Action Skulls

Action Skulls is a formidable musical project combining the many talents of Vicki Peterson of The Bangles, her husband, John Cowsill (drummer of Cowsills and the Beach Boys) and Bill Mumy, actor/multi-instrumentalist who also, a few years back, portrayed young Will Robinson in the Lost in Space television series.

Recently, Action Skulls managed to release a new record, A Different World, borne out of the COVID-19 pandemic. An album entirely inspired by and regarding the pandemic, it features songs tackling that very subject, though with a lighthearted approach.

“It’s not a collection of bummer songs!,” said Mumy when describing A Different World, the second full-length album from Action Skulls (the first being 2017’s Angels Hear).


Vicki Peterson, John Cowsill, Bill Mumy, and Rick Rosas. 

Bill Mumy, Vicki Peterson, and John Cowsill


Blood on the Saddle

Blood on the Saddle began as a musical idea in 1981 while Greg Davis was playing guitar in a Hollywood punk rock band called Dead Hippie. He saw Gun Club play with the Cramps and X and was inspired by their intense fusion of Delta blues with punk rock. He met Annette ZIlinskas at a Blasters gig and they began singing Johnny Cash-June Carter style duets together. The couple also started a personal relationship. Annette was playing bass in a 1960s band called the Bangs and they used to listen to DJ Rodney Bingenheimer play their respective bands on his KROQ radio show. In 1982, Davis moved to New Orleans and played dobro in a bluegrass duo on Bourbon Street while Zilinskas continued to play bass in the ever more successful Bangs. Davis then stayed in Nashville for awhile absorbing traditional country music in the lower Broad district before moving back to Hollywood, to form a band whose purpose was to violently fuse traditional American music with punk rock.[2]

In early 1983, Davis began rehearsing at Hully Gully studio with Ron Botelho on upright bass and Hermann Senac on drums and vocals. It was Senac's idea to name the band after the traditional cowboy song that an animatronic bear named Big Al sang in the Country Bear Jamboree at Disneyland. They started playing shows as a trio while Zilinskas was on tour in the re-named Bangles. When she returned she joined Davis singing in the band. In summer 1983, the Bangles signed to CBS, while Zilinskas chose to sing and also play guitar and harmonica in Blood on the Saddle.[1] They played more and more shows around Los Angeles, while KROQ played their songs on the radio.

In early 1984, the band contributed two songs to the Enigma Records compilation album Hell Comes To Your House. This was followed by their self-titled debut album Blood On The Saddle[1] on the Minutemen's New Alliance label, produced in part by Chris D. of the Flesheaters. Davis and Zilinskas signed a publishing deal with Peer/Southern and the band spent the rest of the year touring America and Canada.

In 1985, Blood on the Saddle was provisionally signed to MCA Records, but after six months their demo was rejected. The band continued playing shows in California while recording their second album Poison Love.[1] This was released in early 1986 on Chameleon in North America, Stiff and New Rose Records in the UK and Europe, respectively. This was followed by tours of America, Canada, the UK and Europe for the rest of 1986. Poison Love, was finally released in early 1986,[1] on the US based Chameleon label and the New Rose label in Europe.

In early 1987, the band recorded with engineer/producer Dan Matovina and Ethan James what was to be the original line-up's third and last album Fresh Blood.[1] This was released in North America and on New Rose in Europe, but the band had broken up by that time.

Blood on the Saddle became one of the most influential roots-punk outfits, whose juiced-up anthems inspired the cowpunk genre and paved the way for the No Depression movement and its related alt-country/Americana revivals. They are a pioneering band in the genre. 


Annette Zilinskas of Blood on the Saddle


Rhythm Guitar and lead vocalist of Blood on the Saddle, Annette Zilinskas and lead guitarist Greg Davis performing live. 


Continental Drifters

The band was formed in Los Angeles in 1991, initially consisting of Carlo Nuccio (drums, vocals), Ray Ganucheau (guitars, banjo, vocals), Mark Walton (bass), Gary Eaton (guitars, vocals) and Danny McGough (keyboards). The group gigged regularly at Raji's in LA, and were often joined by Susan Cowsill and Vicki Peterson on backing vocals and guitars, and Peter Holsapple (keyboards, guitars), though these three players were not yet official members.

