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 magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new Q&A with them.
Peterson: When I was a member of the Continental Drifters, we would sometimes play a game of “Guilty Pleasures,” in which we’d take turns revealing love for a potentially embarrassing song. It takes courage (sometimes of the liquid sort) to stand and declare how much you really, deep down, secretly love a song that you know for a fact is uncool. When a child, I’d been teased by my older sister and many others for being a Cowsills fan. I thought the sound of the sibling-blend harmonies they created was magical. If I’d been playing this game with any other group of people, I’d probably have to include a Cowsills song or two, but my Drifter cohorts were, like me, Cowsills aficionados, and so those songs didn’t qualify. There was no belittlement to be suffered from offering up “Beautiful Beige” or even “We Can Fly.”
John Denver was another story. My sister Pam had excoriated me for buying his records, too, but this time my bandmates seemed to agree. Except for Susan Cowsill. Years later, when Susan was preparing a solo set before a Bangles show in San Francisco, she debated whether or not to include Denver’s “Sunshine On My Shoulders.” Taking a quick survey in the dressing room, Susan found that both Susanna and I were behind her all the way, but my sister Debbi was completely disgusted. Susan ended up not playing the song that night, but I applauded her courage.
Guiltless Pleasures (or songs I am not ashamed to love):
Os Mutantes “Panis Et Circenses”
Peter & Gordon “A World Without Love”
The Cowsills “Poor Baby”
The Left Banke “Walk Away Renee”