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Meet the Hero Firefighter’s Punk Band – Billboard

On February 25, Randy Ballinger fell from a two-story house: The 38-year-old Philadelphia firefighter fell 25 feet after extinguishing a fire, and thankfully he was wearing a helmet, which saved his life. Ballinger had heart surgery; suffered a punctured lung, broken pelvis and multiple leg fractures; And spent a total of 11 days in the trauma center.

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Three months later, he would perform on the same stage as Meet Me @ the Altar, Wheatus and Surf Curse at a concert headlined by Paramore and Blink-182.

Ballinger’s band, Jersey Calling, will take the stage on Saturday (May 27) at a two-day beachside punk, pop-punk and emo summit in Atlantic City, NJ, as bassist in the quintet. After a painful few months, Ballinger says he is looking forward to playing on the biggest stage of the band’s career.

“I think it’s going to be a beautiful day,” tells Ballinger, a father of two from Roxboro, NJ Board on email. “It’s unlike anything we’ve ever done. The best part will be sharing this experience with my bandmates and our friends and family in attendance.

Ballinger originally formed Jersey Calling in 2002 with four friends in South Jersey. After a long break in 2005, the group reunited in 2020 under the name Jersey Calling to record the album. punk rock retirement during the pandemic. After Ballinger’s two-story fall in February, a member of his fire department, Kenny Scheuffel, who previously worked for Live Nation, passed the story on to company representative Ike Richman, who told Ballinger to Live Nation Northeast regional president Geoff Gordon. paired with.

During a Zoom call while Ballinger was still in the hospital, Gordon offered his band an opening gig at the inaugural Adjacent festival, which would also feature performances from Bleachers, Turnstiles, Japanese Breakfast, Coheed & Cambria and Jimmy Eat World.

“Randy is a real hero who inspired by his courage,” Gordon said in a press statement. “We are grateful for the work he and the first responders do every day. Music has a unique power to bring us together and it also has the ability to heal. We wish Randy and his band some hope and a chance to save the sea in Atlantic City.” nominated for the chance to perform in front of a large audience on the coast, and in front of some of their favorite bands they love. I’m really excited for Randy and Jersey Calling to be opening the show for us, I I am sure it will be an emotional day for all of us.

Ballinger is still recovering from his injuries—he’s practicing his bass riffs from a wheelchair alongside the rest of Jersey Calling—but says, “Physically, I feel great.” He suffered a setback due to infection of the open fracture and has gone home on antibiotics.

“I take it one day at a time while remembering the big picture,” he says. “I am so lucky to be alive and grateful to everyone involved in my recovery. They are the real heroes of this story. There are many members in our profession, including our PFD family, who have not been as fortunate Are.

Jersey Calling are currently completing their fourth album, but this week the priority will be getting a taste of their opening set on the impending Saturday. Ballinger’s band at the turn of the century was partly inspired by Blink-182 – now, his band shares a festival lineup with them.

“The feeling is already real,” he says. “I think it would make sense for all of us to be able to say that our music was shared with as many people as possible. We’re just five musicians with regular full-time jobs that make a bad living.” We are doing the best thing of the situation, and we are very happy to do so.

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