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The Defending Champions / Bio

It’s hard to pinpoint just when the seven musical titans that now form The Defending Champions became a band. If you’ve ever listened to their music, you might think that they are telepathic septuplets, born to play each note you are hearing, chosen to lead a legendary convention of life-loving citizens. In truth, they are a bunch of friends who have been connected through the years by an overwhelming desire to write solid music and entertain the hell out of people. Sometime in the year 2007, Matt Ryan and Dean Nevolis, after having been in the same band together since puberty, dissembled their childhood group and joined forces with longtime band-mate, saxophonist Matthew Schoenebaum. Together with drummer Shawn Fichtner, bassist Eric Swiontkowski, trumpeter Jovan Alvarez, and percussionist Dave DeRiso, they form The Defending Champions.
Composing with their ears bent to the righteous stylings of soul, ska and gypsy music, and held fast by rock’n’roll, the band is allowed enormous room to impact all those ready to dance and be captivated. They’ve been enjoyed throughout the Tri-State area: performing at such venues as Musikfest in Bethlehem, PA, Maxwell’s, Kenny’s Castaways, Crash Mansion, and Rockwood Music Hall. Announced by Jersey Rock Review as “…what is needed in popular music today,” and, in their own words, writing music “intended for the mobilization of the human,” The Defending Champions are what you’ve wanted to hear but didn’t know was sonically possible: better music for the best life.

Our brand new album "Breakfast Of...The Defending Champions" is due out February 8th (2013)....It's available no itunes, CDbaby, amazon, spotify and lots more!

General Info

Band Members
Matt, Dean, Shawn, Shooby, Swini, Dave and Jovan
Artist Name
The Defending Champions
Home Page
Active Since
Rock / ska / Soul

Contact Info

Verona, NJ

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