Knockout Theory
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Knockout Theory


Band Alternative Punk


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Spotlight Review -> Knockout Theory"

Six months ago, the members of Knockout Theory were sitting in Brian Strelko's basement deciding which toppings to get on their pizza and throwing the word "batch" in every sentence.

Fast-forward to today and "batch" is still frequented in their vocabulary, but they've moved on from decisions regarding what to eat and onto harder questions, like which venues they can book for their east coast tour this summer.

Knockout Theory has certainly come a long way in six months. After grueling sessions of recording, mixing and producing, the punk quartet is finally ready to release their full-length debut Killing the Past.

While all four of Knockout Theory's members are still in high school, the album is mature enough to hold it's own next to even the most seasoned of punk veterans (Pennywise, NOFX, The Offspring—all groups the band cites as influences).

What makes this album something truly extraordinary is the range of genres that it covers in just eleven tracks. Strelko's gritty vocals in songs like "Melancholy" and guitarist Jeff Hersch's lyrics in songs like "Conspiracy Government" give the entire album a punk rock backbone.

But each individual track feels like it could spawn a whole new album entirely. Amazingly talented sophomore guitarist Derek Munro delivers incredible solos on a number of cuts, adding elements of metal and hardcore to the mix.

It's fair share of "whoa"s, "oh"s and catchy choruses make Killing the Past a crowd favorite, as well. Whether you're throwing down in the pit of singing along up front, the energy given off on stage clearly transcends into the entire audience.

As the group gets ready to release the album, which will be available at, Curmudgeon Records in Somerville and Vintage Vinyl in Fords (as well as at their shows), they're working on booking the aforementioned summer tour, which is to include stops in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

To check them out locally, visit their MySpace and look for the calendar. Upcoming shows include their huge CD release party with Crash Romeo and The Waffle Stompers at Club Sparks in Bridgewater on May 31st. They'll return to Club Sparks on June 14th for a show with Static Radio, and appear June 21st at Shield's Skatepark in Flemington.

- The Lamp

"Not Down For The Count: The First Round With Knockout Theory"

