Jihad Jerry & The Evildoers

According to his official biography, Jihad Jerry was born in Tehran to an Iranian barber and an Irish-American midwife during the reign of the Shah of Iran. Jihad Jerry was a strong student, earning high marks at a co-ed private academy in the Middle East, and he had won an academic scholarship at the University of North Pittsburgh before the 1979 fundamentalist revolution led by the Ayatollah Khomeini brought his plans to a halt. Stranded in a narrow-minded and sexually segregated theocracy, Jihad Jerry decided to declare war on prejudice and ignorance throughout the world with music; after earning enough money to flee the country after years of working as a rug salesman, Jerry emigrated to Yonkers, NY, and began putting together a band, with little success. When the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, occurred, Jihad Jerry realized the world needed to hear his message -- "the enemy is not the Muslim, the Christian, or the Jew, but stupidity itself" -- and he approached his musical mission with a new vigor. Jihad Jerry & the Evildoers were formed shortly afterward, and released their debut album, Mine Is Not a Holy War, in the summer of 2006. While this makes for a good story, readers should know that there's no truth in Jihad Jerry's story. The fact is that Jihad Jerry is the alter ego of Gerald V. Casale, one of the founding members of the pioneering new wave band Devo. After Devo retired from active duty in the early '90s, Casale (who helped design the band's distinctive costumes and stage settings) entered into a successful career directing music videos and television commercials. However, Devo began playing occasional live dates again in the mid-'90s, which led Casale back into musical projects. Looking for a new outlet for his songs, he created the Jihad Jerry persona and recorded Mine Is Not a Holy War with the help of fellow Devo members Mark Mothersbaugh, Bob Mothersbaugh, and Robert Casale; the album was released through the online-only label Cordless Recordings in the summer of 2006, and an CD version was made available to stores several months later. ~ Mark Deming