‘60s Teen Idol Making an ‘80s Return Engagement
He is a former teen idol who topped the charts with hits in the 1960s.
Now he performs each weekend at a pub in Woodland Hills.
“I like it,” said Bob Cowsill, referring to his appearances at Pickwick’s Pub. “I get up there, play a bunch of Beatles songs and other oldies, and the crowd really gets into it. They sing along. And I occasionally sneak in my own material.”
Cowsill and his band of brothers, mother and sister recorded--as the Cowsills--Top 10 hits from 1967 to 1970: “Hair,” “The Rain, the Park and Other Things” and “Indian Lake.” The band broke up in 1978.
For years, Cowsill said, promoters have tried to persuade his family to get back together to do a reunion tour. At first, because of personal reasons, the Cowsills couldn’t find the time. Plus Cowsill, 40, has been reluctant to follow the trail of other nostalgia acts. “I didn’t want us to be a Vegas rendition.”
But times have changed. He says now that he would feel comfortable touring with family members--all still perform except for his mother Barbara, who died in 1985--and that he is reviewing proposals to do just that.
“As I’ve gotten older, I realize that I wouldn’t be merely going down memory lane,” Cowsill said. “This was excellent music back then, and it would be now. And we wouldn’t just do oldies. We’d say things that are relevant now.”
Toward that goal, Cowsill said he has written two songs, “Christmas Time” and “Some Good Years,” which he hopes to release next year. So far, he said, record executives have praised his work, but none have been willing to sign him to a recording contract. “They say it’s the right song but the wrong label. It’s very frustrating.”
At Pickwick’s, Cowsill also plays themes from such popular television shows as “Gilligan’s Island” and “Rawhide.” Joining him occasionally on vocals are his sister, former band member Susan Cowsill, and singer-guitarist Lewis Lustman. The weekend performances begin at 9 p.m. and cost $2.
COUNTRY: Ronnie Mack, host of KCSN’s weekly Barn Dance concert, is trying to take his country music show to television.
Last month, Mack, with the help of Direct Performance Video of Woodland Hills, taped one of the Tuesday evening shows as a pilot to send to local television and independent cable stations. He is editing the show, which featured country singer Rosie Flores and blues saxophonist Big Jay McNeely. He expects to distribute the tape later this month.
“I want to help expose the Southern California talent and prove there’s great country music outside of Nashville,” said Mack, who started Barn Dance in January, 1988. “There are a lot of kids interested in this music. They’re not just into Motley Crue.”
Mack said he hopes that the show, if picked up, would resemble “Town Hall Party” and “Cliffie Stone’s Hometown Jamboree,” two television shows from the 1950s that featured both national and local country music talent.
So far, he said, nobody has shown serious interest in the project. The show will also include interviews conducted by Mack with each night’s artists.
BLUES TRIBUTE: A tribute to Pee Wee Crayton, a blues guitarist who died in 1985, will be held Oct. 7 at the Music Machine.
Crayton, who recorded numerous hits--"Blues After Hours,” “Seventh Street Boogie"--in the 1940s, served as an inspiration to many blues musicians. He performed frequently in Los Angeles.
“He was a teacher, someone we could all study,” said Bernie Pearl, a local blues guitarist who is planning the show.
Pearl said the tribute, which will include performances by Blasters guitarist Phil Alvin and jazz guitarist John Collins, is not a benefit. A portion of the funds raised will go to the Crayton family, but most of the proceeds will go to the artists.
The show begins at 7 p.m. and costs $15. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster locations.