(Intros and bios read for both Vicki and John)
Robby: How long have you been …. Johnny … been with them (Beach Boys)? 20 Years? Almost?
John: Almost. That’s rounding up but I started in 2001. I think about July 5th at Caesars Palace.
Vicki: On keyboards or on guitar
John: That is when I became a full time sub and then when I got a call from Bruce Cohn, who managed The Doobie Brothers, Michael was in an accident, and you know, just feeling out and I was in France on a train and I hadn’t been told that I was …. a member of The Beach Boys yet and I said, “Hey I got a call to go fill in for somebody,” I didn’t say how long, and they said, “Oh, with who?” I said, “Possibly with The Doobie Brothers,” and I said, “so I need to know if I’m in this band or am I still auditioning?” This was months later and they said, “Oh, no, no, no, no, you’re family, you’re family.” And I said, “No, I can’t do it.” And I’ve been in The Beach Boys ever since.
Vicki: You got an actual answer out of John Cowsill.
Treva: That’s right.
John: I was their piano player for the first seven years and then became their drummer.
Treva: This is fantastic so now I don’t have to read the rest of the bio.
John: And what I did next was . . .
(Talking over each other)
John: Here we are today.
Treva: I want to know how you two met.
John: Go Vic
Vicki: OK Late April . . .
John: Well it happen (laughs) Go ahead sweetie.
Vicki: You won’t remember.
John: Only because she told me that we met at this time , so I have it memorized. It was April 27 or 26, 1978 at the Sweetwater in Laguna Beach.
Vicki: Redondo Beach
John: Redondo Beach . . . It was an L word, close to the R
Robby: Was there sparks?
John: No! (can’t understand)
Robby: I mean was there . . .
Vicki: He was barely conscious and I was completely smitten.
Robby: Were you involved with anyone else at the time?
Vicki: He was, of course. I’ll explain that we met in April and May he married wife #1.
Treva: Oh my gosh.
Vicki: I know. I was heart broken
John: She was.
Treva: Did you know that she was crushing on you?
Vicki: He knew nothing.
Robby: Susan didn’t tell you that . . .
John: Susan didn’t know her yet.
Vicki: This is when I met the entire family. This was the night I met The Cowsills. The Night I Met The Cowsills
John: Vicki will fill you in on the succession of everything
Treva: Was this pre-Bangles?
Vicki: It was. I was already in a band with my best girlfriend and Debby and we had a band … I actually had a phone conversation the year prior with Bob Cowsill - which is a very long story – but he was very sweet about it and very … I told him I’m 18. I’m in a band didda didda didda and he was like “It’s funny you would call. We’re just getting back together to start rehearsing.” And they were and so that’s 1977 and so a year later we … my band had already played this club and we played it two times before and I managed to talk to the manager and let him allow us – thank you –
John: Chipped tooth
Vicki: Knock my tooth out … Anyway we talked the manager of the club into letting us come in because we were all under age so … “But we just played here last week dude and I have to meet The Cowsills. You don’t understand.” And the guy was, “Yeah, I wanted to meet that sister. She’s kind of hot.” OK you’re disgusting.
Treva: So you knew. You knew. Everybody knew them.
Vicki: Not everyone in my world knew them. No. But I knew them and my friends knew them because I knew them because I was a huge Cowsills fan.
Robby: It’s still remarkable to encounter people who don’t know The Cowsills. You know, “Who?” The family band. I do occasionally meet people that never heard of The Cowsills and I say “Where have you been?” If you’re over 50, if you’re over 60.
John: We were only famous . . .
Treva: What is the Partridge Family connection.
John: That was based after my family.
Treva: Right so that’s how people probably . . .
Vicki: Of course
Robby: So flash forward then to . . . at what point after your divorce … no
John: Don’t ask any questions. Continue your story honey.
Robby: When did
Vicki: If you want this history, I probably have it. But, so John married wife #1 and that lasted about a year and a half.
Robby: And here she is !!
Vicki: (can’t understand) This is Jan.
John: Moving on (can’t understand)
Vicki: My thing with John is just that I had a huge crush on him and he always inconveniently married to other people. And that’s basically true until he wasn’t.
John: Which is a rare moment in John Cowsill’s life because I was a professional married person.
Vicki: You were a professional married person.
John: We’d like to stop right now. Stay tuned for more Done Being Single with Treva and Robby, John and Vicki Peterson Cowsill or Petersill or Cowerson’s.
Robby: Ohhh I like that.
Robby: OK we’re back.
John: I wanted to say that.
Robby: OK Johnny
John: OK, we’re back. Do you have a question to ask?
Treva: I do. I have a very light hearted, very shallow, superficial question to ask.
