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If you think the nation’s anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” is out of date or out of touch, maybe it’s because you recall your high-school pep band’s slightly out-of-tune, arrhythmic version. Or one of those celebrity performances.

Might be why comedian Daniel Tosh points out, “No one has ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ on their iPod.”

But the rendition by Madison Rising, with its pulsating bass, screaming lead guitar and pounding drums all backing up the immemorial words, is NOT your high school pep band.

And now Madison Rising is challenging Americans to renew an intimacy with the meaning of America’s anthem and maybe make it the top rock song in the nation.

The group’s members issued a challenge before last November’s election to the nation to reach 1 million views online by Nov. 6. They made it, with weeks to spare.

A few weeks later, the total passed 2.5 million. Now they’re putting another goal in front of the American public: Can the plateau of 5 million views be reached by July 4?

With nearly 3.5 million views already, it seems possible.

On their website, the band members also quote WND columnist Bill Press saying, “The Star-Spangled Banner is stupid and embarrassing.”

“Let’s show Press and Tosh – and everyone else – that we still believe in this country and our national anthem,” the band says.

See one of the best collections of flags around, at the WND SuperStore.

It’s not the first time the popular band has moved beyond key signatures and refrains to social commentary, with titles such as “Right to Bear,” “Honk if You Want Peace” and “Hallowed Ground.”

The members make a point of saying, “This band is on a mission to not only make great music, but also send a message that American culture is alive and well.”

Band manager Richard Mgrdechian confirmed: “We hit our goal of one million views on the video on the morning of September 14th – the exact date Francis Scott Key wrote the original version 198 years ago.

“There’s something bigger at work here, and we plan to do everything we can to take advantage of this serendipitous circumstance to continue to re-energize our national anthem and make it the No. 1 best selling rock song in the country.”

The song also can be downloaded directly to iPods and other devices.

The band reported that it, too, was on a roll, partnering with the National Anthem Celebration Foundation to help increase awareness of and appreciation for the anthem.

It recently has appeared in Orlando, Los Angeles, Orange County, New York and Clovis, N.M. Coming gigs are in Washington; Lancaster, Pa.; Harrisburg, Pa.; numerous Texas locations; and several places in Michigan and North Carolina.

This summer, the band will perform at the famed Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, S.D., which annually attracts hundreds of thousands of riders.

Band members explain their aim to promote “liberty, independence, smaller government and personal responsibility.”

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