Cowsill Transcripts

The Cowsills Interview
The Villages, Florida
October 1, 2011
Host: Dr. Bills Samht

Song: We Can Fly (by Lawrence Welk)

Song: Indian Lake

Dr. Bill: Good Morning. This is Dr. Bill. Thank you for tuning into Grow Radio, here on a beautiful fall morning in Gainsville, Florida. I have a real special treat for you guys today. (song starts playing) Let me get rid of that record. I think I turned off the wrong volume. OK Wow that was not a good start. OK you just heard "Indian Lake" by The Cowsills and you have a real special treat today. The Cowsills played in The Villages which is just south Gainsville. The biggest retirement community in the country where everybody drives around in their golf carts all day. And they played there Saturday night. They had some great shows down there actually, but I was the one who arranged the interview with them and I really appreciate it. Starting off our set was a song that the Cowsills wrote and it was a hit by Lawrence Welk so you heard Sandy and Sally doing it there on The Lawrence Welk Show, "We Can Fly". I'm going to start the interview right now and we'll be playing some songs inbetween. We recorded after their show in The Villages on Saturday night. We are talking Susan and Bob and Paul Cowsill. In the beginning here we're getting things set up and taking pictures and there's some banter going on in the background and I thought you all might enjoy that, so I'm going to pretty much go straight through the interview and I'm going to play some songs and then get back with you guys when we're done with that. We're going to be playing - since we usually do a theme song here on Dr. Bills Super Awesome Musical Happy Time - we're going to be doing a lot of songs, solos songs, some of Susan's work and some other rare cuts from The Cowsills and also some of the songs they covered in their show, that they did the other night. They got great harmonies and you can tell where they got their influences are coming from to. It was a really great time, so here we go. From October 1, at The Villages in Florida, Dr. Bill with The Cowsills. Thank you for listening to Podcasts are available of all of our shows afterwards. We really appreciate you guys listening.

Background chatter

Bob: OK We're waiting for one brother here.

Paul: No, we can get Mom and Dad in it and _____

Susan: Yeah


Bob: Because we want to come back to The Villages and people see this picture and they know ______. They'll say, "These guys are settled in. They know people who live there."

Paul: We're got connections

???: They got connections.

Bob: We should come back with our Christmas show.

???: There you go. That sounds great.

Bob: Some kind of Christmas show.

Susan: Now you know why ______


Bob: Gather around. Let's gather around right here. Stay right there. That's good.

Susan: I'm coming by Mom


Susan: Nice job Nanc


????: Go this way a little bit cuz the table is in it.

Bob: I'm feeling like that ... show What was that show?

????: Mary Tyler Moore

Bob: Mary Tyler Moore

????: That's better


????: Get rid of the parents


Dr. Bill: Nice meeting you Russ. Take care.

Dr. Bill: Uh oh Am I going to see that on youtube

Bob: Where ever you want to put it, we'll be glad to put it.

Dr. Bill: OK this is Oh wow. I didn't think I was going to have enough volume but it likes like we all talk loud.

Susan: Oh God yes we do.

Dr. Bill: OK this is the deal. I'm already recording so OK

Bob: Just go

Dr. Bill: This is Dr. Bill. This is my radio show here on It's Dr. Bill's Super Awesome Musical Party Time, Happy Hour

Bob: I love it

Dr. Bill: And I have a special treat that I told you guys about last week on my show. And I'm here with The Cowsills.

Bob and Susan: (whoops)

Dr. Bill: Bob and Paul and Susan

Bob: (singing) The Villages

Dr. Bill: My God, my volume is so loud.

Susan: Through the roof. The room is on fire.

Dr. Bill: OK first of all

Bob: Yes Sir Fire away.

Dr. Bill: You isn't real structured, so

Susan: Well that's good

Dr. Bill: I'm going to have to move the microphone. What do you all think of the Villages, first of all?

Paul: Love it.

Bob: Well other than there's too many sand traps, we love this place so much and I would live here in a heartbeat.

Paul: We want to come back.