Treva: Certainly. How did your early childhood (laughs)
Robby: Oh this is going to go well.
Treva: I’m not even kidding. How do you your early childhood experiences of love, faming and seeing your parents marriages . . . I don’t know about yours, affect your choices as an adult. How did that … how did you … I’m always fascinated with how that brings us up to the present.
Vicki: I think John needs to answer this one.
John: Oh (can’t understand) it will take years to answer.
Robby: Condense it John
John: I came from a very large family. Just let me set this up. In first grade, I didn’t go to kindergarten, we didn’t do that, but I went to first grade. My first day on the bus with friends. My parents didn’t take me into school. The first question out of the teacher’s name was “Oh” cuz they’ve had all my brothers, they know all this information, but they threw a loop, they threw a curve at me and they ask me “Well what are your parents names?” and I looked at them like they were crazy, “Mom and Dad.” I didn’t know my parents first names. I didn’t really meet my parents until later because I’m the youngest of six boys.
Treva and Robby: OK
John: So my recollection is how … when Dad is drunk and (sigh) I didn’t see a lot of affection between my parents and yeaaahhhh
Vicki: There was seven kids …
John: I was trying to stay out of trouble and not get hit.
Treva: OK got it.
John: And it didn’t always work because my moniker was “You’re this close to death.” You know, I was a wise-ass.
John: Still am
Robby: And that was the good side of Bud.
John: Can’t hurt me. I’m resilient. Oh that wasn’t a great example of what a couple is. How I think that transcended? I don’t know. My life was Playboys in the mattress, you know underneath, hide that in the garage rafters at two. I mean I was that kid. And still am. No, I’m not. I don’t hide them in the rafters and I don’t even buy them. You can’t buy them anyway.
Robby: Did you witness loving behavior between Bud and Barbara?
John: No, I’m saying, no, I didn’t.
Robby: Not at all?
John: Maybe occasionally if they were drunk, I maybe saw him squeeze her butt or something but really no I never witnessed any interaction. There was a lot of discussion in my house back in that time period like 60, 61, when I could actually speak, and you didn’t say anything but “Yes, Sir” “Yes, Ma’am” and if you said it wrong, you got a backhand. Really it was just survival in my house. We didn’t talk to each other in my … amongst the siblings. You’ll get outed somewhere along the line. Somebody will cough up information to save their own f***ing skin. So… nothing out of that family about a good example of how it could be.
Treva: No role models
John: No role models.
Treva: I’m always interested in that. In family of origin. And Vicki is a late bloomer. She’s a fellow late bloomer.
Vicki: I am a late bloomer in the marriage world but I was .. also point out with the Cowsills, it’s interesting that most of the boys, anyway, married very young.
John: Everyone was 19.
Vicki: Very young. Getting out of there.
John: And I remember hearing my Dad say, you know, he was afraid of . . . he was homophobic yet he was anything … Anyway, you couldn’t pretend to lisp. And I remember watching Bill say, “Oh thaaat’s silly cowbell” or something and my Dad like came unglued. It’s like and I didn’t know why back then, but it was about that and the other thing was that he said, “My kids don’t date. My kids will get married.” So it’s like how do you do one …. How to you just get married?
Vicki: I guess that’s the template right there. Interesting
Treva: OK go ahead Tell us your story.
Vicki: Well, I grew up in a Catholic family, four siblings, and my parents were very … my memory of my parents in our early days were that they were very stoic and so as far as I knew grownups don’t run and grownups only laugh late at night at a bridge party when everyone’s drunk. And this weird thing that when the doorbell rings at a party and you’re already in bed and there’s a pause and then the door opens and you hear “Waaaaaaa” Grownups scream when they see each other. I never understood that either. These were the lessons of life that I learned. How to be a grownup.
John: So every time I come home from off the road I open the door and she screams and oh my god. No
Treva: So were there issues to be worked out individually in order to find this love?
Vicki: Between the two of us?
John: Oh my
Treva: This version of love?
John: Our own personal journey? OH GOD YES I’m still a freakin work in progress. Are you kidding? I can’t believe she loves me the way she does. I swear to God. I guess.
Vicki: But again, as you pointed out Treva, I was a later in life bride, in my mid-40s, and so by the time I made the commitment to John, he was on … this would be marriage #3 for him. He’d learned a lot along the way. I had just a few practice runs. I’d also been single a lot. I had spent years of my adult life, large, large portions of my adult life not seeing anyone. Lots of friends, busy, busy, happy, happy, it’s fine. I wrote a song that was on a Bangles record in this century actually called, “Single By Choice” And it’s kind of a theme song for people who are just like, “I’m good. You don’t have to set me up. I’m fine, really. ”
Treva: You wanted to …
Vicki: I actually really was. And as soon as I got to that point and was like, “OK, no actually this is good. I’m happy this way. This is the best way for me to be, I think.” And then six months later, I was engaged to that guy.