Brian Strelko’s driveway is overcrowded with amplifiers, a drum kit, a few guitar cases and various bags of snack foods all hoping to fit into the back of a silver mini-van.
Stelko, along with bandmates Jeff Hersch, Mike Carbone and Derek Munro, are prepping to play their first album release show as Knockout Theory, a power punk quartet hailing from Flemington, New Jersey.
With only five hours left before they take the stage, the air is thick with anticipation and the scent of Cooler Ranch Doritos, a delicacy that drummer Carbone says is hard to find these days.
Much like a good high school punk band.
But in a world of Nacho Cheesier (almost every other girl-jeans wearing, microphone swinging, “CIRCLE PITTT!” cliché high school garage band) Knockout Theory is that hard to find bag of Cooler Ranch.
Coming together last June after their former bands called it quits, Knockout Theory (whose name is derived from a conversation about Yogos that somehow became a converation about UFC fighter Yoko Takahashi) worked non-stop for over eight months preparing to release their first full-length album, Killing The Past.
While all four of Knockout Theory’s members may be in high school, the album is mature enough to hold it’s own next to even the most seasoned of punk veterans.
What makes their album truly stand out from the efforts of their peers is the range of genres that it covers in just eleven tracks. Strelko’s gritty vocals in songs like “Melancholy” and guitarist Hersch’s lyrics in songs like “Conspiracy Government” give the entire album a punk rock backbone. But each individual track feels like it could spawn a whole new album entirely. Amazingly talented guitarist Munro delivers incredible solos on a number of cuts, adding elements of metal and hardcore to the mix.
It’s fair share of “whoa”s, “oh”s and catchy choruses make Killing the Past a crowd favorite, as well. Whether you’re throwing down or singing along on stage (something that is quite common at a Knockout Theory show), the energy clearly transcends from the stage into the entire audience.
After successfully packing up the van, the band heads off to Club Sparks, a popular venue in Bridgewater. While driving down the endless stretch of Route 22 East, the motivated foursome discuss their plans for the upcoming summer.
“It’s pretty simple: Write. Tour. Record,” says Hersch.
“We want to play shows in the Tri-State area every single weekend,” adds Strelko. “A Warped Tour date would be really amazing.”
After two minutes in Club Sparks, it was easy to see that their fanbase rivaled that of any band on Warped Tour. The majority of the audience was already clad in Knockout Theory t-shirts and the free stickers the band makes available at every show.
When fellow Jersey foursome Crash Romeo takes the stage, I stand alone in the center of the floor. Though Crash Romeo has been signed to Trustkill (home to bands like Bedlight for Blue Eyes and Bullet for My Valentine) for over two years, they’re not the reason for the turnout of tonight’s show. As anyone can see within twenty minutes, everyone is here for Knockout Theory.
As the openers exit and Strelko, Hersch, Carbone and Munro take the stage, all hell breaks loose. Starting with a cover of Ricky Martin’s “Livin’ La Vida Loca” is quite fitting for the occasion. The audience has certainly gone loco, jumping on stage to sing, running around in the pit, climbing on each other’s shoulders and even a few brave souls (including Hersch) attempt crowd surfing.
After almost an hour of antics, they play their final song.
Hersch excitedly screams his first thoughts on the show.
“Amazing! Audience wise, the best show we’ve ever played.”
Lawrence Dwyer, whose production company is responsible for tonight’s show and an upcoming Knockout Theory show with Static Radio, has worked closely with the band since some of their first shows together.
“I started Lawrence Dwyer Productions as a way to put amazing punk and ska shows together for the kids to come have fun at,” he says. “Out of the many bands I’ve worked with, Knockout Theory has got to be one of my favorite to book. Ever since I saw them play at the Somerville Court House last August, I’ve been in love with them. Every show proves to be better than the last, which is unbelievable. They’re always louder, more exciting, packed with crazy kids ready to beat the shit out of each other.”
Eighteen year old Annie Banka is one of these crazy kids.
“It’s really incredible that kids my age could put on a show like that. I’ve seen a lot of legit bands, like Green Day and Against Me!, but I swear that Knockout Theory is just as good, as they haven’t even been doing this for half as long. I’m really curious to see where they’ll be in five years.”
But according to the band, they’re just as curious.
“Five years from now? I can’t even answer that question in regards to two years from now,” says Hersch as he dines on S’mores near a bonfire at the after-party.
“Definitely a big band on an indie label,” adds Carbone, who then starts an analogy that begins: ‘Bad Religion is to Epitaph…’ but never finishes.
“It really depends on how hard we push ourselves,” says Strelko. “If we take the actions that we feel are required, there are no limits. We definitely have a live show that holds its own, and as long as the music finds its way to the public, we’re good. We haven’t really had much negative response.”

For the most part, all responses have been positive. Their debut album is already being sold on (where it has just been sent out to its first European buyer in Germany) and Vintage Vinyl in Fords, New Jersey, which was recently named number five in Rolling Stone’s Top 100 Record Stores in the U.S. It will also be available for sale on iTunes within in the upcoming month.
Although two of its members will be going away to college in the fall (Strelko is to attend New York University for Music Business and Hersch is to attend Rider University for Journalism), the band plans to stay together for a very long time.
“I’d like to make it to the point where playing music becomes our primary job,” says Strelko.
“We’ve made so many great fans already,” says Carbone. “I look back at this last year and can’t believe how far we’ve come. I never expected to have a full length already. I feel like this is just the beginning.”
And what a good beginning it is.
- Crossings Magazine

"Bridgewater JCC hosts summer jam concert"

The seven bands who performed July 21 at the Summer Jam Concert at the Jewish Community Center in Bridgewater were a bit of both worlds. Some seemed serious, while others just wanted to have fun. Each group played about 20 minutes, and just about everyone was in high school or college.