Susan: We want to come back and I want my own golf cart and I would like it to be lime green and shocking pink.

Bob: Your own golf cart and they do golf carts here really good.

Dr. Bill: Very cool Well it's really good to see you guys and like I was telling them before, this is only my second radio interview in my life. The first one was the lead singer of Tool. The lead singer of Tool and he never said anything.

Cowsills: all chatter

Bob: Tool stuff

Susan: Tool stuff

Dr. Bill: Well what do you guys want to talk about?

Susan: I like Christmas so ....

Bob: We have a documentary coming out. We could tell you about. A movie. Alright, so where's what we did. Seven years ago we started filming a documentary on the family story. We took two years off because we needed intense psycho-therapy to continue what we had gotten into, because if you do a documentary it gets way deeper than you ever imagined. But it's done. It's in ... (Susan cheers) We got the Grand prize, the 1st Place People's Award at the Rhode Island

Paul: Best of Show

Bob: Best of Show at the Rhode Island Film Festival

Paul: Viewers choice award.

Bob: At the Rhode Island Film Festival. It's called A Family Band: The Cowsills Story. And look for it. We'll get distribution and it's the whole story of what happen and it's cool. We can talk about that. We love playing at The Villages. We tour now and it's kind of fun to get out, cuz who ever knew that Boomers were going to keep listening to music and going to concerts. We couldn't have predicted it.

Dr. Bill: You know there was a guy at your first show tonight who bought a Cowsills billboard on eBay for $10. A billboard from the '60s.

Bob: Oh the milk. I saw it. Milk, we're drinkin' milk

Dr. Bill: No this was a billboard. He didn't bring it. From like the road. He bought it.

Susan: Oh

Dr. Bill: Same guy with the milk thing

Bob: Yeah _____ the Candy Store and they can buy that stuff out there. We don't want any of the money.

Susan: giggle

Dr. Bill: Well I'm going to play some songs in my interview here.

Bob: OK

Dr. Bill: What do you guys think about the song "Thinking About The Other Side" from the first album.

Bob: (starts to sing it) Now that's young songwriters.

Dr. Bill: Yeah

Bob: "Got to know"

Dr. Bill: Yeah but that's a great song

Bob: When you get older you go "You just leave the grass on the other side where it is."

Susan: You all write that?

Bob: Yeah

Susan: (chuckles)

Bob: So you just leave the grass over there where it is. Don't go ... I love this.

Song; Thinking About The Other Side

Bob: Thank you

Dr. Bill: I got to ask you one question about the Lincoln Park Zoo album. What was the story on that? It was on a different record label.

Bob: Here's what it was. Because we were first signed with Mercury Records OK and we went into the studio with Artie Kornfield. We were assigned to him. He was our producer. And we were just kids. And we made a bunch of recordings for Mercury. "A Most Pecuilar Man" umm - about 2 or 3 releases. Then they released us from the label because nothing was a hit, but then you had hit records. That's when the label that released you realized, "Well let's monopolize on their hit records and we'll put what they did with our label out." and that they put with another group on their label - The Lincoln Park Zoo - put everything we recorded, made like it was a big deal even though they didn't like it at the time and they released it and we had one of those underground records from the early labels.

Dr. Bill: Well I'm going to play a song from that in a minute (chatter) I want to play "Most Of All"

Paul(??): I like that song

Bob: That was supposed to be our first hit. It was just before "The Rain, The Park, and Other Things

Dr. Bill: Really I like

???: It's got that Tony Hatch sort of

Dr. Bill: Brit pop

???: production. Like Petula Clark, The Searchers

Bob: Yeah we like that.

Dr. Bill: I like ..

Paul: (chatter can't understand) when we're Iing, I like I'm in the islands

Susan: Yeah

Paul: I feel like I'm just ____

Bob: But we did a session for that. We didn't play on that record. They had studio musicians but we were all in the booth. And back then Ricky Nelson had his show was Ozzie and Harriet and at the end they'd do their show, and the guitar player was James Burton. He became famous later.

