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Peelander Z: out of this world

Punk from another planet: That’s the fact of life for Peelander-Z.
The aliens have landed!
Image by Daisuke Yoshida
The aliens have landed!

Y’all think Riff Raff is weird?

Then you probably haven’t gotten a piece of Japanese comic book punk band Peelander-Z.

They’re aliens who grew up in Japan—really nice fun-loving aliens, but far from earthly. 

 “No, no, we are not actually human beings,” said Peelander-Yellow, who’s actually a gentleman named Kengo Hioki. “We come from the planet Peelander.  If you’re looking for it, you’ll never find it — it’s in the fifth dimension. Don’t check Google.”

It’s a nonsensical existence, and they dig it. 

“What’s the meaning of the planet — nothing, it’s just a name,” Yellow said.  “There’s so many pretty girls and cool kids there.” 

(To be clear, Peelander-Z aren’t of extraterrestrial origin, but good luck trying to get one of them to admit it.)

With a kind of half-acid trip, half-“Reservoir Dogs” feel, the four band members go by color-based names. There’s Peelander-Green, Peelander-Purple, Peelander-Yellow and Peelander-Pink. 

It’s impossible to forget the fact — they all dress like rave-going Power Rangers, with an array of crazy patterned tights, plunging v-neck shirts and giant helmet masks.

Live shows continue the epic craziness with human bowling, giant drumsticks, wrestling, encouraged audience participation and smashed chairs. 

Yellow does karate kicks on stage. Apparently he’s so flexible he kicked his own tooth out during a Bonnaroo performance.

“It’s a happy party-time,” Yellow said.  “You’re going to see yellow spiders and pink ants.  We are ‘Yo Gabba Gabba.’”

For as strange as that “Yo Gabba Gabba” reference sounds, they are partially family-friendly — at one point they actually released a children’s album. 

They’re bat doo-doo nuts and it’s really hard not to love them for it because there doesn’t seem to be ill will harbored in any part of their anime-loving, fifth dimensional personalities. 

“I like every city.  Every country is different but there’s the same happy spirits everywhere,” Yellow said. “We want to say hello everywhere.”

How they say hello varies from album to album. 

They’ll display elements of J-pop at one moment, then go straight hair metal the next, all with the bouncy aplomb of individuals who grew up in a lower gravity environment. 

Peelander-Z’s co-manager Mike Dickinson recalls how his kids, six and four at the time, influenced him to pursue the band.  That’s how wide a demographic they cater to.

It doesn’t matter to English-speakers that their lyrics are partially in Japanese — though if you speak it, you’ll notice Yellow’s penchant for making bi-lingual puns. 

Their upcoming show at the Turf Club will likely be visually, mentally and physically stimulating. After all, they’ve traveled through other dimensions to be here. 


What:  Peelander-Z
When: 9 p.m., Thursday
Where: Turf Club, 1601 W. University Ave., St. Paul
Cost: $10
Age: 21+

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