniel and John the Divine" Bob proclaims it "the best thing we've done yet," and all hope to bag another gold record.
And with their current success, it looks like they have a pretty good chance.