Members of Madison Rising - AJ Larsen, Dave Bray, Tom DiPietro, Sam Fishman
|Genres||Post-grunge, hard rock|
|Labels||Purple Eagle Entertainment|
Madison Rising is an American patriotic post-grunge and hard rock band. Formed in 2011 by Richard Mgrdechian, and referring to themselves as the country's "most patriotic" rock band, it is led by Navy veteran Dave Bray.
The band has cited groups such as Creed as an influence; describing their music as "pro-Patriotic", the band has frequently incorporated themes of conservatism into their music, along with tributes to the Armed Forces. Madison Rising gained some prominence in 2014, following the band's poorly-received performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner" at a NASCAR event in February, followed by the announcement that it would perform the theme song for a television program starring former Governor of Alaska and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.
Madison Rising was the creation of New York City entrepreneur Richard Mgrdechian, who chose the members of the band by placing ads on Craigslist and YouTube, and then holding "endless" auditions in 2011. Dave Bray, the lead singer for the band, enlisted in the United States Navy at the age of 18. Before being shipped off, Dave found an interest in music, and formed a band in his garage his senior year of high school. According to Bray, "It was my last stitch effort at rebellion before signing my life away." The band was first named after Madison Street in Hoboken, New Jersey, where their studio, Water Music Recorders, was located. Later on, the band also acknowledged its name as being in honor of U.S. founding father James Madison. While other names such as "Authors of Liberty" and "Soldiers for Freedom" were considered, Bray felt that Madison Rising felt the most "rock and roll" of them all, evoking imagery of him "rising from the grave".
Madison Rising, the band's self-titled debut album, was released in October 2011 via CD Baby. In early December 2011, the band attempted to procure a permit for a live "Take Back Wall Street" performance in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park, in response to the Occupy Wall Street protests. The permit was ultimately denied by the park's ownership, Brookfield Properties. Two months later, the band played a short show for Occupy Congress in January 2012. Lead singer Dave Bray said that, to his shock, were "met with a warm welcome" during the band's five-song set before several hundred Occupy demonstrators. Their second album, American Hero, was released via CD Baby in November 2013 and is dedicated to military members, police, firefighters, and other first responders. It reached Amazon.com's top 100 and reached #1 on its Classic Rock list.
In March 2014, the band announced they had been chosen to provide the theme song for Amazing America, a Sarah Palin-hosted program on the US cable network Sportsman Channel. In keeping with the show's subject matter, the theme song's lyrics contain references to nature, flags, glory, dogs, horses, trucks, and guns.
In early April 2014, former band member Alex Bodnar initiated a civil lawsuit in Brooklyn against band manager Richard Mgrdechian for owed "wages, royalties and [production] credit". According to the New York Post, Mgrdechian would not comment on the pending litigation except to describe Bodnar as a "disgruntled employee" who had "breached his contract." The band performed a "Patriot Party" concert in Anderson, South Carolina on April 5, 2014, for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. They played another "Patriot Party" on April 18in Bunkerville, Nevada, for supporters of controversial rancher Cliven Bundy. On September 17, 2014, Madison Rising played a free concert in Philadelphia in front of Independence Hall, in celebration of Constitution Day.
Musical style and themes
Madison Rising's style has been compared to bands such as Creed, Nickelback, and Stone Temple Pilots; Bray noted that bands such as Creed and Nickelback "were the soundtrack of our generation for a while", and that he was not ashamed by the comparisons. The band describes themselves as being "constitutional" and "pro-patriotic", and have even referred to themselves as being "America's most patriotic rock band" in promotion., The New York Post described them as the "Monkees of conservativism", opining "just think of them as Rage For the Machine".
Their original songs incorporate political themes, with a particular emphasis on conservatism; several songs on their second album American Hero contain lyrics critical of president Barack Obama, with one song alluding to the "re-election of an antichrist". Jonathan Widran of Allmusic described their "socially conscious aesthetic" as being "reminiscent of the pointed folk music of the '60s—even though they are presumably on the other side of the political fence."
The band has also paid tribute to the United States Armed Forces in its albums, going as far as recording a music video for its arrangement of the "Marines' Hymn" for the 239th birthday of the United States Marine Corps.
Madison Rising received prominent attention for their arrangement of the U.S. national anthem; considering it a contrast to Jimi Hendrix's rendition, lead singer Dave Bray explained that their rendition was intended to be "respectful to the original version as possible" while also being "absolutely unique", noting that he "took the words and formatted them so that they feel more like a modern day rock song" and "took liberties with the melodies to make it a little more singable." The band has performed the anthem at various sporting events, including the PBR World Finals in Las Vegas, Nevada., the opening ceremonies for the 2014 Special Olympics USA in Newark, New Jersey, the Military Bowl, and was also included on the soundtrack for Dinesh D'Souza's 2014 documentary film America: Imagine the World Without Her.
The band's performance of the anthem at the DRIVE4COPD 300, the opening event of the 2014 NASCAR Nationwide Series season at Daytona International Speedway in February 2014, was poorly received by critics and those in attendance, attracting significant media attention. The Huffington Post characterized it as being "cringeworthy", and a writer for USA Today 's sports blog For The Win described it as being "spectacularly awful". The performance also received poor reception from those involved in the race itself; driver Brad Keselowski remarked that he wanted the band to "just sing the damn song". Track president Joie Chitwood III defended his decision to bring in Madison Rising based on past performances but noted that "[...] our fans are very opinionated and they make sure that they comment, and that's their right."
- Dave Bray – Lead vocals
- Sam Fishman – Drums/Vocals
- Tom DiPietro - Bass
- AJ Larsen - Guitar
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