How a Heroic Philadelphia Firefighter’s Punk Group Joined a Festival Lineup With Blink-182 & Paramore

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After astir perishing successful nan statement of duty, Randy Ballinger says Jersey Calling's Adjacent Music Festival gig is "surreal."

Jersey Calling

Geoff Gordon, President, Live Nation Northeast (left) and Randy Ballinger of Jersey Calling during dress rehearsal astatine Brooklyn Bowl Philadelphia. Ike Richman

On Feb. 25, Randy Ballinger fell disconnected a two-story statement home: nan 38-year-old Philadelphia firefighter plummeted 25 feet aft putting retired a fire, and was thankfully wearing a helmet, which saved his life. Ballinger underwent bosom surgery; suffered a punctured lung, surgery pelvis and aggregate limb fractures; and spent a full of 11 days astatine a trauma center.



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Three months later, he will beryllium performing connected nan aforesaid shape arsenic bands for illustration Meet Me @ The Altar, Wheatus and Surf Curse, astatine a festival headlined by Paramore and Blink-182.

Ballinger’s band, Jersey Calling, will beryllium hitting nan shape connected Saturday (May 27) astatine Adjacent Music Festival, nan two-day punk, pop-punk and emo acme taking spot connected nan formation successful Atlantic City, N.J. As nan bassist successful nan punk quintet, Ballinger says that he’s looking guardant to playing connected nan biggest shape of nan band’s profession aft a achy fewer months.

“I deliberation it’s going to beryllium a beautiful day,” Ballinger, a begetter of 2 from Roxborough, N.J., tells Billboard complete email. “It’s dissimilar thing we’ve ever done. The champion portion will beryllium sharing this acquisition pinch my bandmates and our friends and family successful attendance.”

Ballinger primitively formed Jersey Calling pinch 4 buddies successful South Jersey successful 2002. After a agelong break opening successful 2005, nan group reunited nether nan Jersey Calling sanction successful 2020 to grounds nan medium Punk Rock Retirement during nan pandemic. Following Ballinger’s two-story autumn successful February, Kenny Scheffel, a personnel of his occurrence section who had antecedently worked for Live Nation, passed nan communicative connected to institution rep Ike Richman, who connected Ballinger pinch Live Nation Northeast location president Geoff Gordon.

During a Zoom telephone while Ballinger was still successful nan hospital, Gordon offered his set an opening gig astatine nan inaugural Adjacent Fest, which will besides see performances from Bleachers, Turnstile, Japanese Breakfast, Coheed & Cambria and Jimmy Eat World, among others.

“Randy is simply a existent leader who is inspiring pinch his courage,” said Gordon successful a property statement. “We are grateful for nan activity that he and first responders do each day. Music has a unsocial powerfulness to bring america together and it besides has an expertise to heal. We are psyched to give Randy and his set immoderate dream and an opportunity to execute successful beforehand of a ample assemblage connected nan formation successful Atlantic City, and successful beforehand of immoderate of their favourite bands they adore. I’m really excited for Randy and to spot Jersey Calling unfastened nan show for us, connected what I’m judge will beryllium an affectional time for each of us.”

Ballinger is still recovering from his injuries – he has been practicing his bass riffs from a wheelchair alongside nan remainder of Jersey Calling – but says, “Physically, I consciousness beautiful good.” He suffered a setback owed to nan infection of an unfastened fracture and has been location connected antibiotics.

“I conscionable return 1 time astatine a clip while besides remembering nan bigger picture,” he says. “I’m very fortunate to beryllium live and grateful to everyone progressive successful my recovery. They are nan existent heroes of this story. There are excessively galore members successful our profession, including wrong our PFD family, who person not been arsenic lucky.”

Jersey Calling is presently finishing up its 4th album, but nan privilege this week will beryllium savoring their opening group connected Saturday astatine Adjacent. Ballinger’s set was partially inspired by Blink-182 astatine nan move of nan period — now, his set shares a show lineup pinch them.

“The emotion is already surreal,” he says. “I deliberation being capable to opportunity that will springiness america each a consciousness that our euphony was shared pinch much group than we ever dreamed possible. We’re conscionable 5 musicians pinch regular full-time jobs, making nan champion of a bad situation, and we’re much than happy to do so.”

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