Treva: See that’s the key. That’s the key to not giving a s***.
Robby: That’s such a beautiful story. When did you both realize – well two part question – that you were done being single or that you guys were meant to be together.
John: Well I swore that I’d never get married again. I made that little thing to myself. But I am at heart a romantic and relational. So, obviously I lost that rule for myself and I met her and we were in a car and she was playing me songs and I was just . . . I just fell in love with her. And ahhh I did. I mean we had some virtual dates that was hilarious.
Vicki: Our dating history is pretty hilarious
John: We’ve always been with someone when any kind of thing . . . I didn’t even think she liked me.
Vicki: I hid it well.
John: I mean I didn’t know. I mean she liked me but as a dating prospect I thought she liked more ethnic people (everyone laughs). So, I thought I was the wrong colorfor years. But when I said that to her she guffawed. You are so adorable. You are so funny girl. I just … I did. I fell in love with her and I knew that … well I didn’t know anything really but I courted her out of New Orleans. I did. I caught her … and I’m going through the …. I went through the hell 2nd divorce. My kids went through the hell second divorce. My ex-wife went through the hell divorce. It was just the worse atomic explosion ever.
Vicki: By the time we were in a place where we actually considering dating or just being on a “date” was hilarious because it was almost like dating your cousin. We were – because we had known each other for so long already – and now had – I had played with The Cowsills. We’d just been in this circle, you know what I mean?
John: She became friends with Susan one day when she was watching MTV
Vicki: 1989 yeah
John: And they became friends and then I guess my sister at some point said, “Don’t ever date my brother. He’s a womanizer. And it just …”
Vicki: “You date my brother and I’ll kill you,” were exactly her words. I’m good. Don’t worry. It’s not going to happen.
Robby: At what point did that change? That Susan was OK with that.
Vicki: That changed . . . It wasn’t really . . . Susan wasn’t really OK with it really. I don’t think still she’s OK with it.
Robby: She hasn’t come around?
John: She’s OK with it.
Vicki: She still wants to kill me.
Robby: Did you guys sneak around behind her?
(laughs and multiple people talking)
Vicki: Not at all.
John: No With her, her moniker is Capricorn. Sneak what? I jumped through hoops to court her, are you kidding? You know it’s so funny because one of our first dates was in New Orleans.
Vicki: That was the virtual date
John: There was a virtual date where we met at Barry’s house, right? Debbies?
Vicki: Virtual weekend
John: We were barbequing I was stoic. That was the first time we kissed.
John: And after I kissed her I said, “Oh this is never going to work.”
Vicki: The fake kiss
John: Yeah I didn’t know why. I thought that but I said, “No this is not going to go.” Because it didn’t go further.
Robby: What made it a fake kiss.
John: It wasn’t a fake kiss.
Vicki: Well the first kiss actually was when I dropped you off at Susan’s. It was the virtual date weekend. John came in, he was going through a horrible child custody issue, he was kind of in a bad place. And Susan was on the phone and I was in the kitchen with her and she said, “Well just come to JazzFest this year. Just come and spend like three days out.” In the background I was “I’ll be your virtual date. No strings” He was, “Really? What? I’m coming.” There had always been a little chemistry here but of course he was always married.
John: And she was always with someone.
Vicki: And I was with someone. I was Catholic so I was not going to mess around. It was not going to happen. But he was into this virtual date. Now this was fun because he flew into New Orleans. I took him around to clubs. We held hands. We pretended like we were dating and it was really, really fun. And you came to a Continental Drifters show.
John: I did
Vicki: We played till 3 in the morning like we do and then I remember you said after this, “So are you taking me home or are you TAKING me home?” I went, “I’m taking you home,” which mean I’m taking you back to your sister’s where you’re staying and
Treva: Good girl
John: Silence Treva
Vicki: And I dropped you off in the living room and I remember you said, “Goodnight darling” and you dipped me and we did a Hollywood kiss. So that was the fake kiss. And Susan was like “Ewwwww !! Disgusting!!”
Robby: I can totally see that.
Vicki: And then, yes, there was the picnic at Barry’s.
Treva: Where’s the _____ music?
Robby: Not yet. I’m waiting for, I’m waiting for
Vicki: You want it now?
John: Vicki, I love you darling.
Vicki: Do you really love me?
John: I’m bending you over now.
Vicki: That’s a different time.
John: No! For the kiss
Robby: Alright, so wow
Vicki: So then we had this virtual weekend which was
Vicki: In some ways I had a great time, but it was kind of . . . and then he went home.
