Today’s Feature – March 6-7: Ballistic Edna

March 8, 2008 at 3:16 am (Today's Feature)


There are so many stimulating and captivating facts about the Chicago-based alternative act Ballistic Edna, which you must learn. So let’s get right into it:

– First off, Edna tunes are constantly topping internet radio charts everywhere.

– “Smoulder” from their debut album “Minefield Tapdance” has been downloaded over a million times. Holy crap.

– The song, “She Will Return” appeared on Dawson’s Creek. And that show was huge. Really huge.

– “Soulseeker” is the theme to UK ghost hunting show “Soulseekers.” Makes sense.

– James Reilly, Marcella Donnell, Robin Malott and Jack Jerozal came together to form Ballistic Edna in a picket line outside a Gene Simmons book signing, first performed at a Shiite Mosque in Saudi Arabia, and were originally called “Magic Ass” (The band logo was a donkey in a magician’s outfit pulling a rabbit out of a hat).

While some portions of that last bullet maaaaay be the stuff of fiction, the rest of it certainly isn’t. And even if they didn’t do something like “defend themselves from a mob with exposed Gene Simmons posters,” they’re still pretty charismatic. This quality mixed with some alternative sound and a hint of “Middle Eastern Spices” create Ballistic Edna and their latest release, “The Jungle or the Stars.” The record, along with some of the band’s recent projects strives to pull together “something unreal,” and they defend their ambition adequately: “If you want to broadcast how horrible reality is become a journalist. We aim to take you to that surreal place all great art takes you to.”

You’ll know that Ballistic Edna is in your area for show if suddenly liquor store thefts are through the roof (you’ll have to read on for some clarification to this one). But watch out for the band in the future. Their newest tunes will soon be available on Learn more in the XXQ’s.

XXQs: Ballistic Edna How and when did the band first come together?

Ballistic Edna: We met in a picket line outside a Gene Simmons book signing.

PEV: Growing up, what kind of music where you listening to?

Ballistic Edna: Marcella was fond of metal and gospel, Robin enjoyed The Cure and Nirvana, Jack liked Tool and PJ Harvey, and Jim listened to Gun Club and John Tesh.

PEV: Was there a certain point when music went from hobby to knowing you could do it for a living?

Ballistic Edna: When our song ÒShe Will ReturnÓ got on DawsonÕs Creek, and ÒSmoulderÓ was downloaded over a million times we thought we must be doing something right.

PEV: Tell us about your first live performance as a band. How did it go?

Ballistic Edna: It was at a Shiite Mosque in Saudi Arabia. Everything was fine until a backup singer’s interactive codpiece went haywire. A lynch mob trapped us in a corner but we scared them away by holding up giant posters of Gene Simmons.

PEV: From that first time on stage to now, have has your performance style changed, if at all?

Ballistic Edna: We now avoid horizontal dances with the audience and focus on beating the pants off the opening act, although we wouldn’t want to be there if that’s what literally was to happen.

PEV: What can fans expect from a live Ballistic Edna performance?

Ballistic Edna: You can expect Jim to fire up the crowd by setting light to his hair. The last time he did that the crowd got so fired up they called the Fire Department. It hurt a little but the siren and big red truck were a hit with the crowd.

PEV: Tell us about your latest release.

Ballistic Edna: Our new CD is entitled The Jungle Or The Stars. The evolution of technology takes us ever heavenward, but regressively progressive forces are killing the goose that lays the technological golden eggs.

PEV: What can fans expect from your newer works.

Ballistic Edna: Something unreal. We hate ugly realism in art. Reality is full of realism. Why put it in your music? If you want to broadcast how horrible reality is become a journalist. We aim to take you to that surreal place all great art takes you to.

PEV: You describe your music as “alternative pop with Middle Eastern spices”. What do you mean by this?

Ballistic Edna: We sometimes sound Middle Eastern, sometimes Pop/Rock. This used to be a non-starter for big record labels. But with labels dropping like white blood cell counts after a conjugal visit from Gene Simmons, we proceed under the notion that we can pull it off.

PEV: Tell us about life on the road for the band. Best and worst parts?

Ballistic Edna: At this level the best part is that we can still hold up a liquor store and no one recognizes us. The worst part is all the liquor we’ve been drinking every night while on the road.

PEV: What’s one thing that people would be surprised to hear about the band?

Ballistic Edna: That we used to be called Magic Ass. Our band logo was a donkey in a magicianÕs outfit pulling a rabbit out of a hat. The rabbit had the face of Magic Johnson, and a nice butt. There were more misinterpretations of that name than you could poke a stick at, so we changed it to something simple: Ballistic Edna.

PEV: When you sit down to write music what kind of environment do you surround yourselves in?

Ballistic Edna: We close our eyes in a quiet place. Through creative visualization we imagine ourselves as musicians with instruments in our hands, trying to write songs. 9 out of 10 times this doesnÕt work so we pick up the actual instruments and flail away.

PEV: How have all your friends and family members reacted to your career?

Ballistic Edna: My father chased me around the back yard with a rake while my mother applauded. To this day IÕm conflicted over whether she was applauding my decision to be a musician or my father’s decision to chase me with a rake.

PEV: What has been the most memorable part of the band’s career so far?

Ballistic Edna: The time Bret Michaels leapt onstage brandishing a lit sparkler in each hand, wearing only a barrel. We were playing ÒDude Looks Like A LadyÓ and he thought we were singing about him.

PEV: When you aren’t touring or performing what can we find everyone doing in your spare time?

Ballistic Edna: Jim cleans windshields at stoplights, while Marcella teaches cockatoos to swear in Ebonics. Robin performs psychic surgery whilst Jack smokes oregano. And we all try to figure out whom exactly buys Jennifer LopezÕ CDs for the music.

PEV: If we were to walk into your houses right now what would be find?

Ballistic Edna: Policemen waiting to arrest you for home invasion. Thanks for the warning.

PEV: What artists have you not collaborated with yet that you would like to? Ballistic Edna: Brian Eno or Robin Guthrie. Or maybe John Tesh.

PEV: Is there an up and coming artist right now you think we should all be looking into?

Ballistic Edna: Khupera Tum

PEV: What one word best describes Ballistic Edna?

Ballistic Edna: Maestoso

PEV: Where will you and your music be in ten years?

Ballistic Edna: On top of the world and on top of the charts.

PEV: So, what is next for the band?

Ballistic Edna: A big thank you for and Richie and new songs available on soon!

For more information on Ballistic Edna, check out


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