I fear as I write this, it may already be too late. By the time I am finished, the zombies will have attacked, and there will be very few readers left to convince of the imminent doom.
In the past few weeks, a face was eaten in Florida; intestines were ripped out and thrown at police officers in New Jersey; heart and brain portions were consumed in Maryland; human male genitals were served for dinner in Tokyo; a man ate his wife’s lips so they couldn’t be sewn back on to kiss another man; and for history’s sake, let’s not forget the woman who ate her infant son’s brain and toes in 2009. If those morsels of flesh-eating mayhem aren’t enough to alert you to some sort of flaw in the fabric of normality, check out the bizarre things that have been happening in the past two weeks across the country.
To top the eek factor of the cannibalistic stories in the news, our nation has been engaging in a collective zombie-apocalypse discussion ever since the CDC so brilliantly incorporated zombies into their marketing strategy. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if the CDC, in conjunction with the secret illuminati branch of the government, know of this coming zombie apocalypse, or are perhaps even choreographing it.
This ongoing, collective discussion of a possible zombie apocalypse has captured the imagination of the masses, and if you’ve ever heard of The Secret, you know what this collective imagination is capable of. So, let’s face it— if the zombie apocalypse hasn’t already started (which, in my opinion, it has), it soon will.
Many of us are asking ourselves what this zombie apocalypse business is all about, and why people are flocking to the idea like Trekkies to a sci-fi convention. My curiosity lies in why it took so long for people to realize the potentiality of and fear for a zombie apocalypse, as I have been having nightmares about it for years.
I’m not a rocket scientist or student of Freud, but I feel confident assessing my irrational fear of zombies. The thing that scares me most in life, aside from snakes, is people. People are freakin’ scary. Zombie apocalypse movies give me nightmares because they resemble my greatest fear: hoards of evil, mindless, soulless people whose only desire is to consume, as quickly as possible, every resource (in the case of zombies, non-zombie flesh) in sight. I imagine my general sense of sucking at life also contributes to my zombie nightmares. I break almost every piece of electronic equipment I touch. I start fires unintentionally (but don’t have the confidence or know-how to actually start, say, a grill or campfire). I have very few, if any, practical survival skills, and positive thinking only gets me so far before “reality” sets in. If the zombies start attacking, I will be in trouble.
Listening to these responses made me even more certain that the zombie apocalypse is right around the corner, because in order for there to be a zombie apocalypse, there has to be zombies. These people are ready. The apocalypse isn’t even full blown, and there are already willing participants. To top it off, the Oxford dictionary explains that a zombie can be conceived of as a dull or apathetic person. Likewise, Adele Nozedar notes in her book, Secret Signs and Symbols that “the term zombie has come to mean a person who carries out certain actions automatically without seeming to apply any conscious thought or decision making process.”
I know why zombies have been giving me nightmares for at least a decade, but why have zombies entered the collective mind of America as the monster of the year? Is it all because of the CDC’s propaganda? The concept of a zombie as an animated corpse or otherwise “husk” of a person under the influence of a sorcerer has existed for centuries; the concept of a zombie as an undead monster with an insatiable desire for brains has existed since the late 1960s; the zombie as a diseased, crazed, living freak is more recent, and the idea of a zombie as a dull or apathetic person must have existed at least since prescription drugs became so popular. So what is propelling this zombie-apocalypse compulsion right now?
Author Stephen T. Asma looks at the history of monsters in the mortal imagination in his book “On Monsters: An Unnatural History of Our Worst Fears,” and asserts that the monsters we conceive of and insert into our popular culture (i.e., through movies) parallel societal conditions of the time.
So, perhaps the constant threat of “bioterrorism” made us choose zombies. Perhaps all the dead or wounded warriors with missing limbs in our recent wars remind us of the decaying, undead corpses. Perhaps those aimless individuals who do nothing but stare at their cell phones or televisions compel us to resurrect a monster in their image. Maybe our fears of dwindling natural resources coupled with our complete inability to stop consuming everything in sight make us sympathetic to the zombies. All in all, a zombie apocalypse seems like the perfect metaphor for the state of our society. Zombies survive on the flesh of the uninfected living, but they consume the edible ones so rapidly that their own demise is imminent. They will eat their way through all the eligible people, and there will be no way to renew the resource of non-infected human flesh. Zombies can’t eat zombies, and people can’t eat money.