John: And then she didn’t hear from me . . .
Vicki: For six months. And then I find … oh no … and then I am now back in LA. I was living in New Orleans but I stayed with my friend Amanda who was also a bass player in our band. My best friend who was with me on the night ….. yes this was the Patty’s visit. And Susan was in town. Susan and I were in town because we were doing background vocals for Hootie and the Blowfish recording. And I was staying with my friend Amanda and Susan said, “Let’s see if I can get the brothers to come and at least meet for breakfast.” So John agreed to drive down from Ojai and we met at Patty’s in Burbank. I don’t think it exists anymore.
Robby: I don’t know does it?
John: I hope it does. (can’t understand) until I don’t see it anymore.
Vicki: And we had this great time and Bob and Susan are talking on one corner and John and I are talking and he’s sharing some of the stuff he’s going through with this horrible child custody. That it’s a full-time job what he’s been doing, dealing with lawyers and court papers and really trying to get his kids and be a good Dad and I was very impressed with that actually. I thought that was a very sweet thing that he was putting all this energy, time and money into making sure he could be a good Dad to his kids. And then he goes, “So you’re in LA recording. What do you do for fun? What do you do?” And I go “Yeah” and he goes, “Do you go to movies? Out to dinner?” I said, “Sure, I love going to movies.” He says, “We should do something.” OK
Robby: That’s the Cowsill way. Ask her out on a date.
Vicki: Let’s do something. And I remember walking back into the kitchen in Amanda’s house going (singing) “I have a date with John Cowsill. I have a date with John Cowsill.” Because she knew my history. She was there that first night in April.
John: I just think I’m going on a date with a girl.
Vicki: That he kind of knows but doesn’t really know
John: I don’t know anything. I just know you’ve been a family friend forever and we’re both single right now and whoa that was an amazing moment right there.
Vicki: So then he did call me and I said, well you know it was a February because I have these friends who every year have an Academy Award watching party. And it was in Silver Lake and really fun. And everyone brings a themed food like a movie themed food item. So I was making
John: She made a jello mold out of A Beautiful Mind.
Vicki: A Beautiful Mind
John: It was awesome. It was a jello brain. It was awesome
Vicki: (overtalking) a little on the nose but that was OK.
John: That’s so Pisces but not you. Go ahead.
Vicki: So I walk in with this guy. So we had that moment in the car where “This is so weird. We’re on a date. It’s like a date.” And we walk into this party. He know NO ONE except me at the party and we walk in and start talking. I’m introducing him around. We go to separate corners. I’m looking, he’s having a great time meeting new people, talking to people. I’m over here having a great time and I’m thinking, “Wow I’m not baby-sitting this guy. He’s not feeling like ‘Why am I here? This boring, I don’t know anybody.’ He’s having a great time and I loved that.
John: And we’d look at each other occasionally
Vicki: Waving Hi how … Now this was unusual for me. I’d never had this experience before
John: I kind of got to take this call. No really, go ahead.
Robby: OK We are back with John and Vicki and Treva and myself
John: We’re all back
Vicki: OK continue the dating saga
Treva: I guess so
Vicki: Because we have to fast forward another six months
John: And begin
Vicki: Wait, back up, back up, back up
John: No, oh s***
Vicki: . . .to the end of the date and this is the capital D
John: Driving around … you don’t want to date me?
Vicki: I think that was in New Orleans
John: No, no it was when we were driving round
Vicki: Getting lost in Griffith Park?
John: (can’t understand) because she … I mean I couldn’t charm her like I could charm somebody who doesn’t know me.
Robby: She knows you.
John: Cuz she saw my whole trail of poo-poo behind me that I left in my wake. So I couldn’t and God forbid what my sister has told her over the years. I mean there’s nothing sacred anymore. So it was a new approach for me. It was like and so all I said was, “You probably” …. I said “You don’t want to date me.” and the way I said it was like “You don’t want to date me, do you?” but what she heard was “You DON’T want to date me.” Am I correct, kind of on that? We were talking about stuff and you and yeahhhhh
Vicki: Yeah, it didn’t feel like a big stop sign or anything
John: Cuz you said you told me that you thought you almost lost me when you said that.
Vicki: Yeah, but I thought that happen in New Orleans. When we were talking about …
John: It could happen anywhere because we were looking into each other eyes and it can be anywhere. (Twilight Zone music) I meant more romantically Robby cuz I’m Pisces and I’m not a Twilight Zone kid until I’m watching the marathon at either Memorial Day or Labor Day. Alright I’ll get back to you and stop interrupting
Vicki: I’m just going to skip forward to the end of date night. And when I thought we’d had a great time. We’d laughed a lot. We went to a comedy show – we don’t have to go into that – but … like let’s do something we’ve never done in LA.
