The four-piece post-grunge ensemble Madison Rising bills itself as “America’s Most Patriotic Rock Band.” Since its 2011 inception, the group has built a solid following by regularly performing at stars-and-stripes-friendly gatherings such as NFL games, NASCAR events, the annual Sturgis biker rally, and Donald Trump campaign stops.
Madison Rising’s next big gig of note, however, is slated to be in court. The band has filed suit against original frontman David Bray, who was let go earlier this year for allegedly “exhibiting extremely aggressive and violent behavior behind the scenes, including binge drinking, becoming significantly more confrontational with other band members.”
In addition, the lawsuit claims that in Bray carried on a “lengthy” extramarital relationship with Ayla Brown, the daughter of former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, who was also a 2006 American Idol contestant. The suit maintains that the affair “damaged” the image of Madison Rising. At present, Ayla Brown is a professional singer married to Colorado Rockies pitcher Keith Weiser.
Madison Rising is the brainchild of New York City entrepreneur Richard Mgrdechian. He says he created the group “to use great rock music to honor our country, our military, our nation’s veterans, police, firefighters, and other first responders.”
The lawsuit also stresses that Bray — who lost a $78,000 annual salary as the band’s singer — has repeatedly violated a “no compete” clause by falsely portraying himself as a super-patriot and performing at what would otherwise be prime Madison Rising spots such as … well, more Donald Trump rallies. The complaint claims that Bray was specifically coached in how to “create the character and persona” of a proud American patriot, and was trained using talking points about patriotism, the military, and other topics. The damning accusation continues: “Until Mr. Mgrdechian gave Mr. Bray a character to play, he had shown no care for or musical involvement with the military, veterans, police or firefighters.”
Court documents further allege that Bray once bragged about beating up a pair of Pennsylvania police officers and that he “choked out” his commander while serving in the Navy. Mgrdechian also claims Bray physically attacked him upon learning that Madison Rising had not been invited to perform at the Super Bowl.
The band also composed and performed the theme for the 2014-15 TV series, Amazing America With Sarah Palin.
Still, the group is likely best known for a video of their 2014 rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” going viral on social media. Many, many commenters proved to be less than kind in their assessment.
Main photo: Madison Rising [Paul Gonzalez/Wikipedia]