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Meet Madison Rising: They Wrote the Theme Song for Sarah Palin's New "Amazing America" Show

Patriotism is the new counter-culture.

This Thursday, everyone’s favorite female Republican Sarah Palin trots the country in search of the great American outdoors with a new reality TV show, Amazing America.

From deserts to beaches, grain plains to mountains, this is Mama Grizzly’s second attempt at reality TV. Sarah Palin's Alaska in 2011, which shed light on her family life, postcards coming to life and was even called “a nature series for political voyeurs,” saw one series. The soundtrack was by Christian rock band, Third Day.


Now, the show’s theme song is the namesake Amazing America by Madison Rising. Dubbed as “America’s most patriotic band,” they’ve had their fair share of criticism. At Daytona 500 in February, they raised uproar with their version of the Star Spangled Banner, their anti-Occupy track is called Honk if You Want Peace, and they have even celebrated the Second Amendment with a track called Right to Bear.

To some Americans, the fourth of July is every day. The right-leaning rock band "promotes the principles of liberty, independence, smaller government and personal responsibility." But Madison Rising are not sharing the stage with their fellow 2016 Republican candidates anytime soon, though they are trying to revamp the conservative image. They say patriotism is the new counter-culture. They’re also consider themselves the only pro-American rock band out there with the balls to say so.

The lead singer of the band is Dave Bray, a 39-year-old, Pennsylvania-based father of two U.S. Navy veteran who served as a Navy Corpsman in Africa. Now, he’s gearing up for upcoming tour dates at Armed Forces parties, military events and freedom rallies. I’m assuming he’s also prepping for the shit storm of varying degrees once Amazing America goes live. No matter the theme song, it always sets the tone of the show. Both a blessing and a curse, I spoke with Bray on a Sunday afternoon about hunting culture, Disneyland, and dealing with flack from the right and left.


NOISEY: What inspired the song Amazing America? Keep in mind, I’m Canadian.
Dave Bray: [Laughs] We were commissioned by the Sportsman channel to write a song for a show called Amazing America with Sarah Palin. At first, everyone was very excited but I, on the other hand, was a little worried because they needed the song written, recorded and music video completed all in two weeks. It was one of those jaw-dropping moments. We were on the road at the time and we knocked it all out in one fair swoop. They said it was an outdoorsy show talking about how great the American people are, deep down doing something special to live extraordinary lives. That is what the show is about and that’s what the song is about, it is a song about what it takes to be a true American.

Have you seen the TV show yet?
Not yet, I haven’t.

The music video shots are probably all taken from the show?
That’s what I was thinking. When I was talking to Marc Fein, he gave me the idea of what the show was about – he said it was a show about outdoorsy stuff, fathers and sons who build knives, gun companies, guys who build trucks. I took it on my own, sat down with it and worked it out.

Have you met Sarah Palin?
No, I’ve never met her. I saw her speak in 2012.

You have a big name to live up to saying you’re “America’s most patriotic band.”
I don’t think we have much of a name to live up to; no other bands are doing what Madison Rising is doing. Some bands have a patriotic song or a song about America but no other band is making pro-American rock music and we’ve been sticking to our guns. What better way to celebrate America than with great rock and roll?


What has been the biggest challenge in being openly conservative?
We catch a little bit of flack from both sides, the left is honestly out to get anyone who pokes their head above the grass line, so if you do that, they’ll call you out. On the other side, we do a lot of the old reverend hymns – Amazing Grace, God Bless America – so when we do them in a rock and roll style, the true conservatives get upset because ‘You’re not allowed to touch those songs, how dare you?’ kind of mentality. So, we get it from both sides. It’s difficult but we brush it off with a grain of salt, you got to keep going. If somebody smacks you on the head because they don’t like what you’re doing and you quit, they win. We push ourselves harder and harder.

The Star Spangled Banner by Madison Rising

The comments under your music videos, like the Star Spangled Banner, really spark an argument.
That was the thing about the Star Spangled Banner. I wanted to give the song as much reverence as we possibly could, but I also wanted to give the song a fresh coat of paint, new life, new energy and give it something to be celebrated. It does have a lot of meaning, but it’s also a song about a victory. It’s a victory song. I feel it should be. A lot of people feel as though it is disrespectful in a way but I couldn’t disagree more, I think it’s the opposite. I think its reverence and celebratory all at once.

