Rock national anthem raises eyebrows at Daytona

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Associated Press

Posted on February 22, 2014 at 3:30 PM

Updated Saturday, Feb 22 at 3:32 PM

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — "America's most patriotic rock band" performed America's most patriotic song at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday.

And the reviews were mixed.

Madison Rising's rendition of the national anthem had a few drivers chuckling and some fans shaking their heads before the Nationwide Series season opener.

The band's version of "The Star Spangled Banner," which has more than 5 million views on YouTube, was shortened for television purposes. Nonetheless, the guitar-heavy interpretation seemed to catch NASCAR off guard. Drivers Brad Keselowski and Danica Patrick had puzzled looks on their faces near the end of it.

"Yes, we took some liberties," lead singer Dave Bray said before the performance. "But we were already taking some liberties with it musically and melodically. We wanted to make it a rock song people could sing and enjoy. The reverence is still there, but it has sort of taken on the death march in a way. It's very sullen and sung in a very sullen way. We thought it should be more of a celebratory rock anthem."

Bray said the full version lasts about 4 minutes. The band, which performed a pre-race concert before the 2013 Nationwide finale in Homestead, agreed to cut it in half.

"We knew it would be a door closer for us if it wasn't accepted by NASCAR," Bray said.

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