Exclusive Interview with …. John Cowsill
Drummer extraordinaire. this man has been in the hot seat (well the drummer’s seat) since the tender age of 7 1/2 as he helped keep the beat and the rhythm for the famed Cowsills. The quick flicks of the wrists and impeccable drumming style could belong only to one man, and he is John Cowsill, youngest Cowsill male family member and currently the drummer for the Beach Boys. With difficult rhythms and fast paced beats in the legendary Beach Boys music it seems John Cowsill, the lifelong drummer (amongst his list of many instruments) would be the perfect fit. Let’s step back though, how does John describe his experience being a part of the Cowsills, was it a smooth transition into the Beach Boys, and what is daily life like for him now? These questions and others can only be answered in the Feeling the Vibe Style.
Let’s get into it, here we go!
Q & A
FTV: We know you’re part of the very talented Cowsills. So what was it like traveling and touring around with your family? Were there any moments on the tour that stick out in your mind?
JC: No, not after we became famous. All the fun was mainly before that. We used to play bars and that was fun to me. I was 7 ½ playing four sets a night in all the local clubs. I remember the cops coming and shutting it down. We needed to get special permission from the mayor. So that was more fun than doing the big Cowsill productions.
FTV: So now you’re with the Beach Boys, and we’re all very happy about that. When did you start with them?
JC: It was, either 2000 or 2001.
FTV: How did that happen, how did that come about?
JC: I was actually at home one night with my two kids when I received a call from Chris Farmer (former musical director for the Beach Boys.) I hadn’t spoken to him in years! He asked me if I could get on a plane to go to Minneapolis the next day to fill in for Mike Kowalski, the drummer at the time. I really wasn’t sure how I’d be able to organize everything with my kids to be able to just fly right out to Minneapolis, but I actually was able to. I subbed on the drums for about four dates. It was a real blast.
FTV: Were you given the music and just did it right away?
JC: Yes, I showed up and did it. I know the songs, I’ve known them forever. Well I played with Mike (Love) in the early ‘80s. I used to play all the songs back then, so they were familiar to me.
I sat in with the band but after that didn’t hear from them for quite a while until I was actually on a plane with Adrian Baker who sang the high vocal parts in the band at the time. He was mentioning how he couldn’t do the New Years shows so I mentioned that I could sub for him. I subbed for him a few days then for Phil Bardowell in the European part of the tour for the summer. Then I was surprised to find out they were expecting me to play the piano parts. I quickly learned all the songs and it all worked out fine though. Then they hired me after that.
FTV: Now we see that you recently switched over to the drums. You were the drummer in the Cowsills. How do you feel being back in the rhythm seat?
JC: I love that position. It’s the most comfortable spot for me to be in. It’s my comfort zone definitely.
FTV: How many instruments do you play? Ever teach?
JC: I play your basic instruments, guitar, piano, and drums. I guess you could say I play a little this and a little that. As far as teaching goes I will leave that for my retirement plan. I really would love to teach someday though.
FTV: Of all the places you’ve visited on tour, which areas of the world do you like the most?
JC: Well home of course…lol but if I have to go out and work I would say anywhere back east. I just love the east coast. The time of year has a lot to do with it. I don’t care for the tropics much. Out of the country, I love the UK, and Germany along with the Scandinavian area like Norway, Sweden and Denmark.
FTV: When you have free time, what do you like to do? What are some of your hobbies/interests outside of music?
JC: I am a wood worker. I’m in the middle of remodeling our kitchen right now. (my poor wife). It takes me a while to complete a project due to my busy schedule.
FTV: What would you tell young people who want to get into the music industry?
JC: Do it because you love it. Whatever it is you decide, you have to love it.
FTV: What would you say is one of the best moments of your life so far?
JC: Right now.
FTV: What is the life of John Cowsill like right now? How would you describe it?
JC: My life is filled with a lot of love. I am very fortunate to be married to such an incredible woman and I am so proud of my kids. They are the best. I have a great job. I love playing drums with the Beach Boys. I’m such a fan, I literally have the best seat in the house
If you get the opportunity to catch the Beach Boys on tour this summer with John Cowsill in the drummer’s seat we highly recommend that you take it! The show is for all ages, will have you singing along, and your energy pumping. We want to thank John Cowsill for taking the time to sit down with us for this interview. We had a great time with you and know that all who get to hear you perform your music are truly blessed.