Peelander-Z from outer space [with video]

Peelander-Z from outer space [with video]

Sometimes you just want to sit down and relax while someone strums an acoustic guitar and sings. If that’s your inclination, you probably shouldn’t go see Peelander-Z at the Outback Lodge on Wednesday, March 5.

Red, yellow and blue: Peelander-Z will blend anime, professional wrestling and Power Rangers at their March 5 show at Outback Lodge.

“Our music is just 10 percent,” says Peelander Yellow, a.k.a. Kengo Hioki, the band’s guitarist and lead singer. “Ninety percent is more fun.” So what’s “more fun”? “We want to mix Power Rangers, wrestling and a Japanese anime show on the stage,” he explains.

When Feedback talked with Hioki, he gave us two versions of the band’s origin. One is that the three members, all from Japan, met in New York City while attending school and decided to start a punk rock band. The other is that they hail from the Z area of Planet Peelander, their bright primary color outfits are actually their skin, and that the group’s goal is to make people happy so they can “eat their smiles.”  It’s easy to guess which is true, but it’s also easy to see which makes for better entertainment.

And the Peelanders are no strangers to entertainment. They’ve appeared on Comedy Central’s “Upright Citizens Brigade,” Spike TV’s “MXC: Most Extreme Challenge” and VH1’s “Best Week Ever” and have performed at anime conventions as well as rock clubs. This past June they even claimed their first professional wrestling title after pinning HCW wrestler Nick Mayberry, who instigated a fight with the band at the Florida Supercon, a comic book and anime convention.

The band is also fond of human bowling, a memorable part of their performances where the members hurl themselves into bowling pins. “It’s funny,” says Hioki. “We give our equipment to the audience and then we go down on the floor and do the human bowling. And we give everybody something like a cow bell or frying pan, and they hit the cow bell, and we do the human bowling.”

Video of Peelander-Z.

And then there’s the music. “Our music is just two or three chords and easy, like pop punk rock,” says Hioki. “Siouxsie, MC5, The Ramones, Guitar Wolf from Japan.”

Charlottesville’s own beloved costume-rockers The Falsies will open this Wednesday’s show (a perfect fit, we think), so come early for even more raucous fun.

How should you prepare for Peelander-Z’s performance? “We are going to ask everybody, ‘How would you like to cook your steak?’ and you are going to have to answer, ‘Medium rare!’” says Hioki. “And if you still have a Halloween costume, bring yourself in that. And then come on stage and hit the cow bell.”

Don’t jump

Gossip travels fast in the digital age. And it can also morph away from the truth like a hyped-up game of “telephone.” When some of Van Halen’s road crew dropped into Rapture the night before the band’s scheduled show, a story quickly spread around the Internet that the band members themselves had been at the club, and that the postponement of the February 22 John Paul Jones Arena date was due to a fight in the establishment involving 16-year-old bassist (and son of Eddie) Wolfgang Van Halen. This was not true, we quickly learned, as Rapture’s Mike Rodi confirmed that it was indeed just the crew that stopped by. The Van Halen boys were in fact still in Florida, the band’s agent Janie Liszewski told The Daily Progress.

And Florida, not Rapture, seems to be the place to look for possible reasons for postponement of the band’s JPJ gig, as well as a February 25 date in Georgia: In a video posted on fan website from the band’s February 20 show in Fort Lauderdale, Eddie Van Halen throws down his guitar at the end of “Jump,” and, as he walks off stage, pushes over a stack of amps, nearly hitting David Lee Roth.

Van Halen performing "Jump" on February 20.

Is Eddie off the wagon? Upset over ex-wife Valerie Bertinelli revealing to Oprah that she cheated on him? Or just frustrated by a sub par performance? Whatever the reason, we hope this doesn’t spell bigger trouble for the band’s reunion tour, which Rolling Stone called the “Miracle of the Year” in its year-end issue.

Luckily, fans can now rest a bit easier, because the band has rescheduled their JPJ show for March 11. For fun, though, we’ll leave you with our own fabricated rumor: Did you hear that Wolfgang ran off to join Cirque du Soleil?

Got the scoop on Van Halen? Write to

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