03.29.14 4:00 AM ET
Meet Madison Rising, the Band Behind Sarah Palin's New Theme Song
The theme song for Sarah Palin’s new television show Amazing America caught the Internet’s attention on Thursday. Palin, the former reality star on TLC, is launching her new show in April on the Sportsman Channel. Madison Rising, a self-described “constitutional pro-patriotic rock band” performing the theme song—also titled “Amazing America.”
The song came about after the wife of the Madison Rising's lead singer, David Bray, connected the band with an executive at the Sportsman Channel. The executive liked what the band did and what they stood for and asked them to “take a crack at writing a cool song.” They did, and the rest has been history.
Bray told The Daily Beast he can’t wait to see the new show. He describes himself as “a believer in [Palin’s] politics;” he think she brings something “more tangible, real and personal to” American politics and is impressed with “her connection and ties to the people.”
Madison Rising reflects those politics. Bray said they named themselves after Madison because “he was a co-author of the Constitution, and we’re a pro-Constitutional rock band. He wrote the Federalist Papers, and we believe firmly in the Founding Fathers and how this country was meant to be up and think we’re far far from the direction where we should be and where he started. “ Other names considered included“The Constitution Kings, Authors of Liberty, and Soldiers for Freedom. But Madison Rising felt “little bit more rock and roll.” Bray liked how it invoked the founding father “rising up from the grave.”
Prior to Palin’s show, Madison Rising had gotten the most attention for their version of “The Star Spangled Banner,” which they performed at the Daytona 300 this year. Bray contrasted his version with the other well-known rock version of the song, Jimi Hendrix’s famous cover at Woodstock in 1969. He sees “some extreme similarities” between himself and Hendrix, as both served in the U.S. military. “Jimi was doing something beautiful with the song and put his twist on it to give it a patriotic feel.” In contrast to Hendrix’s instrumental version, Bray said that he took the words and formatted them so that they feel more like a modern day rock song. “I changed melodies and took liberties with the melodies to make it a little more singable.” It got a mixed reaction from the Daytona crowd. “If people aren’t expecting to hear Dave Bray and Madison Rising rocking out a version of ‘The Star Spangled Banner,’ it catches them off guard,” he said.
But the biggest obstacle to Madison Rising’s success may not be that its covers of patriotic songs catch people off guard or even that its politics may alienate some listeners. Instead, the band’s problem is that it belongs in roughly the same subgenre of rock music as bands that are the subject of universal scorn and derision from music critics: Creed and Nickelback.
Bray said he knows everyone hates those bands, but that he still enjoys their music. “Everyone has got sort of built-in hate buttons for these amazing rock bands, they were the soundtrack of our generation for a while.” he said. ”I understand how people say that they are kind of a cousin or relation of Creed. I guess I can see that. It’s not something that I’m ashamed of—Creed was an amazing band.”
In the meantime, Madison Rising isn’t just resting on the laurels with the Palin theme song. They spend a lot of time on tour where Bray enjoys interacting with his fans and spending time “sitting in McDonalds or a small town little café and pizzeria” and getting to hear “some cool stories.” The band’s current schedule list dates at events like a pro-Second Amendment rally in Albany, New York and the Armed Forces Freedom Concert in Clovis, New Mexico. But don’t expect to see them at the Pitchfork Festival or Bonnaroo—after all, while it may not be weird to see a band that touts gun rights on the stage, it would be to hear one that sounds like Creed.