John: That was not the same night.
Vicki: This was at the end of night of the Academy Awards party.
John: Yes, but not the chocolate sundae.
Vicki: Yes that was the same night. That was the same night.
Vicki: The one – one long night. (J&V start singing One Long Night) We sing very well.
Treva: Can we get … can we cut to the … you know.
Vicki: Yes, what I’m trying to say .. no wait, wait, wait, … I’ll tell you the romantic ending. The romantic ending of this night. We had that one kind of fake kiss and then the kind of disappointing kiss out in front of Barry’s house and then I’m thinking “OK this went really well, a real date and had a great time.” He walks me out of the car. We walk up the driveway to this little apartment where I’m staying and
Treva: Drum roll
Vicki: And he shakes my hand.
Treva: Oh I love that. That’s so sexy.
Vicki: And I was like Oooo Kkkkk That’s OK Well thanks Goodnight
Robby: What a gentleman.
Vicki: Thought cloud over my head is like
John: Over HER head
Vicki: What went wrong?
John: When I got back into my Ford Exploder I got in there and I felt like “Oh my god, I’ve done something different.” And to me I thought like this … cuz I would always try to get into the pants of whoever and I didn’t on purpose and I thought that was a different thing for me to do because she was extra special. And that’s how I was viewing it. I didn’t know. I thought she that was cool but she did not because I mean I always kiss or hug hello but because this was an official date I just … like that and she thought what you thought and I thought I did good and then
Vicki: Something went horribly wrong and I missed it. Where did I miss that signal. Cuz I’d known him now – at that point – for 30 some year and every time I’d seen him he’d given me a really sweet hug and …
John: And kiss on the cheek
Vicki: and or try look down my top.
Vicki: You did too.
John: I was taller. Just happen naturally when you look down at someone. Oh s*** Let me zip up.
Vicki: So we parted with very different ideas of how things went.
John: And so I did after market call
Vicki: Actually I called you first
John: Yes and I said I was going to do this after market call …. What’s that called?
Vicki: The morning after call
John: Morning after call Vicki on aisle four. I’ll take one! No, kidding
Vicki: So now we can fast forward six months. So now I’m thinking . . .
Robby: Think is almost happening in real time
Vicki: No kidding Nothing going on, nothing happened. That’s a huge disappointment but whatever. I’m over it because I’m single by choice and I’m OK. It’s OK
John: And then what happen?
Vicki: And then I find out from Susan that “Hey the Beach Boys are playing in Biloxi next weekend” and like they’re all going “Yeah, we’re all on the list. DaDaDa” It’s like oh how interesting that John didn’t call me and invite me to the show. Well I hope you all have a really good time. And I am in my head thinking “OK I’m going to do something here. I’m going to call John and go ‘Hey I know you’re coming to Biloxi next weekend and it’s so close to New Orleans but I can’t come to the show. I’m so sorry. I know you really wanted me to but I can’t.’ “ And I’m having this little fantasy conversation in my head, my cell phone rings or a cell phone, my cell phone rings and it’s John. And he’s calling me from the airport saying, “Hi, I just landed in New Orleans and everyone is getting in the van and going to Biloxi but I kind of don’t want to do that and we have another extra day and could you come pick me up?” And I’m like well
John: Did I say that?
Vicki: You did.
John: Because I remember.
Vicki: I said yes but I’m not coming to the airport. So you can take a shuttle to the Hilton or whatever
John: Yes and I took the shuttle and you picked me up at the Hilton
Vicki: Yes, and I’m thinking . . .
Treva: Do you know this story?
Robby: No, I don’t think anybody know this story.
John: Nobody knows this.
Vicki: Nobody knows this story. So I did pick him up and again we had a great time. We went out and we . . .
John: This is the trip I fell in love with her for sure.
Treva and Robby: Awwww
Vicki: And we were driving to Biloxi, Mississippi
Treva: And then it happened.
John: Driving to Biloxi with a blind dog and when we got to … I just have to tell this funny story … I called ahead. I said, “Can we … are dogs allowed. It’s a blind dog.”
Vicki: A very old dog who is …
John: Old I mean she has to pick it up to walk across the street. A little hot dog thing.
Vicki: A Wheaten Terrier not a hot dog
John: No, Hot Dog was the name of the dog in Archies
Vicki: Cultural reference missed
John: And so they said yes and so we get to the hotel and we’re dragging this little dog through the lobby and everybody is yelling at us “You can’t have that dog in here” And I said, “You said we could have a blind dog in here.” Well they thought a seeing eye dog
Vicki: And I’m wearing my Ray Bans
John: And she’s like walking away from me and we get there and I think she’s going to come to the show and we put the dog in the room and go down to sound check and we never got that far. She had to turn around and go home because the dog was howling down the hallway. So, that was the end of that but on the trip there we are listening to music. She is playing me cuts from a new album and played me a song that made me cry and I just like now I am just mooning over her.