Knockout Theory of Flemington captured the crowd's attention with a refreshingly creative punk rock sound and an eclectic mix of songs, four of which they wrote. The band consists of Jeff Hersch, 18, on guitar and backing vocals; Brian Strelko, 18, lead vocals; Derek Munro, 16, on guitar, of Hunterdon Central Regional High School, and Mike Carbone, 16, as drummer, of Somerville High School.

"I love their energy onstage," said Hailey Arbelo, 18 of Whitehouse, one of about 200 people there.

Brittany Lance, 15, who will be a sophomore at Somerville High School, said Knockout Theory is, "really unique" and that the group "can't really compare to another band." - Courier News, NJ

"CD Review: Knockout Theory - Killing The Past"

Knockout Theory are a Punk/Rock/Alternative band from New Jersey, U.S.A. They are self-proclaimed melodic Punk Rock act and are the brainchild of Brian Strelko (vocals and bass) and Jeff Hersh (vocals and guitar). These two guys were once former rivals who joined forces and formed Knockout Theory in August 2007 after they had both been playing in various bands for many years. They enlisted the services of Derek Munro to play lead guitar and Mike Carbone to play drums.

Their debut CD was released at the end of May 2008 on Vintage Vinyl and is a joyously exuberant collection of 11 top quality tracks, called Killing the Past.

Each track contains a good solid heavy drumming and lively vibrant bass backbeat with a highly enjoyable blend of guitar harmonies and great big ripping riffs. They even throw in some great Reggae and Ska styled rhythms to complete the mix. - The Rock and Roll Report, UK


Killing the Past (2008 LP)
1.) Melancholy
2.) Last Chance
3.) Waste
4.) Self-Destruction
5.) Medal of Honor
6.) Trapped Inside
7.) Miss Antarctica
8.) Ashes (We all Fall)
9.) Conspiracy Government
10.) Out on a Limb
11.) Year One

Self-Titled (2007 EP)
1.) Melancholy
2.) Conspiracy Government
3.) Hollywood's Finest
4.) Trapped Inside

-High School Musical Goes Punk
-AMP Energy 4-Pack February 2009
-Gallatone Records, Vol 6

All tracks from the latest CD are recieving airplay nationally on the college radio circuit, as well as national and international commercial stations.



Knockout Theory was born and raised in the basement of a suburban home in Flemington, New Jersey. As the brainchild of former rivals Brian Strelko and Jeff Hersch, Knockout Theory has proved to be an unstoppable punk rock machine since their beginning in August 2007. While playing in previous bands for many years, the members of the punk/rock quartet had already set the stage for a triumphant future. In the group’s formation, Hersch and Strelko recruited fellow guitarist Derek Munro to play lead, as well as the incomparable Mike Carbone to claim his rightful throne on the drums. All were determined to make a lasting effect on New Jersey’s fading music scene.

Knockout Theory truly cannot be restricted to only one genre. As a self-proclaimed "melodic punk rock" group, this untamed-beast of a band fuses traditional fast punk rock in the name of Pennywise and NOFX with guitar and vocal harmonies in the same vein as A Wilhelm Scream and No Trigger. Complex solos and lively riffs accompanied by the occasional hardcore break down add a very mature touch to the band’s sound; bursts of ska and reggae are also prevalent in a night’s set. With heavy influences in 90s punk rock and melodic hardcore, the group's sound is topped off with powerful lyrics ranging anywhere from social issues to personal stories. Knockout Theory’s live shows are full of non-stop energy and their dedication to the music is blatantly obvious.

With the release of their debut full length Killing the Past in 2008, the band has established a large fan base not only throughout North America, but in Japan, Germany, and Australia as well. They have accomplished the unthinkable in only one year and their future only holds more opportunities for the young punk rock quartet. With an appearance on Fox’s Fearless Music, sponsorship by Amp Energy, and a song featured on the upcoming High School Music Goes Punk compilation, U.S. Tour plans for 2009 are already underway.

Hide your mothers, sisters and daughters.