Susan: He was on the "Most of All"?

Bob: He was on "Most Of All."

Susan: Shut Up

Bob: Am Am Amp da amp amp

Susan: No way. The guy from Ozzie and Harriet

Bob: Burton and we didn't know his name

Dr. Bill: On your record?

Bob: Yeah, he was on "Most of All" and from Ricky Nelson's band

Susan: Remember ____

Bob: I'm sittin' there going, "My God, that's Ricky Nelson's, Ricky Nelson's guitar player" We didn't know his name.

Susan: That's so cool.

Bob: We were 15 and 16-year olds and 10 and 8-year-olds.

Susan: That's exciting and I didn't know that, see

Bob: James Burton played on "Most Of All". He went on and played with Elvis later, and Rickey and because a famous guitar player.

Song: Most Of All

Dr. Bill: Captain Sad, of course that was a big hit. Was that a theme record?

Bob: Well, kind of, yeah.

Susan: Would you please tell us what that was about.

Bob: Well those were the days when we were trying to be hipper.

Susan: Were we?

Bob: We wrote the, just me and Bill, wrote the song Captain Sad and His Ship of Fools and uh ...

Susan: You guys wrote that song?

Bob: Yeah and so it was a character and I think MGM kind of came up with a concept of that album putting masks on and stuff. We didn't sit around, we didn't conceptualize our album covers.

Paul: No man, we weren't into that.

Bob: We just did what we were told. But they heard the concept within the writing and so they got it going.

Dr. Bill: We were just talking about that album. When I was a kid, I was scared of that album cover. I was like ..


Bob: I can see why. They are the seven deadly sins masks. That's what they were.


Susan: You and Bill wrote that song about what?

Bob: About this character, an old sea captain.

Susan: Really?

Bob: Yeah really No, Dad, that was "All I Really Want To Be Is Me." That was about Dad. You got some imagination, "But against me. Always trying to repair me. But you don't go, about it gently."

Susan: _______

Dr. Bill: What song should I play off that record?

Bob: "Who Can Teach A Songbird How To Sing" is a very good song.

Susan: With Graham Nash

Bob: With Graham Nash from The Hollies

Susan: _____ You can write that down ______

Bob: (starts singing)

Song: Who Can Teach A Songbird How To Sing

Susan: Look you can't put these things on the thing

Bob: But we're doing a radio interview here. It's very important.

Dr. Bill: I'm just trying to play some songs inbetween so I can have a two hour show.

Bob: OK go ahead, you can do it.

Dr. Bill: No it's cool. OK The Best Of The Cowsills. Of course that was the best album cover ever.

Bob: That guy, Jack Davis, was a famous cartoonist. He did Mad Magazine or something.

Susan: I don't like the way he depicted me.

Bob: Well I don't like the dimple in my chin. He made it look like a cave.

Susan: Well it is.

Bob: It's because it's a ka-rick-a-cha

Susan: A ka-rick-a-cha

Bob: It's a funny thing because MGM said, "We need an album. We need an album." They said, "We're going to put a Best of out"

Dr. Bill: Ka-rick-a-cha is embellished

Bob: I said, "What? We've only had four hits. What Best of - what's the rest of the Best of?"

Dr. Bill: They filled it in with all the album stuff.

Susan: ______ be in that.

Dr. Bill: We got to get finished talking about the records in a minute because I want to talk about what ya'll doing now, but of course The Cowsills In Concert which of course - is it really true that was the first live album to have one studio cut on it? I read that on the internet.

Susan: Yes it is. It is.

Bob: Oh it could be. We started it with the recording of "Hair" and broke into The Cowsills In Concert

Susan: And it was our only album that went Top 10.

Dr. Bill: Well I'm going to play "Mr. Postman"

Bob: Barry nailed it. I have to admit. Postman - Mr. Postman on that live album, he nailed it. Some of the other ones, we didn't quite nail, but we nailed Mr. Postman and they loved when he sang that song. He did a good job.

Susan: (singing) Oh wait (claps)

Dr. Bill: What were you doing on that? Clapping?

