Who, or what, is Madame Psychosis?

One of the most common questions the band is asked is who, or what, is Madame Psychosis? Though there was some early speculation that Madame Psychosis was either drummer Jaina or singer Michelle, guitar player Bret is here to set the record straight on how the Toronto rock band got its name and what it means.

“Madame Psychosis is a character in a book called ‘Infinite Jest’. It’s a long read. The character Joelle Van Dyne goes by the moniker of Madame Psychosis. She’s a radio host, which I liked. I used to listen to a lot of radio when I was younger just to get new music so I thought it was pretty cool.”


“I really liked the character and when I researched the name I found out that it was a play on words. It was referencing the term “metempsychosis”, which is a Greek term for reincarnation. And when I learned that I was like this is fucking cool. I brought it to the rest of the band and everybody seemed to like it. It stuck so we’ve been using that name ever since”.

Time magazine included the novel in its list of the 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005. The novel touches on many heavy topics, such as substance abuse, addiction recovery, suicide, depression, child abuse, and family relationships. Van Dyne may be disfigured, but that seems to be up for debate in the literary community. She wears a veil to hide her face. Some believe she does this to cover a deformity from an acid accident, while others suggest that she is covering her beauty. In fact, Joelle Van Dyne is called the “The Prettiest Girl of All Time” in the novel.

Anyway, we thought this was friggin’ cool so we wanted to share.

Happy reading,


p.s. Interested in seeing us perform live? Check out our upcoming shows. You can also check out our latest music video for “Crashing Down”. Enjoy!


Photo credit: Claudio Paola

One thought on “Who, or what, is Madame Psychosis?

  1. Pingback: The man behind Madame Psychosis’ poster art | Madame Psychosis Live | Toronto Rock Band

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