Bill Madden (musician)

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Bill Madden
Bill Madden
Background information
Origin Costa Mesa, California, United States
Genres Singer-songwriter, folk rock, indie rock
Instruments Vocals, guitar, piano
Years active 1995–present

Bill Madden is an American singer-songwriter, also regarded as an indie and an activist. Madden is best known for his environmental song and music video Gone which was in rotation on television networks, MTVU in America and MuchMusic in Canada. As a short film and music video, Gone also won numerous film festival awards[1] and commendations.[2] Madden's music is typically labeled as alternative folk rock or neofolk. Vocally, Madden's voice has been described as a "deep breathy voice [that] serenades listeners,"[3] full of range,[4] melodic, and "reminiscent of Jeff Buckley."[5] In his lyrics he often uses metaphor, verse and poetry, to articulate his socio/political and spiritual themes.[6] Madden currently resides in the Lower East Side / Chinatown neighborhood of New York City.

Musical Career: Original Indie[edit]

Madden was originally signed by Paul Atkinson, former guitarist for The Zombies. When RCA shelved Madden's project, Madden co-founded MADMUSE and released Chillin' In Hades in 1995, Samsara's Grip in 2004,[7] Gone in 2006, and Child of the Same God in 2008.

In September 2014, Bill Madden released his fifth studio album, which was recorded with long-time partner, multi-instrumentalist/producer Billy Mohler. The album cover and insert features the artwork of Mexican artista plástico Héctor Falcón.

Activism and Environmentalism[edit]

Some of Madden's frequent and recurring themes in his music include the quest for spiritual fulfillment, inequity between the wealthy and shrinking middle class, a plea for ethics and accountability of politicians and business leaders for the welfare of the global community as a whole, and calls against the damage being done to the environment. With the U.S. and global economic collapse in 2008, from the 2006 album, Gone, Madden presciently writes in the song What in the World: "I see the human cost / Lives ruined, jobs lost." In the title track Gone, Madden is tough on politicians and writes: "Mother Earth's a mess from pollution and war."

Madden also expresses anger towards the harm caused by guns and violence in community. From the album Chillin’ In Hades, in Here And Now, which debuted on MTV's Real World Boston (Episode #20),[8] Madden sings about the 1992 Los Angeles riots in the aftermath of the Rodney King verdict.

Another recurring theme of Madden's is poverty and materialism. In Here And Now from the album Chillin' In Hades, Madden sings "hungry people need jobs and shelter." In Reconcile, which debuted on MTV's Real World Boston (Episode #14).[9] In 2004, Madden was among the minority of musicians who challenged President George W. Bush. Madden spoke out in opposition to the Bush administration's invasion of Iraq in print and on the 2004 album Samsara's Grip in Om Tat Sat, Consequence of War, and World Just Is. Wim Boluijt of Real Roots Café writes "Madden ... placed his finger on the world’s most vulnerable spot when, in Dangerous Game from Gone (2006) he asked: 'How many barrels of / Blood does it take / To fill an SUV / These days'."[10]

On the title track of his 2014 album New Religion, Madden rails against unfettered capitalism and greed, telling a story about a family having everything taken away from them: "The white shirts / Arrived today uninvited / Without any shame / They took everything... / Money, more money, more money, more / Hail to the kings of malfeasance... / God is greed, meet the new religion."[11]

In 1995, Madden launched the progressive news website activist360 which curates news stories, opinion pieces, and periodicals, with a focus on current and breaking news impacting human and civil rights, the environment, and the ethical treatment of animals.[12]


Madden's music is influenced by Eastern Philosophy, the teachings of Krishnamurti, and existentialism. Shrink The Guru, from the album Samsara's Grip, reflects a Madden struggling with his thoughts. As noted by Justin Kownacki of Splendid Magazine, "The inherent paradox in Madden's work, and in Eastern philosophy in general, is summed up in World Just Is."[13]

Madden's poetic influences include poet Dylan Thomas: Right in the Head, from the album Samsara's Grip, was based on the poem Love in the Asylum; Friend, from the album Gone, was inspired by the poem To Others Than You.



  • Chillin' In Hades (1995, MADMUSE)
  • Samsara's Grip (2004, MADMUSE)
  • Gone (2006, MADMUSE)
  • Child of the Same God (2008, MADMUSE)
  • New Religion (2014, MADMUSE)


  • Gone (2006, MADMUSE)
  • Unfair (2008, MADMUSE)
  • Francesca (2014, MADMUSE)

Contributing Musicians[edit]


External links[edit]