So, okay dishes done, company gone, ready to take a tub, and Russ says, “what do you think of going over to Tipitinas to see Rodriguez? Sure wish Howe was still on tour with him.” (Our friend How Gelb was lucky enough to open a bunch of shows with Rodriguez earlier on his current U.S. tour) We can bring your 45 and you can get him to sign it.” The last thing I want to do is get in the car and go to Tips. This guy is not going to know me from Adam, the show will probably be over, and I have NO clue where the fucking 45 is located. I guess at this point I should explain…
Back in 1974, I had a “Singles Record Deal” on Warner Brothers. I was a fledgling solo artist at 16 years old without any idea of who I was as a musical entity outside of my musical family band, The Cowsills. I had a producer and a team (Trevor Lawrence produced, Klaus Foreman played bass, and Van Dyke Parks arranged the strings on one of the cuts.) My producer would bring me demos and recordings of songs to choose from. Most of them were godawful. But there were a few I could relate to. One of them happened to written by the now known to all, singer songwriter, Sixto Díaz Rodríguez. It was called “I Think of You” and though my singing would have probably got me on Idol but knocked out in the first round, the song was really cool. I had no idea at the time who had written it, and only found out recently because my sister-in-law Vicki Peterson called me after seeing the documentary “Searching for Sugarman.” She recognized the song and couldn’t place it. But then realized it was the song I had covered on the Warner sessions, CRAZY! So, anyway, back to the present…
I figured if Russ could find the 45, I’d put on something decent and we’d run to Tips. Well, he found it in less the 2 minutes after suggesting we go. Okay…meant to be. Let’s do it I said, but I don’t want us to have any expectations. Russ said, “okay, let’s just look at it as a joy ride.”
Long story short, we began a Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon adventure within a minute of arriving. Realizing I didn’t know anyone on the inside working at Tips anymore (or so I thought), I wasn’t sure how we were going to get to Sixto with my 45 in hand. I ran into my dear friend Nancy who re-introduced me the sound engineer Sly, who told me, “Rodriguez doesn’t sign anything, but I’ll have my friend bring you back stage and good luck to ya.” So, we head back, promptly run into one of the guys in the band named Matt who knew who I was, and I recognized him, but at that moment, didn’t know where I knew him from, (still working on that Matt!). Anyway, he asked me what we were doing there, and I told him we wanted to meet Rodriguez. ”Okay, let me introduce you.” At this point I’m thinking, “holy shit, we’re going to meet the dude.” I was trying to figure out how to short shrift my story so I didn’t lose my nano-second with this very cool guy. Matt says, “Rodriguez, I want you to meet my friend Susan Cowsill.” At this point I figure I’m gonna have to start talking super quick b/c he’s walking in the oposite direction from me, but stops and turns around and says, “SUSAN COWSILL?! Oh my God…Susan Cowsill…Wow! This is unbelievable!” And I’m thinking hell yeah! This guy knows who I am, this IS unbelievable!! So, Russ and I were two of the honored chosen three people to go onto Sixto’s bus. The other person was John Sinclair, an old friend and an American icon in his own rite. Needless to say, this is all very surrealistic and magical. We get on the bus and talk with Sixto, his daughter, and a nice lady with blonde hair. He tells us how much he liked my version of his song and was so in love with my voice. Can you believe this?! Well, I couldn’t, and really still can’t. It was sooo amazing to be connecting with Rodriguez almost 40 years later, with mutual admiration and gratitude. The Universe has many gifts, and we got one tonight.
We gave him a copy of Just Believe It and Lighthouse, as well as my copy of of “I Think of You,” (signed by request), and began our farewells. I decided it couldn’t hurt to mention how much I would loooove to sing with him sometime. To which he responded, “there’s a lot going on. Leave me your number and we’ll see what we can make happen.” So, okay…I’m not saying I’m gonna sit by the phone or anything like that….I’m saying I’m gonna carry it with me everywhere I go and pray for the name Rodriguez to pop up on my screen! And if the Universe thinks it’s a good idea for me and Sixto to sing together, then I’m in. And if not….tonight was a really cool moment in time, the kind where everything lines up in just that perfect way. Russ and I hopped in the car, drove home with big smiles on our faces. Now THAT was a joy ride!
I sure wish we would’ve taken a picture.