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Articles Home » Music Talk » Interview with Madison Rising
Interview with Madison Rising

Madison Rising

By: Nina Mccarthy, Music Journalist

Veteran's Rock 2016 - Mohegan Sun Casino


“Madison Rising is a hard-hitting rock band from the greater New York area. After gaining national acclaim for their rocked-out rendition of The Star Spangled Banner, they have toured around the world.  

The band has performed at numerous military, corporate and veteran events, NFL halftime shows, the opening ceremony of the 2014 Special Olympics, the opening ceremony of the 2015 World Police and Fire Games at RFK Stadium, at NASCAR, the 73rd Annual Motorcycle Rally at Sturgis, 2015 National Police Week on the West Lawn of the Capitol as well as other major venues, and has opened for rock legends Aerosmith, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Steppenwolf, Kansas, Weezer, Slaughter, Toby Keith, Sugar Ray and others.--MR biography



BRR:  Can you describe the history of the band name?  I read its 2 fold between a street in Hoboken and the former President.


Sam:  Yes, that jogged our memories with his principles coming back up or rising up.


BRR:  I know there was a lot of controversy of your rendition of the Star Spangled Banner at NASCAR.  Was that what got your initial national attention?


Sam:  No, before that we were doing stuff.  In fact, that wasnt even the first NASCAR we had done.


AJ:  And they all went well.


Sam:  If you were there that day it went well.  Then, all of a sudden you go on Yahoo and other things and we were getting torn to pieces.  It went well there.  No one there had a problem with it.  NASCAR, I don't really want to say defended us, but they even made a comment later and we had worked with them multiple times beforehand.


AJ:  Actually going way back to 2011, we both kind of made headlines.  We wanted to do a concert in this big park.  Meanwhile these other bands were able to do it with no permits because they had the name recognition.  That was the first instance of attention.


BRR:  You call yourselves “the most patriotic rock band”.  How would you describe your actual music?


AJ: I don't think we ever said that.  Someone else said it.  After enough time and enough people saying it, we just kind of said, “Ok, we'll say that I guess.”  I don't think we ever bill ourselves that way.  It's the promoters or whoever else that usually does that. But, our first album is very patriotic rock.  Album #2 is a little less in your face messages and that kind of stuff.  We are actually in the middle of wrapping up album #3 right now.  I don't want to say it will be less patriotic, but if you're looking for that message, you're going to find that stuff.  If you are an everyday music listener, you are going to be able to find the meaning in the song that lyrically walks a line.


Sam:  We don't want to be, Hey, Rage Against the Machine.  That works; it’s their thing, but we are not at that point.


Tom:  It's more of what we do then what we say.  Playing at these events (Veteran's Rock at Mohegan Sun), playing at Veteran's fundraisers.


Rio:  Just to piggyback off of what AJ said, going into this thought process.  Before it was more directional.  This is what we are talking about, this is how we're talking about it and this is what you are going to feel about it.  The fanbase will now have something more cerebral.  The lyrics, on the surface, will apply to whatever you want.  It may look like you're painting a picture of a dog, but the real meaning behind it could be a complete dichotomy of an ecosystem.  That kind of change inside the lyrics is what we are going after.  So, the fanbase that has followed us to what we are today will always have that meaning.  We are not changing the meaning.  It's a little more fun and a little more of a journey.  We are not going to have to hold your hand now.  Now you can freely walk with us.


AJ:  I think before we could say a song was written about a soldier or a veteran.  Now we've done this long enough that when you go talk to these fans and hear what they like now we are writing it more for them than about them.  Especially if they like bands like Godsmack or Five Finger Death Punch, or some of these heavier things.  We have some of these heavier songs, but after years of playing we kind of look back and think, well, we probably don't need to say that so much.  Now we just try to write these good songs and we can still put our message in there, but a little more poetic.  Realistically, at the end of the day, if we want to make this band successful, we have to grow.