That said, I have spent a lot of time thinking of alternative solutions to survival in the pre-apocalyptic “real world,” and have concluded that should the incidences of flesh-eating, zombie-like behavior escalate, I will not “join ’em.” The best way to survive any situation (zombie apocalypse included) is to decide you want to live. If it gets to the point where “living” means giving in (“If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”) and becoming “undead,” I’ll take person number three’s advice and end my own life. I will never choose to be a zombie. Will you?
“We’re trying to encourage people to change the way they look at our country. Instead of from a negative perspective, look at what’s positive about it.” -Dave Bray
Imagine what classic rock would sound like if you were getting greasy and sweaty while fixing up a beat down Camaro and wearing patriotism on your sleeve (maybe in the form of a for-life tattoo or an American flag draped over your shoulder), and you can almost hear the sound of conservative rock band Madison Rising.
Madison Rising is a rock band with a message— a message of liberty, independence, and the American Dream (as well as smaller government and personal responsibility). Front man Dave Bray describes the band’s sound as “a straightforward five piece…there’s some keyboard stuff on the album that adds a certain mystique. It’s like classic rock on steroids.” Dave explains that Madison Rising isn’t “trying to reinvent the wheel”— they just have a different message: “We stand up and support our soldiers, and we want smaller government.”
Madison Rising members banded together last April, set up shop in New York City’s Times Square, and released their self-titled debut album in October. Navy-veteran vocalist Dave describes himself and guitar player Chris Schreiner as the “gun guys,” guitarist Alex Bodnar as “the philosophical one,” bass player Steve Padelski as the “funny man,” and drummer Sam Fishman as “the voice of reason.” Dave explains that the band is an eclectic mix of musicians with varying backgrounds and influences, but that they all “share the same sort of mental space when it comes to music.”
Madison Rising’s album was mixed by Grammy Award winning producer Ron Saint Germain and included collaboration with songwriter Andy Waldeck and CEO of Purple Eagle Entertainment, Richard Mgrdechian. When I asked Dave which songs on the album address the band’s stated values, he cited “American Dream” as being the song that “talks about lots of those things; your independence, your liberties, and freedoms. As well as paying homage to Americans who fell for this country, and keeping it [the American Dream] alive, it sort of touches on that moral fabric that needs to be there for a country to be a country.”
My initial reaction to hearing about a “conservative, Republican, patriotic, alternative rock band” was to laugh. I always pictured Republicans as greedy bad guys, and my musical preferences are outdated by a few decades. I’m convinced that real rock and roll died sometime in the 70s with the birth of disco, and that truly good mainstream music ceased to exist in the 80s, probably close to the time MTV became popular and “music” turned into a visual spectacle.
After listening to the Madison Rising album for the first time, I was still skeptical. The music sounded good (i.e. high-quality sound and talented musicians), but I couldn’t get past what I perceived to be the impostor that is alternative rock, and the lyrics that were so straightforward, they made me wonder if I was being brainwashed. However, after giving the album a second listen and researching the band, I did feel an urge to be more patriotic, and I began to genuinely appreciate the classic-rock-on steroids effect (kind of like when I’m exposed to Christian rock, I find myself appreciating those people who are such good Christians that they can actually appreciate the music about the joys of being such a good Christian).
With songs like “Right to Bear” and “Honk If You Want Peace,” it’s not unusual for listeners to teeter between confusion and appreciation. Dave says the band gets mixed reactions from the NYC nightclub and rock venue crowds: “People don’t really know how to take us at first. I speak a little bit about what the songs are about, just to give people a heads up— we wear our Patriotism and our pride for our country on our sleeve. Sometimes it doesn’t go over quite as strongly as you would want. But in the end, after a show, there are veterans in the crowd, people who really do care, people that know that it’s gonna take people to be verbal about their patriotism.”
Madison Rising also performs at politically charged events, from Tea Party rallies in Scranton, PA, to places like the Capital Hill Club and events like Occupy Congress in Washington, DC. They performed at the We Stand with Gibson Rally in Nashville, TN (thanks to Lisa Nei Norton, head of Big Dog Music Mafia) and played on the Mike Huckabee show on FOX News. This month, Madison Rising will be playing an NRA event in St. Louis and making stops in Nashville, Kentucky, and Queens, NY, along the way, and a mini-tour through the South is in the works.