Vicki: And I played Single By Choice
John: In the car, yes you did.
Vicki: And you said “Don’t play that for anyone who is interested in you” you said.
Vicki: It’s like no problem
John: And so, and then I even said, “Is it OK to court you?”
Vicki: You called me later
John: I called you later and I said “How many pullups do I have to do to win you?”
Treva: I think you took a page out of the Robby Scharf courtship book, play book. Cuz that’s kind of how, that’s what he did. Very gentlemanly.
Robby: I ask her if I could tell her I loved her.
Treva: He ask me if he could kiss me.
Treva: Then ask permission to say I love you.
Vicki: Also nice
John: You needed to take a note out of MY play book and cut some of that shout out. Just kidding.
Vicki: (can’t understand) marriage #3
Robby: I was also breaking my rules.
Treva: It’s very heart warming, right?
John: Great Do something different, right? Hey Robby and I are talking here.
Treva: Because it’s easy, so easy to be the horn dog you know and which there is a time and place for that, by the way. To grab your woman and ererer
Vicki: Of course
Treva: But there is something so incredibly sexy
Treva: Winning and just old fashioned . . .
John: I know. I grew up with Ozzie and Harriett, Donna Reed, pearls, house dresses. When I met her she had pearls and house dresses and ripped hems which was just so punk rock
Vicki: No pearls
Robby: Any way, it’s an incredible story
Treva: Alright so then you get married
John: Well no
Vicki: Actually you could say yeah because once he started properly courting and we’ll say it that way because John had to fly in every day off and I have to say this meant a lot This mean a lot to me because I knew perfectly well those days off he wanted to be in Ojai with his children. And there were several of those miss (can’t understand). This was a big deal. So but he did.
Treva: There’s so many questions.
Vicki: But he did fly in and we spent a lot of time together but now time has shrunk and become very concentrated. Once he made that phone call and said to me … the words, you said, “How many pullups do I have to do?” You also said, “Are you seeing anyone?” and I said, now it’s my turn to be coy, I said, “There are some men I’m interested in” Absolutely
John: That’s when I said, “How many pullups do I have to beat them out of” because that’s how Alfalfa on Spanky and Our Gang tried to get Darla’s affection.
Vicki: And then you said, “I’m going to be your boyfriend for a long, long time.”
Treva: Oh my gosh
Vicki: So I thought that’s either the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard or the scariest stalker thing I’ve ever heard. I went with sweet.
Robby: Good idea
Vicki: And then right after than he started flying in a lot and spent almost every weekend not weekend because you didn’t have that many weekends. But anytime you had off.
John: Fortunately our lives allow us not to have to deal with the weekends. Week days are weekends sometimes for us.
Vicki: From that point we can advance six months we were married because it was really, really fast. We got engaged.
Robby: Why wait at that point, right?
Vicki: Of course and that was that conversation you ask about with Susan. Did she ever say I’m going to kill you. I remember having a very serious conversation with her saying I’m not sure. “Wow what’s the matter?” I think I’m going to marry your brother and I burst into tears and she was like “OK what?” and he had not even ask me yet. I wasn’t ready. I kept saying “Don’t have that conversation.” And then finally on my birthday, I was emotionally ready for the conversation and luckily he was too.
John: I mean I had a ring in a box that I had to change the box twice cuz it was so manhandled from before I ever asked and I wanted it to be the right time and right place. So funny.
Robby: We need to go to break
John: This is the best place to stop. We love you all out there. Keep listening and we’ll be right back.
Robby: We are back with John Cowsill and Vicki Peterson
Treva: So we’ve gotten the story and we got the lay of the land
Vicki: Yes Backstory
Treva: So how you guys met. So let’s bring it up to date. Current day. Questions about … let’s talk about the music business obviously not known for marriage longevity
Vicki: Very true
Treva: It’s a business not really… right?
Vicki: It’s not set up for that
Treva: Not set up for that. So how did you do it? How do you do it? And I’m going to open it up. How does anybody do A. a long distance and B a challenging field to be in. How do you keep it connected and close?
Vicki: I think the reason that it has worked for us is because of who we each are and also we are at this time in our lives. And as I said before, I was single for many years in my life. I’m the guy to be at home and to be happy to be at home. I can be very busy. I am doing a lot of things. It’s not really that big of a deal except we’re so much better in the room and in recent years it has felt more important to be in the room as much as we can. And when we first got married we said we wouldn’t be apart for more than 2 weeks. That lasted about 2 weeks. But we try.
