ROCKING FOR PATRIOTISM: Interview with Dave Bray of Madison Rising, Pt. 1

Written by John DeGroff on March 20, 2015

This is going to be a different type of article than what I usually present here. Dave Bray of the rock band Madison Rising graciously consented to an interview a while back, and due to length, our talk with Mr. Bray will be presented in two installments. 
Madison Rising promotes themselves as “America’s most patriotic rock band.” They have released two CDs. Their self titled debut was released in 2011 and their newest project, American Hero, has just recently been made available. 
Along with Lead vocalist Bray (who also plays guitar), the band is comprised of Sam Fishman,(drums), A.J. Larsen (lead guitar) and bassist Tom DiPietro. 
Musically, Madison Rising is straight forward, guitar driven rock. Their message is to “reignite American culture.” In the following interview, Bray goes into depth regarding the vision of Madison Rising, the state of our nation, and how each of us can have a part in bringing American back to being the country the Founders originally envisioned. It’s with pride that Clash Daily introduces Madison Rising to our readers. 
Clash Daily: Dave, I see that you served in the Navy. What years did you serve and where were you stationed? (Thank you for your service, by the way.) 
Dave Bray: I enlisted in the United States Navy in 1992 and got out in 1997. I was stationed at Great Lakes, Naval Hospital Charleston, Camp Johnson North Carolina, Second Battalion/Second Marines at Camp Lejeune North Carolina and the USS Guam. 
CD: What were your musical influences growing up? What do you listen to now? 
DB: I am a product of the 70s classic rock golden era, the 80s hair metal, early alternative and grunge music, 90’s metal, and everything up until now. I also grew up listening to old school country. I’m actually getting a respectable vinyl collection put together so I’ve been listening to everything and anything. Trying to get a better feel for the roots of all music. 
CD: As a vocalist, who are your influences? 
DB: Main influences were Wayland, Morrison, Weiland, Hetfield, Vedder. 
CD: I noticed in reading the bios of each band member that everyone has a slightly different background. Tom DiPietro, bass, has a jazz background; guitarist A.J. Larsen played on the Vans Warped tour, and drummer Sam Fishman has a totally different background altogether. First off, how did you all meet? How do you manage to put such diverse musical tastes and backgrounds to use in Madison Rising? 
DB: I think that all of us being such different people and having such different backgrounds helps us to create something that’s completely different and unique altogether. The common denominator, however, is the fact that we all care deeply about the future of this nation, the next generation, and what we leave behind. 
Sam and I met in New York City in the beginning and Tom and A.J. came into the project about two years after Madison rising was established. One of our biggest obstacles was finding the right players for this unique project. Tom and A. J. are not only amazing players, but they have their hearts and minds in the right place. 
CD: By the way, does the band name mean anything? 
DB: We named the band after James Madison because we wanted to bring back the belief system and the mind set from a time when our nation’s Constitution was being written. When real lines were being drawn, and men and women were actually fighting for their freedom. Madison Rising is all about bringing back that patriotism, that pride and how the men and women in this country felt about their freedom and their liberty, when the words “liberty or death” actually mean “liberty or death”. 
CD: Who does the song writing? 
DB: I write some of the songs and the guys write some. Each song has it’s own “founding father”. If I bring a song to the table, I take it to the guys and they always know what to do with it. It’s a great team. 
CD: Are your two CDs released independently? And, would you ever consider a major label deal if it was favorable? 
DB: We have released both of our records and all of our singles independently. We are our own label. We are our own driving force. We’ve also had a lot of help from some great friends and partners not affiliated with the music industry. We’ve used social media and YouTube to help get us to where we are. As far as a major record label is concerned, I am not so sure that we would entertain a label offer at this time unless it was something phenomenal and allowed us to stick by our belief system and our message. 
CD: So, how has the music been received? What kind of reviews are you getting? 
DB: We’ve gotten amazing reviews from our fans and people of all ages who believe in our message. I feel like we’ve come very far in a short period of time, and for that, I feel as though we owe our fans who have bought our CDs and everyone else who supports us and our mission a huge “THANK YOU!” 
CD: How often do you perform live and at what kind of venues? 
DB: Things slow down in the winter, maybe a couple of shows a month, but during the spring and summer we can easily do 2-3 shows a week, which is a lot more than it sounds when you throw in traveling all over the country. We’ve played NFL stadiums, NASCAR stadiums, street fairs, outdoor concerts, political rallies, convention centers, clubs, honky-tonks, corporate events for Fortune 500 companies and bars. We generally try to play as much as we can, especially for people or events that appreciate our pro-American message. 
(Author’s Note: Part 2 of this interview will be my next posting. For more information on Madison Rising, please check out their web site at  also on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Music available through their web site, as well as iTunes and 



John DeGroff
John DeGroff is the original bass player for the Christian rock band Petra. He currently plays for the band GHF which is comprised of other original members from Petra. DeGroff has extensive experience as a freelance music journalist and newspaper reporter as well as an on-line music reviewer. He is a member of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and lives in Warsaw, Indiana where he is employed as a care giver for mentally challenged adults.