Cowsill Transcripts

WWL Radio Show
New Orleans, Louisiana
Susan Interview
June 7, 2019
Host: Scoot

Song: The Rain, The Park and Other Things.

Scoot: That is The Cowsills and one of their biggest hits from I guess the late Ď60s. I remember that song well. And letís go to the flower girl herself, Susan Cowsill, who was part of that. She is even to this day a hippie. Susan welcome to the show.

Susan: Hi Scoot how are you honey?

Scoot: Iím great. Itís always great to talk to you. So tonight is the beginning of the Happy Together Tour. You guys were a part of it last year. You and your brothers, The Cowsills were the family that inspired The Partridge Family. And youíre going to be there tonight and youíre going to do a couple of your hits. And itís going to be a night of, you know sort of fairly memorable bands from the past.

Susan: It is and it always is that night on the Happy Together Tour dude. And weíre excited. Itís always fun to be up the road from all my friends and hoping yíall come out. I know what itís like though trying to get out of town and traffic time. But weíre excited. We got Mr. Negron ready to roll. And this year we have the Classic IV out here with us Ė or two of the guys from Ė which is Spooky

Scoot: Stormy, Something of Trace of Love

Susan: Traces of Love

Scoot: Traces of Love Ė that was it. I didnít kill all my brain cells.

Susan: Right Scoot Tonight is a casino show so Iím always sad when Iím local because everybody has a shorter show do to the Ö you know they want everyone to come out and enjoy their casino which is perfectly great. So itís a good thing we only have three or four hit songs is what Iím saying.

Scoot: And so itís going to be The Turtles. It will be The Buckinghams.

Susan: Oh yeah, great songs there. ďSusanĒ thatís my favorite.

Scoot: The Buckinghams has a whole bunch of Ö. Iím going to do Kind Of A Drag coming up next hour, but The Buckinghams had a lot of big hits back there in the Ď60s.

Susan: They did. They only get to play a couple a night and when we also have Ron Dante who was the Archies. Heís the man who sang Sugar, Sugar Ö Bang, Shang-a-lang, etc. And also Chuck Negron who we call ďThe ChiefĒ

Scoot: Why do you call Chuck Negron ďThe ChiefĒ on the tour?

Susan: I kind of gave him his nickname because he is The Chief. That guy Ė youíve read his book Scoot Ė you know where heís been and for him to be coming up on his 77 birthday. And for him to do the things he must do physically. I know I shared with you that he has COPD and a lot of things that would keep a weaker man down and this guy gets in and out of his bunk. Heís got Ö heís a trip. ____ of a man and Iíll tell you what, heís just a sweet, sweetheart of a guy. We fortunately get him on our bus. The crew bus. So we get The Chief with us.

Scoot: Well weíre going to talk to you coming up in the next hour. But this guy, he was really just part of that whole world of sex, drugs and rock and roll. I mean he was it.

Susan: Yup, yup. Donít you think right there gives him the name The Chief.

Scoot: Now if youíre on the bus with him, does he show any signs of that past? Chuck Negron?

Susan: Oh heck no. We all sit around and laugh about the old days. You know we were all caught up in it. I Ö just because he made a name for himself, itís like Ö. ____ James ___ a lot of gunslingers that we never heard of. Thatís right. Iím sure they were shooting just as good as he was, Iím sure. So we do. We remanence about it. We are glad to be alive and well and sad there are those who didnít make it out.

Scoot: So, tonight is the first night of the Happy Together Tour. Youíre starting at the IP Casino in Biloxi tonight. So here you are a few hours away from showtime. It starts at 8 oíclock. So what are you doing right now? I mean I know you and I know you donít spend a lot of time on make-up.

Susan: (Laughs) No, I donít. But I have been spending a lot of time you know we get these beautiful buses, just like on TV, and I canít crawl into a dark, dank coffin of a bed, so I decorate. I and Chuck girlfriend Amy, his manager and everything, we decorate our bunks. And mine looks like it could be out of the New York Museum of Natural History. Amy has a Hello Kitty type of vibe in her bunk. And the rest of it I call the cadaver van. You can look down the galley of the bus at any time Scoot at any point of the night and see arms and legs hanging out of the berths. Itís rather disturbing.

Scoot: Does anybody snore?

Susan: Yeah, I wonít reveal who the snorers are.

Scoot. There are snorers. That can be kind of rough, in the middle of the night and theyíre snoring away. Like ĎShut the heck up.í

Susan: Hereís the bottom line, Scoot. I have insomnia so I know everybodyís schedule, if you will. I get up at night. What they get up and do. Chuck is a little bit of a cookie monster. I try to keep that as under control as possible. My brother Bob is a liquorice stealer. People come out. I know whatís going on on this bus is all Iím saying.

Scoot: So you got a lot of munchies on the bus?

Susan: Oh Lord yes. We are big Ö snack bowls is what we call the trough.

Scoot: Now do you guys do stuff that would make you want to have the munchies?

Susan: Well actually Scoot those things cannot be divulged over your radio station, but I will see you later and weíll chat about that.

Scoot: Good answer, good answer.

Susan: Yeah, thank you, thank you and I havenít been up long. Thanks pal

Scoot: Susan, very quickly, as a musician, what are your thoughts on Dr. Johnís passing?

Susan: Well I donít have a lot of musical thoughts about it, but I am as sad as I can be because he is our city. He represents us and just losing another one is like Alan, when we lost Mr. Toussaint. Itís that Ö I have grown Ö I have been here 27 years now. This is my town and they are our people. So, musically Ö obviously the musically all over our city and the hearts of the young, not that not so young, John grows the guy of John Porter Jr. These gentlemen who have been playing with Mac all their lives since they were kids, they are taking over. They are Ö itís a moment, a moment in our city and it makes me sad, Scoot.

Scoot: Well have a great show tonight. Iíll be looking forward to seeing you later. Weíll do a Facebook video after the show and weíll find anyone else who wants to talk with us. There was an interesting story behind the song ďHairĒ that you guys did. This was a cover of the title track from the rock musical Hair. And The Cowsills were such a goody-goody, clean-cut rock band back then that it was controversial for you guys to do Hair.

Susan: It really was and if you ever review Ö there was a video made from the TV show, Iíll tell the story, Carl Reiner, Robís dad, was a pretty famous comedy writer and comedian himself and he put together a wonderful TV show in 1969 called The Wonderful World of Pizzazz And it was a TV show about culture, pop culture that we were all living in at the time, from music, art, fashion etc. And so he thought it would be a hoot to show the fashion and the hippie hair through, as you said, the goody-goody two shoes Cowsills. So he invited us on to do a recording of the song from the play, the very popular play at the time and to don some hippie costumes and some wigs and that was the beginning of the . . . It was the beginning of the end, but not for the reasons you think. MGM did not want to release that as a single and my brothers were really proud of that recording. And somehow or another it got out and that became our last and I think one of our biggest hits, Iím not sure though. It was wonderful. The irony wasnít lost on us and an image is an image and the people are the people and quite honestly we related more socially and mentally to the more hipper movement that was going on than to what we were identified to publically and ________

Scoot: The Cowsills will play this tonight?

Susan: Oh yes baby

Scoot: Alright sweetie. Iím going to talk to you later. Have a great show and Iíll see you after the show.

Susan: OK Bye darling. Say hi to The Chief for me. Byeeeeee

Scoot: Susan Cowsill of the Cowsills and this was their biggest hit. And this was controversial because it was from the rock musical Hair which allowed people totally nude on stage. Yeah that was crazy. Iím Scoot. Hang on. Weíll be back

Song: Hair

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