Holsapple was asked to join the band, but initially declined, offering instead to produce the group's debut album. The resulting disc was not released at the time; after it was completed, Holsapple, Cowsill and Peterson all joined the band officially, while McGough dropped out.

Led by New Orleans natives Nuccio and Ganucheau, most of the band moved to New Orleans over a span of several months during 1993/94. Eaton was the only member who didn't make the move, and who consequently left the band. However, shortly after the move Ganucheau developed health problems, and was forced to drop out, being replaced by Robert Maché. This line up (Nuccio/Walton/Cowsill/Peterson/Holsapple/Maché) recorded the band's first issued album, Continental Drifters, in 1994.

Nuccio left the band after the tour for the first album. He was replaced by new drummer Russ Broussard, and this line up issued two albums: Vermilion (1998) and Better Day (2001).

Susan Cowsill and Russ Broussard left the group in early 2002. The remaining players drafted drummer John Maloney and the returning Ray Ganucheau to continue for several gigs, but at this point the group essentially wound down as a continuing concern.

In 2003, the band's unissued debut album was finally released, and a Continental Drifters line-up of Gary Eaton, Ray Ganucheau, Carlo Nuccio, Peter Holsapple, and Mark Walton played a gig to celebrate.

On April 28, 2009, the group reunited for the fifth annual Threadhead Patry in New Orleans, LA during Jazz Fest daze between, followed by a show on May 1 at Carrollton Station, playing to a sold-out crowd.



Continental Drifters

 Robert Mache, Russ Brousard, Mark Walton, Susan Cowsill, Vicki Peterson, Peter Holsapple - Photo by Rick Olivier

Continental Drifters on the porch. 


Kindred Spirit

When the Bangles broke up in 1989, Debbi Peterson formed Smashbox with Gina Schock (of the Go-Go's), Sara Lee (of the B-52's) and Wendy & Lisa. By 1991, the group was reduced to Peterson and Schock, who signed with I.R.S. Records and renamed themselves Kindred Spirit.

After recording with producer Humberto Gatica, Schock departed and was replaced by Siobhan Maher, who had just split with her group, the River City People. In late 1992, Kindred Spirit released the single "Here in My Eyes" in Europe and went on tour as the opening act for Joan Armatrading.[citation needed]

Their debut album was slated for release in early 1993 and included material co-written by Peterson and Schock. Schock sued, filing a lawsuit to "regain control of her material"[citation needed] The lengthy legal battle put the album on hold and it wasn't released until 1995, preceded by a single, "Ask Me No Questions".

The album, produced by Peterson and Maher, is a collection of acoustic and pop-rock songs. As with the Bangles tradition, Peterson and Maher wrote their songs separately, singing lead vocals in their own songs and harmony vocals on the other's. The only song co-written by Schock included in the album was the single "Here in My Eyes".

In December 1995, the band's song "Christmas Son" was included on a Christmas compilation album.

In 1996, IRS Records went bankrupt and the duo parted ways. Debbi Peterson rejoined the Bangles in 1999, who re-recorded "Ask Me No Questions" for their 2003 album Doll Revolution. Siobhan Maher released a solo album, Immigrant Flower, in 2002.

Debbi Peterson and Siobhan Maher

Kindred Spirit


In 1989, Brad Laner had been listening to a new genre of music called Shoegaze. The very popular musician was involved in avant-improv bands such as Debt of Nature (at the age of 15), Steaming Coils (at the age of 18)—which also featured members of Los Angeles Free Music Society—and most notably the experimental tribal post-punk outfit Savage Republic,[2] which, according to Pitchfork Media, foreshadowed many ideas later explored in the post-rock genre.

