Have been contributing to the Billy Cowsill Wikipedia page. Wikipedia editors have serious concerns, and sometimes have major disagreements with format or content, or both. The current version of the page is here. The version I inaccurately thought was acceptable is here. Major difference is the excision of the quotations, considered not to be “encyclopedic”. Likely influence of the approach to writing the dissertation. Editor knows better than I, and so be it. Still, the quotes seem to add a particular flavour. So here they are:
It’s never been about stardom, about making millions. I’ve done that, and it made me miserable, man. For me, it’s just about getting the harmonies right. It’s about getting the sound down. That’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. It’s about the music. That’s all there is. I’d rather die a pauper, having put a sweet tune on people’s lips, than have the world in the bank.
I’m a harsh taskmaster. I wouldn’t want me for a father. Chrissakes, that’s why I live alone. I wouldn’t even want me for a husband.
He was a real good guy, a guy who would give you the shirt off his back, but if he’d got a gut full of liquor, he’d beat your head into the wall. He was tough to read, growing up.
My odyssey really began in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I was playing for ten bucks a night and all the whisky you could drink, but I was sitting in with Harry Nilsson and JJ Cale. I got to play with Carl Wilson. And finally I was playing with roots people, playing the kind of music I wanted to play. That’s when I really started learning.
Three vegetarians and a junkie–what are the chances?
There’s no one else who can sing like that, who can take the songs apart and show us how it’s done.
He shows us things no one else knows how to do. Like a singing technique on those low gospel harmonies, singing half as hard, but close to the mike. He knows these things.
At that point, his bones, according to Gibbs, had literally started turning to dust.
Comment of Cowsill’s partner, Mitzi Gibbs, in relation to Cowsill’s physical condition, as of six months before his death. Gibbs died in November, 2006, nine months after Cowsill, leaving their son (and Cowsill’s younger son), Delaney.