Susan: Oh no, I was just being annoying.

Song: Mr. Postman

Dr. Bill: ________ I played one of the songs of it on my show last week for those who were listening. "Silver Threads and Golden Needles" was just ____

Susan: On My Side On My Side

Bob: II x II On My Side

Dr. Bill: II x II yeah yeah. What do ya'll think about that record?

Paul: We love it man. We really love it.

Bob: Yeah it was sort of experimental at that time because we had lost Bill at that time. He wasn't in the band anymore. So, we were in the studio without Bill, but we got to play our own records and write our own songs. And sort of took it to take care of stuff for ourselves.

Susan: II x II and On My Side were amazing. On My Side that's my husband's favorite record.

Dr. Bill: On My Side see I listen to your music now. By the way I love the Continental Drifters. I'm hearing they now call it alt-country.

Susan: Correct

Dr. Bill: But back on On My Side I'm hearing a Country sort of .... "Down On The Farm"

Bob: It was done in LA country pop

Susan: And we were very into Crosby, Stills, and Nash. That's who had come out.

Bob: Neil Young

Susan: That's an amazing record. It is. On My Side rocks.

Bob: Thank you Susan

Dr. Bill: So what did you then - in-between On My Side and you sang some .....

Song: If You Can't Have It-Knock It

Dr. Bill: So what did you then - in-between On My Side and you sang some backup on some songs in the 70's

Susan: A lot of drugs and ... I'm just kidding. I knew you were going to edit. Bobby's going to edit it. It just seemed like fun to say.

Paul: I'll say it too. Drugs man

Susan: You know everybody had their separate lives. I was hanging out with Dwight Twilley.

Dr. Bill: Oh nice

Susan: Singing a lot of his background vocals and ...

Bob: Decade projects we called them

Susan: Yeah

Bob: So the '70s was with Chuck Polkin and the Cocaine Drain album. Never released. In the '80s she was with Dwight and all that.

Susan: Employed, but we always get back together

Bob: Then we did Global in the '90s and we'll do one in 2010

Susan: I think we're going to, actually we'll do a new record

Dr. Bill: Nice

Susan: Because we've been out of the studio for a long time.

Paul: The thing about it is when you ask that question, we sit here and go "Ah we ain't been doing nothing" or this and that, but we have always kept the music going, you know. And we have always played together and we didn't like tour because we had children. You know, I made a choice not to do it. Bob's kids were young behind mine. As they got older, then his kids were young, so we just couldn't do it.

Bob: You can't go to your wife and say, "Honey take care of the kids so I can go on tour for the summer." That's not going to fly

Paul: No, it ain't going to fly. No.

Bob: It can fly now.

Paul: So we did a lot of kid raising.

Dr. Bill: Sure

Paul: But always kept the music going

Dr. Bill: You talk about and play music together I can tell

Susan: yeah they

Bob: Well it is genetic to some degree there, Bill, as you know.

Dr. Bill: What do you remember about the Johnny Cash Show?

Susan: I remember this one very particular thing and during rehearsal, at one point they decided that I was going to be sitting on his lap, so in rehearsal he, he had hoisted me up and put me on his lap and I remember thinking at that second "This must be what it's like to sit on the Lincoln Monument." I did because he was, he lifted me up and "Boom" put me on his knees and it was way up high and he was sooooo sweet. And Bob has a ...

Bob: He's an icon. So we're on this show and we're going, "Oh my God it's Johnny Cash."

Susan: And then you get out invited back for a set ______

Bob: Yeah, my memory of the show is that after the show, after the taping, and Carl Perkins was out there with him. Wrote "Blue Swede Shoes" And he, they came up to me with this third person, Buffy St. Marie, who had this worbbly folk music sound to her voice "Rurrr rrr rrr" and said, "Hey we're going over to my house, do you want to come over and jam with me and Carl Perkins?" And I was like 19 and I'm going, first of all my Dad wasn't going to let me out of his site to go to Johnny Cash's house. So, I said no because I didn't want Dad to, I didn't want to say yes and then Dad say "Hey, he's not going anywhere." and I'd be embarrassed. But then I said no really because I was intimidated by Johnny Cash.