John: We did that for the first few years and then my work kept becoming more and more. Kept adding more and more dates and
Vicki: He travels a lot and let’s just say playing with The Beach Boys you’ve done up to 185 dates a year. So really he’s gone a lot.
John: But through those years kids, Vicki, everybody comes out so we try to make it work if I can’t get out in 2 weeks she’d fly out in 2 weeks.
Vicki: Family vacations in the summer.
John: Definitely was taxing on everybody though. But because like Vicki said, she’s used to touring. She knows what that life is like and she was good at being single by choice. So, like she said, in the early part being home is normal for her, but it’s wearing thin now as we get older and we just want to share the space. You don’t even say anything to the person you are sharing the air. I know you’re downstairs right now. I smell the potpourri of you making something in the kitchen and it’s just the most calming effect. And I can’t wait to walk through the door where in previous times in my life I would have to count to 10 and I’d have to wonder what I’m going to be walking into so.
Treva: Advice for couples who have long distance relationships or
Robby: Or actually singles that are in this business that do want to be in a relationship
Vicki: Those are two really different questions
John: And I don’t have experience in either one
Vicki: You’ve never been single long enough.
John: I’ve never been single. I mean not long enough for sure.
Vicki: I don’t know what its…. Well I have been on the road and single because my temperament is not to do a lot of hook up culture, you know. That just never worked for me. So . . .
John: And the social media thing has just gotten huge since the conception of my starting in this business.
Vicki: Well technology has helped in a way because Skype and Facetime is better than a phone call and a phone call is better than nothing. Is better than a letter. I remember when . . .
John: I feel like half a six pence
Vicki: I mean we started touring in the day when you would make a long distance phone call home to your loved one.
John: And it would sound like this talk (static sound)
Vicki: Hi uh uh can you hear me? Can you hear me? OK Hi
John: That was a long distance phone call back then
Vicki: Then you get the . . .
John: Wow I’m amazed I can hear you. What?
Vicki: But then you’d also get the ‘I love you.’
Robby: Sounds dead
Vicki: I love you too
John: That cell phone!
Vicki: No That was long distance phone calls
John: Oh possibly
John: I used to not want to talk to people and I’d turn the buzz on the channel on the TV and get on the regular phone “I can’t talk, I’m walking down the …”
Vicki: So yes technology has definitely helped, so I would say use all those tools if you can’t connect in person. It’s obvious. It’s just not … it’s never as good. It’s just not going to be as good.
Robby: So what challenges are you currently facing in terms of not being together. Is that the biggest challenge of just not being able to spend the kind of time you want to spend together?
Vicki: Um yes, but the .. in that time share moment … the other thing I find is that the communication changes a lot. And as John has said, he doesn’t really like the phone. He likes to be able to see me even if I’m literally propping up the phone in the kitchen and I’m emptying the dish washer.
John: I’ll stare at the ceiling in a house because it changes the conversation. To see somebody breathing changes. You have a visual already and you’re at home when I’m speaking to you or wherever if I’m looking at her face. It’s like I … it sparks so many things to talk about. When you’re on the phone it’s “How you doin’? What are you doin’?” and you’re looking and you’re trying to envision ….
Vicki: Because you are in your world and not …
John: Focused on the conversation past the regular everyday questions you ask and you really have something to say.
John: I just talked to you hours ago so I don’t really have that much to add to it other than I love you and hi I’m just checking in. I hope you’re having a good day, you know.
Vicki: And on that point, that’s the other issue if there is one. And that’s when you’re on the road, you have a scheduled day. You have loading at 2, sound check at 5. You have a show at 7 or 8, whatever. You’re evening is done 10:30-11:00 whatever.
John: Hi, I love you. I got to go.
Vicki: Running on stage. Got to go. And when you are at home and you on different times and you trying to share some information. Maybe just something that happen that day. Something completely mandarin, but you don’t get to connect at those convenient times cuz it’s never going to be a good time for me to call him. I often just wait for him to call me cuz I don’t really know what he’s doing.
John: I know. I don’t like that.
Vicki: it’s kind of sharing the minutia of the day like “Oh look I had 17 hummingbirds on my feeder today.” Or whatever it was. It might be something stupid but you don’t get to connect … but we don’t’ get to share that very often and that becomes, for me that is becoming wearing.
John: It’s like being on the road, I don’t want to go site-see without you. I don’t want see anything. I don’t care and . . .
Robby: I understand
John: Hey guess what I got to today. It’s like who wants to … I don’t want. Did that with the kids too. It’s like god it’s not fun to do this stuff without you.
