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News & Announcements

Wednesday, April 17, 2019 - 11:26pm
Sunday, April 8, 2018 - 4:09pm
Friday, August 25, 2017 - 2:46pm
Thursday, June 1, 2017 - 7:13pm

Shows / Events

Private Event

Saturday, June 6, 2020 - 7:00pm

The Defending Champions are booked for a wedding on this date.  

To book us for a private party or wedding please email: [email protected] 

Private Event

Saturday, October 10, 2020 - 3:00pm

The Defending Champions are booked for a private party on this date.

To book us for a private party or wedding please email: [email protected] 


About Us


"Everything they do is done to perfection, with no overplaying and an utterly crisp, solid feel that gives dancers the reliable bedrock that they crave" - LiveUnsigned.com

"this band screams originality." - SweetTunez.com

"The Defending Champions are what is needed in popular music today. The band brings intriguing depth and stylish breadth to each and every one of its songs. Their latest album called “Of The Legend Convention” is a perfect example of the coolness that is The Defending Champions." - Jersey Rock Review

"The bottom line is that The Defending Champions will make your body move and you will want to hear more of them. So go and check out The Defending Champions latest album “Of The Legend Convention” available now." – Jersey Rock Review

"The band blend reggae, ska, and rock together for a delicious, danceable sound that is undeniably groovy, funky, and jammy." – Star Beat Music



champs at the bitter end 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, 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, Yogi Berra Stadium, Maxwell’s, Kenny’s Castaways, Knitting Factory, Bitter End, Stanhope House 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.



Frank Movie Trailer

We are pumped and proud to announce that our song "Raise my glass" has been featured in the movie trailer for a new movie called "Frank".

Acclaimed Irish director Lenny Abrahamson follows up his award-winning films Adam & Paul, Garage and What Richard Did with an offbeat comedy about a young wannabe musician, Jon (Domhnall Gleeson), who finds himself out of his depth when he joins an avant-garde pop band led by the mysterious and enigmatic Frank (Michael Fassbender), a musical genius who hides himself inside a large fake head, and his terrifying bandmate Clara (Maggie Gyllenhaal).

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