Local Band To Perform Free Concert For Charity Event Attendees

The Knight Owls (from left to right) Manny Pena, Matt Check, Ron Wagenhoffer, John Check (Photo credit: Stephanie Takavchin)

WOODBRIDGE–On Sunday, May 22 at Middlesex County College, The Knight Owls, a four-piece blues and rock band from Fords, will perform a free concert during the 2011 Arthritis Walk beginning at 10:30 a.m. In addition, the band will donate half of the proceeds made from merchandise sales on that day towards the charity.

The Arthritis Walk is the signature fundraiser for the Arthritis Foundation, the leading health organization addressing the needs of some 50 million Americans living with arthritis; the condition is the nation’s most common cause of disability. National sponsors of the event include AMGEN, Pfizer and Tylenol. This year’s walk at Middlesex County College has raised over $27,000 to date.


The Knight Owls are John Check (lead vocals and guitar,) Matt Check (guitar and vocals), Manny Pena (bass) and Ron Wagenhoffer (drums/percussion).

“This is a great event for a great cause,” Check, the band’s guitarist says. “I’m glad we’ve gotten the opportunity to play. We hope people are going to stop by and enjoy the day, and our music. It’s always nice to play to new ears.”

The band debuted at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park last July, having traveled the central New Jersey circuit playing several other venues thereafter.

During the concert, The Knight Owls will be playing tracks from their debut full-length album Who Gives a Hoot, which was recorded at Studio 522 in Fords and released in November 2010. The album includes 13 tracks of original music written by John and Matt Check, as well as an eight-minute instrumental that closes the album and will be available during the concert for purchase.

With their undeniable talent and original take on two of music’s most popular genres, The Knight Owls provide fans of music’s oldest sounds an opportunity to hear something new. The history of blues, as well as rock-and-roll music, is rich with some of music’s biggest names. For The Knight Owls, the band credits the likes of The Allman Brothers Band, the Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, Muddy Waters and Neil Young as some of their biggest influences.

“I think the guitar work is what really gives the band their edge,” say James Miller, owner of Studio 522. “Originally I didn’t know the album was going to be as many songs as it turned out to be, but the band came in prepared. I think Matt is going to become known as one of the top guitar players out there.”

Despite the over 30 years of shared musicianship between the members of the band, the behind the scenes story of The Knight Owls is told by the bond between John and Matt Check; they are father and son.

Although already serving as the frontman of popular New Jersey cover band The Holy Smokes, John jumped at the chance to create original music alongside his son when Matt came looking for a lead singer for The Knight Owls.

“Once I realized how good he was getting, I started to see we were going to have a relationship playing together,” Check says. “I’m going to help out my son. This is what he wants to do and if he needs me to be the lead singer, I’m going do it for him.”

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