Susan: And you wish you had gone.

Bob: It was a regret. I wish I had said yes.


Bob: I haven't changed.

Paul: I have an interesting Johnny Cash story is that we did his show and we had a ball with them. June and him they were just so nice to us. And somebody along our road said "Oh wow you're really on a roll." And Johnny Cash goes, "Back at ya." My Dad I guess or somebody. But after our band disbanded you know in the '70s, I went on the road doing sound and I did Johnny's sound. Yeah, I'm standing there doing the sound and the guitar player comes up to me and goes,

Susan: What the hell

Paul: "What are you doing here?" I go, "I'm doing your sound man" He goes, "You are?" He goes "Hey Johnny. This guy is doing our sound." And Johnny comes over and he goes, " Cowsill, wow"

Susan: Ahhh that's great.

Bob: Yeah and then him and John went out. They went on the road as roadies for Three Dog Night and they were just famous themselves.

Susan: An illustrious past.


Paul: No, I was a famous road manager.

Bob: This get this roadie up here and sing "Indian Lake."

Dr. Bill: Well I'm going to play the song, one of the songs you did with Johnny on his TV show. The, the gospel song

Bob: I love it.

Susan: Oh yeah "Children, Go Where I Send Thee"

Bob: (singing) Go where I send thee, how do I send me, I send thee ....

Dr. Bill: I just have to mention your dancing, Susan, on "Monday, Monday" just blows me away. I, I heard ... do you still dance like that?

Susan: No

Russ: You're a great dancer. Man, you're a great dancer.

Bob: We call it bipping out. She bipped out all the time

Susan: _____ I'm not even looking at it

Dr. Bill: I think that you can feel the music. Feel the music

Susan: Excellent

Bob: You did good. Especially the .....

Song: Children Go Where I Send Thee

Dr. Bill: Did, I was reading online that ya'll did some back up for Harry Chapin

Bob, Susan, Paul: Yes

Dr. Bill: Now were you on the song Jenny, do you remember?

Paul: No

Susan: No, no. My brother John sang on Jenny.

Paul: And we did the Smithereens songs

Bob: The Smithereens

Paul: Now and Then

Susan: Now and Then

Bob: (singing) Jenny Jenny who can I turn to

Susan: John did Jenny

Dr. Bill: Now there's a song, I listened to the whole Chapin's ..... (other song names - unable to distinguish) yeah that was one of them.

Susan: I didn't know that. No, we did "Flowers Are Red"

Dr. Bill: "Flowers Are Red" OK

Bob: (singing) "Flowers are red, my love" and I played guitar.

Dr. Bill: Awesome. You all have really done a lot as far as that goes.

Susan: We have.

Dr. Bill: Oh what about your own TV special. Do you have any memories of that?

Susan: Yeeessss It was the coolest thing ever.

Bob: Painfully, painfully, Yeah because they put us in yellow pants and orange shirts and we were

Susan: Whatever It was really super fun and there were four hot chicks hanging around these guys 24/7

Bob: Yeah, but we couldn't do anything with them.

Dr. Bill: Do you remember Buddy Ebsen

Bob: Sure

Susan: Yes

Bob: He was Jed Clampett, man, come on.

Dr. Bill: He was from Orlando you know

Susan: He was so sweet although I don't think ... he and my Dad went out at night and drank.

Bob: He was super though.

Susan: He was awesome.

Bob: Jed Clampett was hosting our show

Susan: Cool, very cool.

Dr. Bill: Well now, let's see, I don't know how much longer we want to go, but I'm going to be a lot of songs, but I'm going to play, I'm going to play one song that Barry sang on, that I found on youtube. "Going Home"

Susan: Ahh yaaa We almost did that tonight.

Dr. Bill: That OK?

Bob: Sure

Susan: Sure, please do.