Treva: I have another question, really for Vicki but you just made me think of something … s*** there goes my mind. I think it’s different getting together later in life. It could have been different had you were younger in this business, in the earlier days might have been different
John: It wouldn’t have worked out. Not for me.
Robby: The timing was . . .
John: I needed to evolve. Well I didn’t know that I did, but I have. And we talk about “Oh too bad we weren’t younger.” I would have destroyed it. I would have made a frickin mess with my bad habits.
Robby: True He was young.
John: My lessons I’ve learned along that road were I’d go through hell fire again to be where I am today.
Treva: OK so what wisdom have you gained now you’re marriage number … you know,
John: One point - One to three
Treva: You had a life, full life
Treva: And now you’re together and what wisdom, how . . . Let’s just talk about what you’ve learned since being together. About love and commitment and partnership.
John: Awwww To be the right person. You know I see couple break up and the blame game comes down and you know “You’re horrible for this” That horrible person. There might be somebody for whom that’s not so horrible to them. It’s not their bottom line or … So really what I think I’ve learned is ask questions elder (???) You learn what is acceptable for you behavior, you know. Some people can deal with someone who has PMS. I don’t know that I could because I’m so gun-shy of getting yelled at or being name called or what’s going on and I … And Vicki never makes me – well not never – cuz she has ____ behind windows. I often wonder like “What are you thinking?” But really I know what’s she’s thinking when . . . I’m confused talking.
Robby: Well you’ve developed wisdom and tolerance for things that you may have not been tolerant of when you were younger.
John: No, well I just found … well I’m tolerant with the right person.
Robby: Correct It’s the combination.
Vicki: It’s the combination
John: People say marriage is a lot of hard work. At first year were a lot of hard work. I don’t believe that. It shouldn’t be that. That’s BS and don’t buy into that.
Vicki: It should not be work.
John: I mean working through something, yes, but let it … The beauty of our relationship … Driving is the worse thing, of course
Vicki: He drives the worse.
John: That is our worse thing
Vicki: That’s our achilles heel
John: We don’t like each others driving.
Vicki: Our driving style are very different.
John: She’s very cautious. I’m extra dangerous. So just let me say that. But the thing is when something happens, there’s no holding on to what just happen. It’s like we’re onto the next thing now. No one is thinking about (can’t understand) I’ll stuff it back here. There’s no stuffing of resentment.
Vicki: We don’t hold grudges.
John: And that’s so important. Effort
Vicki: So I think that’s one thing. Don’t hold grudges.
John: I’m so appreciative of that.
Vicki: You got to find laughter, own your own role in the situation.
John: We laugh a lot.
Vicki: Everyone is … Nobody is blameless there is combination of good and bad and we happen to be the good combination.
John: Good Bad I’m the hot-head. She’s the one and I always grab her and I say, “Oh my god, you’re not the end” because I know when she’s not saying something back to me that I’ve gone too far with my s*** and I always look at her and say, “I’m so sorry. You are not my enemy. You are my friend.”
Robby: We have to wrap up the show.
John: That’s all the time we have right now. We’ll be back next week when we hear Vicki say . . .
Vicki: I think we need to do Part 2.
Robby: There’s so much here.
Vicki: Who wants to … a lot of stuff.
John: If you’re interested. If you’re not we’re fine
Vicki: We’re not adverse to coming back if you’re interested.
Treva: We’re totally bored. Can’t you tell
Vicki: Well do you want us or not. Coming back
Robby: So what’s on tap for both of your right now. Johnny?
John: Miller High Life
Vicki: John’s going back on the road in a few days.
John: Five days
Robby: Where’s your next gig?
Vicki: Coming up on some fun co-travel. I call them conjugal visits actually.
Robby: Very nice
Vicki: Yes where I’ll be spending 48 hours in London with my husband.
Robby: Aw how great
Vicki: He’ll be working the whole time, but I will be there. I’ll be having a good time. And then we have a little trip to Italy.
John: You saying I’m not having a good time? Yeah Go to Tuscany
Robby: Oh wow
Vicki: Yeah so we get to do these fun little trips and that keeps us sane.
Robby: Well we loved having you guys here and . . .
Vicki: Thank you for having us
Treva: It’s been fantastic
Vicki: Great topic and I’m glad you guys are doing this show
Treva: Well you guys were at are wedding or you were
Vicki: I was. I was representing.
Robby: Extended family and
John: That’s all the time we have and we’ll be back after this message with the next show whatever the h*** it is.
Treva: I love you. Here’s to love.
John: I love you Robby I love you Treva I love you Vicki
Treva: It’s so great making love happen at a distance, on the road
Robby: Everybody have a great week and we’ll be back next week.