From The Desk Of The Psycho Sisters: 29 Palms Inn

Vicki Peterson (lead guitarist of the Bangles) and Susan Cowsill (with her family’s band the Cowsills since the age of eight) are currently tilling the fields as the Psycho Sisters, and it’s given them rare perspective on making music that many lesser talents would lack. Their debut album, Up On The Chair, Beatrice is out now via the RockBeat label. Peterson and Cowsill will be guest editing all week. Read our brand new Q&A with them.


Peterson: I’m a forest person, as opposed to beach or desert. I gravitate to trees—preferably fragrant conifers. Despite this fact, I find myself repeatedly attracted to Joshua Tree National Park, the soul of the Mojave Desert. For years now, I’ve been driving the two hours or so from my home to the Oasis of Mara to sit for a few days in an old adobe cottage at the 29 Palms Inn.

When I first visited there in the ‘80s, the compound seemed like a relic of the ’60s: a hippie enclave, charming and a little run down. A decade or so later, the secret was out and there was a fashion photo shoot going on outside the cottage next to mine. European accents were overheard in the dining room, which now served gourmet meals with organic produce grown in a garden a few yards away.

I go to 29 Palms (which is the town just outside the park’s border) to write, to read, to shake myself up a bit and think, or to not think for a while. Somehow, the starkness and dry heat of the desert has a sort of cleansing effect on me.

Inside the park, at a monument called Cap Rock, is the legendary location where Gram Parsons’ body was taken by friends to be burnt after he’d overdosed in room eight of the nearby Joshua Tree Inn. (And yes, I’ve stayed in that room, too.) Over the years, fans have left graffitied tributes to Gram carved into the boulders at Cap Rock. I was there very recently and found only smooth, recently sandblasted rocks, the markings apparently erased by park workers. I’ve seen that before, too, and I know this: The fans will be back.

Video after the jump.