Brad called up Annette Zilinskas and she came over to his apartment. In one day, she wrote the lyrics to four songs. Two would become hits and one was on the Crow soundtrack called, "Aruca". This would be the third band for Zilinskas that she helped co-create or found that had major impacts on the music scene in L.A. In 1981 she was the founding bass player of The Bangles and part of the Paisley Underground scene. In 1983, she was lead vocalist and helped start up with her boyfriend, "Blood on the Saddle". They would go on to inspire and pionner the Cow-Punk genre and lead to the No Depression movement and the revival of Alt-Country and Americana music. Medicine was the kind of noise, as Brad took elements of shoegaze with noise; as an early Noise Pop genre of music. 

Because of contractional obligations from being on a major label with The Ringling Sisters, Annette had to drop out of Medicine in 1992. She was replaced by was replaced by former Fourwaycross singer Beth Thompson. On the basis of the original demo, the band was signed to Creation Records, becoming the first American band to do so. In America, Medicine signed to Rick Rubin's American Recordings label in 1992. With a signature guitar tone, created by running Laner's guitar through a Yamaha 4-track recorder, Medicine's music managed to distinguish itself from some of the more ambiguous endeavors of the shoegaze movement.

Their first album, Shot Forth Self Living, was released in 1992. It received airplay on college radio and coverage in alternative newspapers, with even a few of their videos played on MTV.

Their second album, The Buried Life, was released the following year, and gained Medicine more mainstream attention, including coverage in magazines like Creem.

For their third album, Her Highness (1995), Matt Devine and Justin Meldal-Johnsen replaced Putnam and Ruscha, respectively. The band broke up soon after, and Laner formed supergroup Lusk.

In 2017, original vocalist Annette Zilinskas and guitar player Matt Devine joined Brad Laner to create the album, "Scarred for life". A collection of cover songs. 

Pitchfork has hailed Medicine as the closest thing to being an American answer to My Bloody Valentine. Medicine was a force in the early Noise Pop/Shoegaze genres in America. 



Annette Zilinskas of Medicine


Brad Laner co-creator of Medicine. 

Brad Laner and Medicine performing live. 

The Psycho Sisters

The Psycho Sisters are New Orleans resident Susan Cowsill (the Cowsills, the Continental Drifters and a solo career) and former New Orleans resident Vicki Peterson (the Bangles, the Go-Go’s and the Continental Drifters).

Peterson is married to Cowsill’s older brother, John, who’s also a member of 1960s and beyond pop vocal group The Cowsills. This makes the Psycho Sisters real-life sisters-in-law.



Peterson and Cowsill first performed as a duo in 1991. These many years later they’ve released their album debut, “Up on the Chair, Beatrice.” Album release shows are set for Baton Rouge Thursday, Sept. 4, at the Red Dragon Listening Room, and New Orleans Friday, Sept. 12, at Chickie Wah Wah.

As The Psycho Sisters, Peterson and Cowsill’s voices blend naturally together in the 10 “Beatrice” songs, most of which are Peterson and Cowsill compositions. The duo also does a gorgeous remake of The Cowsills’ classic “Heather Says” and a charming take on the Harry Nilsson-penned Monkees song “Cuddly Toy.”

Busy through the years with the Bangles, Cowsills, Go-Go’s and Continental Drifters, Peterson and Cowsill nevertheless never forgot about The Psycho Sisters. Finally, in 2012, they recorded their first album at Dockside Studio near Lafayette.

Susan Cowsill and Vicki Peterson 

Susan Cowsill and Vicki Peterson performing live in 2023, as part of a Big Star Tribute. 


The group was founded as an informal, spoken-word enterprise by several L.A. rock women in need of creative alternatives to their regular bands. Among the original Sisters were Johnette Napolitano of Concrete Blonde, Texacala Jones of Tex & the Horseheads and Iris Berry of the Lame Flames.