Sam:  Right, and be crafty about it.  Rio, you are the frontman of the band but at the same time, you are a veteran audience member in the past.  You saw 5FDP and they support the veterans very much.  It’s a big thing in their lyrical content.  You saw them live and as a veteran in the audience you thought they should dial it back a little.


Rio:  My experience, being overseas, not necessarily 5FDP, but some of the bands come over and have 4 or 5 songs and although we are very appreciative, we also want to be taken home and lost in the music.  We really don’t want to hear how great we are, we just want to feel like we are back in the states rocking out.


BRR: You've just completed a brand new album. What can you tell me about it?


MR:  The album is full of 11 stand on their own singles.  It spans the full spectrum of rock, from heavy hard rock to a soft semi acoustic sound and everything in between. It takes you on an emotional journey that allows the listener to apply the lyrical content to their own lives; to fit it in where it belongs, not the old Madison Rising way of doing business.  MR would tell you what they are talking about and tell you how to feel about it, however this album allows you to use your life experiences to decide where and how it fits into your situation and experiences.



BRR:  A teaser for the new song “Heaven's Seas” has been released on the Madison Rising Facebook page.  Tell me about filming it and when we can expect to see the full video?


MR:  By now, the release has been made and it gained tons of momentum.  At this point it has been seen by over 113k people.  Not breaking the internet but we are absolutely happy with how it is moving along.  We filmed it around Baltimore and wanted to give a nice visual to those listening to it.  It’s a very introspective look on a subject that hits home.  Warriors that come home from battle are never truly the same.  We attempt to fit into a society that is not made for warfighters and it makes us mask ourselves.  This is about the moment when you are exposed and vulnerable.

(Video can be seen here: https://youtu.be/TMYDmVLp9YM)


BRR:. The single “Dangeroushas been out for awhile and played frequently on BRR and has even made the list of one of the top requested songs on the station for 2016.  How do you feel about that?


MR:  Knowing that people are rocking out to “Dangerous” is humbling and exciting.  As the first foray into a more mainstream sound, it legitimizes our effort and says “we are a rock band” and takes a label off us.  Not that we don’t appreciate the label, but it opens up the road for us.


BRR:. Rio, haven't you even said that's your least favorite song on the upcoming album?  


Rio:  Yes, “Dangerous is my least favorite song.  I hate sounding cliché but...the album is just damn good.  I think my favorite song is a song that is lead by AJ.  I do the backing vocals and it’s just an incredible song.  It’s called “On My Own”.  It really touches a deep subject and it will find a way to touch and impact each person listening to it.


BRR:. What's next for Madison Rising?


MR:  We are pushing the release of the new album Battered Not Broken, shooting videos for the new tracks and getting very intimate with fans at some of the more local venues.  It’s a nerve racking time when you expose yourself and your inner thoughts to the public.  Battered Not Broken is a very deep look at our emotions, both from the military veteran’s eyes, but also the musician’s eyes.  We share a ton of ourselves on this album and, well, it’s very scarey.  After that, the sky’s the limit.  We are planning on touring to support the record, so that’s always on the horizon.


BRR:. I love when bands are active on social media.  One thing I have really enjoyed is Taco Tuesday when you go Live on Facebook.  Tell us about Taco Tuesday.  


Rio:   Well I was looking for something to do that would allow me to connect with the fans and, since I happen to love tacos, it was a natural fit.  We don’t always have tacos, it’s more like a way to just kick back and have a dialogue with the people that support the band.  Give them updates or just kick it and shoot the breeze.


BRR: Thanks for your time. It was great getting to know you guys and I look forward to seeing you again live! As always, I'll be stopping in on Taco Tuesdays!


(MR will be coming to Providence,  RI in May in support of the new album. Stay tuned for more details.  Check out their Facebook page for more tour announcements for a show near you.)



Battered Not Broken available now for pre-order, and get the instant gratification track "Heaven's Seas" (The Beast Inside)
Album release on February 10th





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