Dave describes a typical Madison Rising show as “a rock show. It’s entertaining, it’s loud. There’s some really, really intense portions of the show [we get a little more serious when it comes to our soldiers], but there’s also some other parts that we take the tone down and make it a little more fun loving.”
When it comes down to it, Madison Rising’s message is what makes them different from other bands. “It’s what a lot of people would quote as the “conservative ideals” that make our band completely different, that set it apart from any other band I’ve ever been a part of, or have seen anyone else do in rock music,” Dave explains. “A lot of country guys will stand up and have a ballad or an anthem for America, but nobody’s ever really taken that premise and stood behind it with an entire album. What Madison Rising is trying to do is change the outlook and perspective on America; it’s like that old rusty Camaro in the backyard. It’s beat up, and it’s seen better days. A little elbow grease, some hard work, a fresh coat of paint, and I still believe that Camaro can run like dickens, and I still believe that this country can do the same thing.”
After interviewing Dave, I also got a crash course in how conservatives envision this restoration process: “Everybody knows about being hungry— from watching the movie Rocky— ‘If you ain’t hungry, you ain’t gonna win.’ The American Dream is about being hungry, about chewing on the bit, sucking it up, and sort of relishing in the suck factor, as well as the successes. I kind of feel like the government needs to step out of people’s lives. Let people take care of people. That seems to be the lost fabric of this country— people caring for other people. Have a little pride, love of country. Have a little pride in this nation’s history and what those who have sacrificed their lives to give to the people of America so that others may live free.”
A song from their album, “Honk If You Want Peace,” paints a picture of how protesters go about the restoration process in a misguided way. When I asked Dave what Madison Rising is encouraging people to do instead, he answered: “Madison Rising is just trying to get people that haven’t been exposed to any kind of political thought to open their eyes, and not just take what’s being spoon-fed to them by the mainstream media. We’ve played Tea Party rallies, which are basically protesting for the Constitution and against the government, and how the government attacks it. But we pack up, and we clean up, and we leave at the end of the day. A lot of people involved in the Occupy movement really believe they are doing the right thing the right way…They’re going after the right thing, the right message. We want smaller government just as much as you. We want our freedoms just as much as you. But being violent, camping out, and pooping on cop cars isn’t the way to be heard. It’s just not. Camping is about partying, not protesting.”
Coincidentally or not, Madison Rising’s message comes at a time when most Americans are probably spending more time than usual being curious about the state of the government, the future of the country, and politics in general— and I’m not talking about the coming zombie apocalypse ( although Dave Bray does admit that Madison Rising is trying to resurrect the moral fiber and constitutionality of their name-sake, James Madison, in the form of a patriotic zombie); I’m referring to the drama that is a presidential election year. So, people, on that note, do your part and vote. Form an informed opinion of your own, and take part in the glory of democracy. Madison Rising has a message worth screaming about; the least we can do is head to the polls.
Now is the perfect time for us to get informed about what is going on, to seek many perspectives, and to use our unique human powers of reasoning and consciousness to show our soldiers and ancestors how much their lives mean to us, simply by becoming aware of our freedoms and other things we often take for granted. Being that we are so self-important and civilized, it often slips our minds how many people had to give their lives to ensure, for example, the simple freedom and joy of a female (such as myself) to be allowed to sit in a tavern and drink beer (let alone unaccompanied by a man), or the more complex freedom of a patriotic rock band to scream, “The government makes the gun laws, so they can take our right to own; every citizen unarmed is a citizen they control.”
So, check out Madison Rising, listen to their songs, and consider how you can help restore a rusty Camaro to its former glory. If you have any spare parts or scraps you’d like to contribute, Madison Rising is looking for sponsorship and support. Discounts are available for CD’s bought in bulk, and make great gifts for soldiers and vets.
“There’s a reason it’s the second amendment–it’s not the ninth, it’s not the fourth; it’s the second. At the end of the day, it’s the only thing protecting the first. We’re talking last line of defense…it doesn’t matter how technologically advanced a society may become. Human nature never changes.” Dave Bray of Madison Rising (to The Inquisitr)
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