Mr. Media is recorded live before a studio audience of adult men who have all sorts of despicable ways to take advantage of talented teenagers… in the NEW new media capital of the world… St. Petersburg, Florida!
It was a week or so before Christmas, 1968, and I owned fewer than five long-playing record albums, including The Monkees’ Headquarters and the first two Beatles albums. I played them endlessly on what was essentially a toy record player. That its sound was tinny and that it didn’t get very loud didn’t matter; I had my very own music.
I well remember that holiday season, visiting my parents’ friends, Mickey and Ginny and their infant son, Mickey Jr. Mickey Sr. was a New Brunswick, New Jersey cop and the family lived in a modest apartment in a small complex above the Raritan River.
The visit was largely uninteresting for me except when Ginny handed me a wrapped present from under the family Christmas tree: a new record! What else could it be that shape?
Eight-year-old me quickly tore off the wrapping and discovered The Rain, The Park and Other Things: The Best of The Cowsills inside.
PAUL COWSILL audio excerpt: “This is a documentary; there were so many rabbit holes to fall into… Bob and John put Mom in the category of being one of the kids, but Susan and I don’t let Mom off the hook. I’ve been a parent. If you’re a parent, get your children out of harm’s way! And she never did that. I’m going to see her some day and I’m going to smack her right up the back of her head. I’m going to say, ‘What the hell were you thinking keeping us all there (with Dad)?’”
You can LISTEN to this interview with singer PAUL COWSILL of THE COWSILLS by clicking the audio player above!
Instead of being appreciative of the gift, however, I became a bit of a brat because I couldn’t wait to get out of there and hear it!
Songs such “Hair,” “We Can Fly” and “Indian Lake” became lifetime favorites that I have yet to tire of hearing.
Like a lot of bands from that era, The Cowsills soon disappeared from view — 1910 Fruitgum Company, anyone? — and I didn’t give them much thought until last week when I was invited to watch a new documentary film by Louise Palanker, Family Band: The Cowsills Story, about the real family behind the singing family.
It’s airing this month on Showtime and whether you are old enough to remember The Cowsills — or even the TV sitcom they inspired, “The Partridge Family” — this heart-wrenching tale is a must-see, from family squabbles and singing with mom to a mentally and physically abusive dad and massive lost revenues to latter-day triumphs and tribulations.
Joining me today to talk about his family, the band and the documentary is Paul Cowsill. Paul still leads The Cowsills, but his day job is equally interesting: he is an “extreme” landscaper on the NBC fantasy series “Grimm,” having previously worked on TNT’s “Leverage” and the first Twilight movie.
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