Friday, February 24, 2006

Barry Cowsill Memorial and a Sucker Punch

Last weekend I flew to RI for Barry Cowsill's Memorial Services. No one would have blamed The Cowsills had they decided to conduct a private service or just invite family and close friends especially after the months long search for Barry. But Barry wanted everyone to party when he died and so The Cowsills threw a party and invited anyone who wanted to be there to come. Before the party, on a very cold and windy RI afternoon, The Cowsills conducted a short service at King's Park in Newport, RI in honor of Barry. Even though it was as Paul Cowsill put it "frickin' cold" the weather somehow seemed fitting to what was happening that afternoon - saying good-bye to Barry and bringing him back to Newport. Barry wanted a party and so later that evening, a party was held in Barry's honor at the Hotel Viking. It was amazing to watch the Cowsill family during these events and see the love and generosity that they showed to all of those who were able to make it to Newport - friends, family and fans alike. The Cowsills are truly amazing people and I am proud to know them and humbled to have been invited to share this with them. If you're interested, you can view the photos that I took at both the Kings Park service and the party at the Hotel Viking.

And now to the sucker punch ... after the event at King's Park, The Cowsills received a phone call from Canada and were informed that their older brother Billy had passed away the night before. When I heard the news my stomach literally knotted up. I cannot imagine how each of The Cowsills must have felt. To lose two brothers in such a short time would be devastating to anyone yet The Cowsills continued to hold the planned party for Barry and will hold additional memorial services for Barry in New Orleans, LA this weekend before they can turn their attention to the north and to Billy.

Billy was an enigma to me and I have to admit I was rather intimidated by him. I only met him twice. The first time was in the early 1990s when he came down to southern California and was at Pickwicks Pub one night. That night The Cowsills at Pickwicks included Billy, Bob, Susan & John and it was the first time that I had heard The Rain, The Park & Other Things live and in person with Billy on the lead and it just sent chills down my spine. It truly was a night that I will never forget. The second time I met Billy was in 2000, at A Taste of RI, when the entire Cowsill clan reunited on stage and off. There are not words to describe that experience; to see all of The Cowsills on stage together definitely brought out my inner pre-teen again. Both times I had the privilege of seeing Billy, he just amazed me with his presence on stage. He simply belonged there. And to see Billy and Bob together on stage was a true treat that I am so glad I didn't miss. It was just right and now it can never happen again. It still seems unbelievable to me and just so sad. has Memorial Books for both Barry and Billy if you want to post your condolences and/or memories.

1 comment:

Tracy said...

Sucker punch - that's a good way of describing it. I remember an old article in a teen magazine where Barry said something about punching John in the stomach and watching all the air go out of him like a marshamallow or something to that effect. I know that sure is the way I felt. Thanks for sharing.