Dr. Bill: I'm going to play that

Susan: Please do

Dr. Bill: That just blew me away

Bob: Just so you know that's Barry Cowsill's song, "Going Home" It's one of his more recent songs before he died, that he had going on and it is really good.

Susan: Yeah we almost did it tonight actually

Bob: We were Here's "Going Home" Barry

Susan: "Going Home" Barry Cowsill rockin' it!!

Russ: The singing was incredible

Dr. Bill: Yeah the singing is incredible

Susan: Yeah man

Dr. Bill: Incredible Also ....

Susan: have to say that because he owes Barry

Paul: Oprah says frickin on her TV show

Song: Going Home

Dr. Bill: I just wanted to mention and I said this to Bob in the email I sent, I said "I'm just DJing for a, it's a volunteer radio station up in Gainsville. I love it because it's ... I don't have to get paid because all my friends who are in radio have been fired so

Susan: Right

Dr. Bill: and I have a job in radio. But the first record I ever got was "The Rain, The Park, and Other Things" single

Susan: Ahh

Dr. Bill: I believe and I have like 5,000 records now, so ya'll are the ones that started it all.

Susan: Yay !!

Dr. Bill: I play my records on my show obviously - all my records

Susan: Sweet

Dr. Bill: I try

Bob: You let them crackle and everything

Dr. Bill: Oh of course, but what I was wondering is, oh what I wanted to mention is just from my prospective and I'm about the same age as Susan, so growing up ...

Susan: You're a young man, aren't you?

Dr. Bill: I know I'm a young man, but in that era, you guys were just a big impact because you had all that rock going on. You know what I mean, and all that rock and Beatles and The Doors and all that kind of stuff - which I like - but it was like you guys and bubblegum music but you're not really bubblegum.

Bob: God Bless You my man I was going to take you to task on that

Dr. Bill: No, I know. No, but what I'm saying is that you, you just made a big impact on a lot of people.

Bob: When we came out, here's the deal. When we came out, Motown was huge, uh, acid rock was huge, uh, and we were just a little fresh air, I think.

Susan: We were fresh air.

Bob: No offense

Paul: We were like a bridge ..

Bob: Unoffenseive

Susan: That's true What Paul says.

Paul: We were a bridge for that time We were a bridge for that music scene.

Dr. Bill: I think I'm going to play, if you don't mind "You Got No Time"

Bob: Do it anyway. We don't mind.


Susan: Oh "You Got No Time" I love that song

Dr. Bill: The one you did live in the record store.

Susan: Yeah

Bob: With Peter Noone?

Dr. Bill: No it was just you three

Bob: No

Paul: (can't understand)

Bob: That was the same thing. He was the host I remember that. At the Beverly Center

Dr. Bill: Oh is that where it was?

Bob: Indeed I remember that.

Dr. Bill: I knew it was a shopping thing

Paul: Where are they now

Bob: Yeah yeah yeah We got to meet Peter Noone from Herman's Hermits.

Paul: That was the name of the show Where Are They Now

Dr. Bill: Where Are They Now

Bob: So you're going to play that? That's great. "You Got No Time" I like the vocals in that. Good vocals

Dr. Bill: Love that and at the very end ...

Bob: From Global that you can get online. At iTunes ...just go up and you can get

Dr. Bill: Global

Paul: Thank you so much

Susan: Thank you

Paul: We want to come back

Dr. Bill: We'll get you back, that's for sure. Oh Global

Bob: Well I'm just saying that song is from Global "You Got No Time" and can go up on CD Baby and iTunes and ... We're on the internet. Stop by our website and say hi. Leave a little note in the guestbook

Susan: "You Got No Time" I'm loving you in my life. Note leave a note.

Paul: I just want to say thank you very much for having us tonight and Bon Voyage, Arrivederci, and Sayonara

Bob: Arrivederci

Dr. Bill: Super This is Dr. Bill's Awesome Musical Happy Time on and with Susan and Paul and Bob Cowsill. They are so much fun. I can't wait till they come back.

Cowsills: (funny voices and singing)

Song: You Got No Time

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