The Bel Air Bandits was formed in the early 1980's and served as the back-up band for Jan and Dean. Various members came and went from the group over the years. John Cowsill was one of those. John was a part of the band from 1983-1988, when he left to anchor the reformed Cowsills.
During John's time with the band, in December 1986, they became the first American rock-n-roll act to tour the People's Republic of China (right at the time of the rising student unrest resulting from Communist oppression). Below you will see video captures (from a poor quality video) from that time. Although John and Robby Scharf had known each other for some time, it was also on this trip - as Robby puts it - that "John and I truly bonded as a rhythm section and as friends."
John remains friends and band mates with several from those days. Three have also played with The Beach Boys. Below you will find "Then" and "Now" pictures from those friends.
The following is a list of those I found who played in the band. I'm sure this isn't complete, but here goes:
Jim Armstrong — Lead Guitar, Vocals
Danny deHart — Drums
Chris Farmer — Bass Guitar, Vocals
Gary Griffin — Keyboards, Vocals
Mark Ward — Guitar, Vocals
Randell Kirsch - Guitar, Vocals
David Logeman - Drums
Don Raymond - Guitar, Vocals
Phillip Bardowell - Bass or guitar, Vocals
John Cowsill - Drums, Vocals
Sterling Smith - Keyboard, Vocals
Recordings made during John's time were:
How We Spent
Our Summer Vacation
Bill Cowsill played
guitar on this one also