While a lot of bands struggle for years to get their first show, for Wookiee & the Rosebuds, that first milestone came early. Maybe a little too early.
“This will be our second show ever,” says Eternity Peckman, a 21-year-old musician who, with her sister Felicity, barely 20, form alternative-leaning singer-songwriter duo Wookiee & the Rosebuds.
The band’s first show was a little over three months ago, Peckman says, and came out of the blue, an opportunity to play on a bill made up mostly of young people just getting their start in music, hosted by Herman’s Hideaway. The opportunity was welcome, but also a bit of a shock.
“Oh, my goodness,” says Peckman, who suffers from stage fright. “I've never been more scared in my life. I've always been horrified at the thought of performing in front of people, so I don't even remember performing most of that show. I remember watching it back, and I was like, 'Oh, I forgot I said that.' There'd be moments in the show where I'd black out because I was so nervous.”
Thankfully, she says, her sister is the complete opposite and thrives off the excitement of performing live. The show went off without a hitch, and the band was asked back for another show on November 8. Peckman says the success of the first show has eased her anxiety.
“I definitely think it should be better, because we have a little more time to put together a set,” she says. “Now that we have that experience and I kind of have an idea how it runs, I think it should be a lot better.”
While the Peckman sisters always enjoyed music, they never discussed starting a band when they were growing up. It took a trip halfway around the world to spark the idea for what would become Wookiee & the Rosebuds.
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“We actually had gone on a trip to South Korea, which is super random,” says Peckman. “My sister and I both really like K-pop.”
While in Korea, the sisters started talking about their own musical interests and realized they shared a lot of the same ambitions.
“We both came to this point in the conversation where we were like, 'Oh, you want to make music, too? That's something that you've actually thought about?' — and right then and there we were like, 'Let's start writing music.' And so out in South Korea about three years ago, we started writing music, and that's kind of what we've been doing since.”
The sudden interest in making music was a pleasant surprise to both the sisters and their kin. Neither had any real musical training outside of high school choir and orchestra.
“We don't come from a musical family,” Peckman says. “We weren't in music lessons from the time we were really young or anything like that. It was more just we both love music, and we know we have a deeper connection with it than other people that we had just met and talked to.”
After tinkering around with songwriting at home and making a few rudimentary recordings, the pair took the leap into performing live, something they weren’t expecting and weren’t entirely prepared for. First, they needed a name. And once again, family ties were the inspiration.
“So Felicity and I, we both have super unruly hair,” says Peckman. “Our stepmom, when she would see hair that had fallen out, she decided to start calling them Wookiees. There was this one particular day a year ago, and she had seen our hair that had fallen out, and there was a jar of dried rosebuds in our bathroom, because that's what we use to scent up the bathroom. She saw it, and she's like, 'There's just Wookiees on the sink, and there's rosebuds. Wookiees and the rosebuds — that would be a really cool band name.'”
The band’s first show came along unexpectedly, according to Peckman, before the sisters thought they were ready. Keeana Martinez, one of two vocalists from another local band, Immigrant’s Child, had attended School of Rock with Felicity, and the two had remained friends. Martinez contacted the sisters to see if they’d like to be added to a show, and the Peckman sisters thought the opportunity was too good to pass up.
“We had never performed before, but we were like, 'Let's just take this opportunity,’’ says Peckman. “We just said 'yes' and went from there somehow.”
Now that they’ve got a show under their belt and another coming up, the pair has been busy writing music together, something Peckman says became easy, eventually.
“It wasn't at first, to be perfectly honest,” she says. “It took a long time to kind of get on the same wavelength, if I had an idea for a song, to get her to capture that vision. Now we've gotten into a much better groove, and it's a really smooth process. I'll write the lyrics, and then I head over to the piano and come up with the main chords based on the notes that I have, and she'll just take the lead from there.”
It helps, she says, that the two are not just sisters, but also best friends.
“She's so incredible,” says Peckman of her sister. “Her and I, we are super, super close. Way closer than a lot of the siblings we've ever met. She can take my very small musical knowledge and make something so beautiful out of it. Sometimes I think my ideas won't come across very well, and then she just pulls something out of thin air. It’s just really cool.”
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And even though it’s early in their musical journey, the Peckman sisters are just glad to have the opportunity to play and learn the ropes together.
“We're honestly just figuring it out as we go,” says Peckman. “We had no connections. We had no one who could really walk us through the process. It's definitely been really interesting trying to teach ourselves how to enter the industry. It's pretty incredible that we've done what we have done in the past few years, because we didn't think we'd ever even get to a show. So the fact that we did and then we got asked back, it was like, there's something really special here.”
Hear Wookiee & the Rosebuds and more favorites from Westword writers on our Westword Staff Picks playlist.