Have you always been somebody who has had strong views?
In and out through life, when I was young, I grew up in a military family. My father was an enlisted Navy guy, my brother was an enlisted Navy guy, I was in the Navy when I was 17. I was with the Marine Corps and when I got out, I was floating around and was trying to find my niche in life. I did rock bands, I worked as a bartender, I did whatever I possibly could to get by. Once I got married, had kids and bought a house, I realized that life is finite and it’s not immortal. There’s more to live for than just yourself, so as you get older, I think you get wiser and you get in touch with the essence of reality.


Who has their hand in your pocket of your hard-earned money? That’s when you really start paying attention. That’s where the more political, or the questioning of government, side of me comes out. Deep down, I’ve always been a fighter and a lover of this country—I’d live and die for it. It’s the last free country in the world. We need to hold onto our God given right.

In 2012, you told Front Page magazine that the conservative image needs to really be revamped. Do you still feel that way?
Absolutely. It’s starting to be revamped and I think people are starting to realize that conservatism is not the old stodgy guy in a suit who is in a suit and telling you to get out of his yard, it’s something different. I don’t want to say its hip but patriotism can be a cool thing. I think our last generation was growing up in a time of war. Their fathers have been off fighting in other countries and this country has been divided by that on the home front. It’s evident in pop culture because you have video games that are extremely violent and it’s generally based around warfare. You have bands like Madison Rising coming out of the woodwork. In the 1960s, it was sort of the same thing where counter-culture was the thing everyone wanted to be a part of because it was different, I feel like patriotism is the new counter-culture. The conservative ideals of God and country are gaining power and gaining momentum. It’s the idea that guys like me and guys in my generation are taking those ideas, conservative values and living up to them, but we may not dress the part. The idea of the word conservative doesn’t fit the mould anymore. You can have conservative values and still have tattoos, piercings, Mohawks. I think the mould is starting to be broken, slowly. We celebrate the 2ndamendment. We give reverence and pay homage to those who have served our country.


On the note of celebrating the 2nd amendment, what do you have to say about guns?
It’s how we grew up. When I was going to high school, we had guns in the back of our pickup trucks. We are a hunting culture. I live in south central Pennsylvania, so I have very rural farm land, woods and we do a lot of hunting and fishing. We are outdoors people. When people start on cut down on guns, that’s something we’re not used to. We estimate that most of the gun violence does not come from a legal weapon. It comes from an illegal, unregistered, firearm that has got into the wrong hands via theft, or via crime. It’s not the criminals who are adhering to any type of gun laws. They’re going to carry guns no matter what. What’s happening is citizens are saying that they need a way to protect their own children. I’m surprised that the teachers in this country are not carrying guns, with all the school shootings, you would think teachers out of all people, it should be mandatory, with all the school violence. They have to protect their school and the kids. Let’s put it this way, if I was a teacher, I would have a gun in my classroom. And no one would be able to take it except for me.

How old are your children?
Three and five, both boys. We are at the point where we are deciding if we should even go to public school because of the lack of safety.

Tell me why you think America is amazing.
America is amazing because of the people. The true citizens and the true Americans would die on their feet for it, rather than bow down on their knees to someone else. Washington and other people have forgotten that there are true Americans out there. To assure the generation behind them has the opportunity they did. It’s about not counting on anyone else for a paycheque but yourself.

I was hoping you would have said Disneyland is what makes America amazing.
[Laughs] That would be "fantastic." If you would have said fantastic, I would have said Disneyland.

Is it hard to defend America when America has done something wrong?
That’s a really good question. What it comes down to is if America is abiding by the laws of constitution, then we defend that. If not, you don’t always root for the government that is ruling your nation if it is not abiding by the rules. Patriotism has nothing to do with the government.

Amazing America is on the Sportsman Channel on Thursday, April 3, at 8pm.

Nadja is on Twitter, follow her - @nadjasayej.