Psycho Sisters

Psycho Sisters

Psycho Sisters

Psycho Sisters

(This first paragraph I am going on memory, as I can not find the post I am thinking of.) Vicki Peterson had long been a Cowsill fan. Vicki knew a record store owner/manager who also knew Bob. This manager introduced Bob and Vicki and from there the rest is history.

According to a September Goldmine article "She (Vicki) found a soulmate in Susan Cowsill, the one-time "cute little kid sister" of the singing Cowsill family. They started writing songs together. Vicki played guitar during a Cowsills reunion tour – "It was like being onstage with the Beatles" – and she and Susan performed a string of acoustic dates in their nightgowns. They billed themselves as the Psycho Sisters. The Psycho Sisters soon gravitated towards a group of old friends who regularly jammed on the stage of an old rehearsal hall; Vicki knew bassist Mark Walton from the Dream Syndicate, one of the old Paisley Underground bands."

The earliest reference to the Psycho Sisters I can find was in 1991 (the Bangles broke up in about 1990) and the last reference is in 2001. The Psycho Sisters toured with Giant Sand in Europe in 1993 opened for the Go-Go's occasionally during their 1994-1995 tour. They also played SxSW in 1996. You can also find them doing backing vocals for various bands including Redd Kross, Chris Cacavas, Hootie & The Blowfish, and Giant Sand.

Vicki and Susan penned their single "Timberline", while Vicki alone wrote the flip side "This Painting".

In Psycho Sisters Vicki played a pink Fender Telecaster Thinline with a Fender Princeton amp, and Susan played a Danelectro with a Silvertone amp. (Note: Some things never change. In a 1994 interview Paul talked of their first amps being Silvertone.)

Psycho lyrics nicely crafted into bittersweet harmonies" is one description of Psycho Sisters music I found online. In an interview in 2000, Vicki and Susan talked of the Psycho Sisters:

COWSILL: It's kind of a strange crossbreeding of our musical identities. What we do as Psychos is very different from our Continental Drifters songs.

PETERSON: A couple of Psycho Sisters songs ended up on Vermilion: "Rain Song," and "Who We Are, Where We Live."

COWSILL: Sometimes when we're writing a song, we're not sure if it will go Drifter or Psycho. Sometimes we'll be practicing our Psycho stuff and the guys will go "What's that?" At sound check, the songs start creeping in. That's how "Way of the World" went from a Psycho song to a Drifter song. As Psychos, we walk the line of disaster at all times because we intentionally create a situation where our strengths are strongly challenged by our weaknesses.

PETERSON: Our strengths are songwriting and singing together and we balance that with what we are not comfy doing: playing loud electric guitar. It's a challenge because in the Drifters, Susan and I are so warmly surrounded by amazing musicians.

New as of 2/1/12: The Psycho Sisters reunited in 2012. They played the 30A Songwriters Festival January 18-20, 2012 in Florida. The festival website gave the following discription:

The Psycho Sisters (Susan Cowsill and Vicki Peterson) met in an orphanage outside of Bern, Switzerland. The two young girls shared a bizarre sense of humor and a love of music, inspiring them to compose clever operettas, which they performed to the polite horror of the nuns. When Susan, the younger one, was adopted by a large, wealthy family in America, Vicki, the blonder one, escaped the orphanage and stowed away on a schooner (the Sloop John B) bound for New York.

The girls reunited and soon began writing the songs which would eventually bring them international fame and inconsequential fortune. Their first recording, “Timberline” b/w “This Painting,” was originally released on wax disc, then 78 and 45 rpm vinyl records. Those songs and hundreds of others will be included on their first long-playing recording, Up On the Chair, Beatrice, to be released later this year.

Vicki and Susan plan to record their first CD in the spring of 2012.


Vicki Peterson - Guitar, Vocals
Susan Cowsill - Guitar, Vocals


Date / Company
Timberline/This Painting
1994 /
SOL Records
Peter Holsapple played guitar
Gary Eaton, bass, and
John Convertino drums on this 45.
Psycho Sisters
1991 / bootleg
This was recorded 10/17/91 at the Ghengis Cantina in Los Angeles, CA. Songs included: Timberline, This Painting, Never Never, Boys And Heather Says
Up On The Chair Beatrice
Aug 2014 / Rockbeat Records
Husbands, John and Russ, join in on this one. Includes "Cuddly Toy" as a tribute to Davy Jones.


The Psycho Sisters - LA Weekly
Music Review: The Psycho Sisters "Up on the Chair, Beatrice" - Seattle PI
Music Review: The Psycho Sisters "Up on the Chair, Beatrice" - BC blogcritics
Tuesday Reviewday: The Psycho Sisters (and others)
Interview: Vicki Peterson of The Psycho Sisters
Album Premiere: The Psycho Sisters, Up On The Chair Beatrice
Up On The Chair Beatrice (CD) By The Psycho Sisters - Cashbox
Meet The Psycho Sisters Susan Cowsill and Vicki Peterson release long awaited CD
Rockabilly, Empty Hearts & Psycho Sisters: Chats with Brian Setzer, Elliot Easton, Vicki Peterson & Susan Cowsill... Plus!
The Psycho Sisters - Up on the Chair, Beatrice
The Psycho Sisters
Never, Never Boys #1 for the week of August 27, 2014
The Psycho Sisters “Up On The Chair Beatrice”

Here's an example of The Psycho Sisters music.

Timberline - 1994 Recording

Currently none

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