The lineup changed through the years and Annette Zilinskas joined. The band got signed to legendary Lou Adler's label. They put out several albums, including 60 Watt Reality, Cherries in the Snow (an album they donated 100 percent of the profits to an orphanage and Rock for choice) and After the Circus. The band would work the L.A. Scene and would still perform spoken word mixed in, with the songs they did. Members of the Ringling Sisters included: Iris Berry, Deborah Patino, Pleasant Gehman, Texacala Jones, Annette Zilinskas, and Debbie Dexter-Shaffer




Annette Zilinskas and Debbie Dexter-Shaffer

The Ringling Sisters performing live.

Annette Zilinskas and Iris Berry


Susanna Hoffs & Matthew Sweet "Under the Covers"

"In the real world, Sid 'n Susie are Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs - two navigators in the pop musical current, current tense vocally and as tunesmiths with prime craft of their own write. They've bagged the best of the '60s with uncanny insight. I know. I was there but can remember," asserted Van Dyke Parks in his introduction to 2006's Under the Covers Vol. 1. On that volume, Sid 'n Susie revisited some of their favorite songs of the 1960s, largely staying faithful to the original productions while bringing their own energy and perspective. They followed the first volume up with two more covering the 1970s and 1980s, respectively, and in 2015, Demon's Edsel label brought together these delightful releases with numerous bonus tracks as Completely Under the Covers. One year later, all three original albums were reissued on 180-gram colored vinyl as limited editions for Record Store Day. Now, the trio is back on vinyl (featuring new colors) from Demon alongside a new collection, Under the Covers: The Best of Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs, on two CDs or 180-gram colored LPs.


The individual vinyl reissues for each of the three original titles are beautifully designed in the style of the original CD release. Pressed here on two silver vinyl platters, Under the Covers Vol. 1 found Sweet and Hoffs tackling the boldface names of '60s rock. 

The 2009 Under the Covers Vol. 2 jumped ahead to the 1970s. This volume, pressed on two green LPs, is arguably even more diverse than its predecessor. On the original 16-song CD, Sweet and Hoffs took in power pop.

Vol. 3 (2013) naturally moved onto the 1980s, the decade that saw Hoffs rise to prominence as a member of The Bangles and Sweet make his debut album. (Both artists were on Columbia.) Here, they drew a straight line from the melodic '60s pop to the cool, steely sounds of the "me" decade. Some of the selections are clear throwbacks (XTC's Beatle-esque "Towers of London," The Go-Go's' amped up girl group rock of "Our Lips Are Sealed," the classic balladry of Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne's "Free Fallin'") but most are transformative as Sweet and Hoffs largely eschewed keyboards - perhaps the defining instrument of the 1980s - in favor of jangly guitars and a timeless rock sound.

Susanna Hoffs and Matthew Sweet 

Susanna Hoffs and Matthew Sweet, posing in those super cool sunglasses. 


Susanna Hoffs

Hoffs released her first post-Bangles solo album, When You're a Boy, in 1991. The title comes from a lyric in the David Bowie song "Boys Keep Swinging", a cover of which was included on the album. The album spawned a US Top 40 hit with "My Side of the Bed." In the UK, the single peaked at No. 44.. Hoffs recorded tracks for another album in 1993-94 – including some songs written with Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse – prior to leaving Columbia Records, but the album was not released. In 1996, her second solo album, Susanna Hoffs, was released on London Records. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic praised it as an "infectious and engaging set of melodic pop that also happens to be Hoffs' most introspective and personal record to date". Hoffs self-released her third solo album of new material (and her first full album since 1996), Someday, on her Baroque Folk label on July 17, 2012. It was distributed by Vanguard Records. The tracks include a newly recorded version of "November Sun," which Hoffs had initially recorded for an unrealized album project in 2000. Produced by Mitchell Froom, the album is influenced by the music of the 1960s and features Davey Faragher and Pete Thomas from Elvis Costello's band, the Imposters; as well as keyboards and orchestration by Froom. The 2021 album Bright Lights included covers of songs by Nick Drake, Michael Nesmith and others. Another covers album, The Deep End (2023), included versions of tracks by the Rolling Stones, Squeeze, and Lesley Gore.

Susanna Hoffs

Susanna Hoffs performing live in the 90's. 


Susanna Hoffs from her first solo album, When you're a boy. 

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