Skip to main content

The King and Queen of Dork Rock

07/30/2014 01:51PM, Published by Lev, Categories: In Print, Arts+Entertainment


Jill Knapp and Matt Casarino of Hot Breakfast, who will be performing at the Kennett Flash on Aug. 1





By Richard L. Gaw

Staff Writer

In the online version of the Urban Dictionary, there is, currently, no definition for the term “Dork Rock.”

So it's up to the music to help fill in the blanks. Less conspicuous, far friendlier and easily more accessible than its rival Mope Rock, Dork Rock relies heavily on tongue-in-cheek wit, the effective spin of the most clever of lyrics, and the freedom of the musician to not take himself or herself too seriously. Ironically, the frequent punch line target of many Dork Rock musicians are, in fact, musicians who take themselves very seriously.

For the last four years, Hot Breakfast, featuring Matt Casarino and Jill Knapp, have served as the local definition of the genre, and in most musical circles from Philadelphia to Rehoboth. In addition to performing in Wilmington and Chester County, they've taken their act to the South by Southwest (SXSW14) in Austin, Texas, as well as to venues in Boston, California, Phoenix, and outdoor festivals in Austin, Reno, Wilmington, and the Delaware beaches. Their 2012 singles “It Only Takes Two to Rock,” “Hole In Your Pants,” and “An Idiot for Christmas” have been getting local airplay, and their self-titled EP won the 2012 WSTW Hometown Heroes Homey Award for Best EP. Knapp also took home the Homey Award for Best Lead Singer.

Hot Breakfast’s latest album, 39 Summers, features 12 original and diverse songs and was produced by the duo and Ritchie Rubini. The CD was released May 18, 2013 at World Café Live at the Queen to a sold-out house. This album was nominated for Album of the Year at the 2013 WSTW Homey Awards, and tracks from the disc have been played on Little Steven’s Underground Garage on SiriusXM, iradiophilly, Y-NOT Radio, Gashouse Radio, Graffiti Radio, and Rockers Dive Radio.

On Aug. 1, they will be bringing their penchant for hard-rocking originals and quirky theatrical cover songs to the Kennett Flash, headlining a bill with comical musician Todd Chappelle and comedienne Melissa Bernard. Cleverly entitled “Comedy! Music! Comedy Music,” the evening will be a showcase of the work that has earned them the reputation as the area's premiere dork rock power duo.

"We're the ones who claim the title of dork rockers, so we love it and we're happy about it," Knapp said. "We consider ourselves dorks, and we consider it a badge of honor. Nerds have risen to the top. We're no longer the kids who get beaten up in locker rooms. It allows us to do exceptionally great things."

To hear a Hot Breakfast song, or to see them live, is to immediately understand that although the band leans heavily toward offbeat subjects with a comical edge, that a bucketful of talent comes with it. Casarino's songwriting is a musical offshoot of his work as a playwright, where he has written several plays that have been performed in nearly every state in the country. Knapp has an extensive background in voice and musical theatre. When they first began kicking around the idea of playing together, they looked around the local musical landscape and saw a dozen variations on the same theme; folk duos were plentiful throughout Delaware, and together, Knapp and Casarino looked at ways of hitting on a unique sound and genre.

"As soon as we started playing together, neither of us wanted to be a standard folk acoustic duo," Casarino said. "There's a lot of them and they've already got that field covered. We wanted to make it okay to be goofy and have fun. Not all of our songs and playlists are dorky, but dorkiness has been a nice hook that gets people listening."

Knapp said that Hot Breakfast has often been compared to Barenaked Ladies, who are known for their brand of offbeat lyrics heard in such songs as "If I Had a Million Dollars." Yet, like Barenaked Ladies, Hot Breakfast is far more than the musical equivalent of a one-trick pony. It's not uncommon for Knapp and Casarino to slip a few non-comical original songs into their sets.

"The truth is that the Barenaked Ladies also have a lot of sincere songs that aren't considered funny," Knapp said. "We connect with a lot of the audience and so they feel included, which allows us to build up their trust, and that allows us to get serious onstage at times through our music. They give us this room to float from dorkitude to serious stuff."

For those who have seen Hot Breakfast perform before at The Kennett Flash, Casarino and Knapp said that they can expect to hear new material. For those who have yet to see them, this Friday night should be a welcome change.

"They should expect a night of comedy fun of music," Knapp said. "We're full of quirk and puns, and we're sillier as opposed to funnier. We promise that they'll laugh and have a laid back evening to kick off the weekend."

"And they'll get to experience a lot of extreme dorkininess," Casarino added.



Comedy! Music! Comedy Music!

With Hot Breakfast, Todd Chappelle and Melissa Bernard

August 1 at 8 p.m.

The Kennett Flash

102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square

For more information, visit www.kennettflash.org.



Like what you're reading? Subscribe to Chester County's free newsletter to catch every headline



kennett flash hot breakfast


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Fitness Walks

    05/27/2016
    08:30AM — 09:30AM

    Enjoy the natural beauty of Mt. Cuba Center's gardens, forests, and meadows this spring and exper...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Children’s I-Spy Birding

    05/28/2016
    09:00AM — 10:30AM

    The last Saturday of the month from 9am-10:30am. Join local birding expert and environmental edu...


  • Herp Search

    05/28/2016
    02:00PM — 04:00PM

    With Gary Stolz, Naturalist Saturday, May 28th from 2:00PM-4:00PM Location: Bucktoe Creek Prese...


  • Brad and Dad Duo At Kreutz Creek

    05/28/2016
    07:00PM — 10:00PM

    Come join us for a night of wine and Music May 28th at the Kreutz Creek Wine Tasting Room in West...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Debtors Anonymous

    05/30/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    In D.A., our purpose is threefold: to stop incurring unsecured debt, to share our experience wit...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Pajama Storytime

    06/01/2016
    06:30PM — 07:30PM

    Wednesdays at 6:30 PM - Join us for an evening of stories, songs, crafts, and fun to end your day...


  • Pro-Act's Family Education Program

    06/01/2016
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    When someone is addicted to drugs & alcohol, the diease affects the entire family. Each month PR...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Drop in on Nature

    06/02/2016
    09:30AM — 12:00PM

    oin TLC for our Drop-In on Nature Playgroup! This program is designed for children 0-Kindergarten...


  • Clutterers Anonymous

    06/02/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Clutterers Anonymous℠ (CLA℠) is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strengt...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Fitness Walks

    05/27/2016
    08:30AM — 09:30AM

    Enjoy the natural beauty of Mt. Cuba Center's gardens, forests, and meadows this spring and exper...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Children’s I-Spy Birding

    05/28/2016
    09:00AM — 10:30AM

    The last Saturday of the month from 9am-10:30am. Join local birding expert and environmental edu...


  • Herp Search

    05/28/2016
    02:00PM — 04:00PM

    With Gary Stolz, Naturalist Saturday, May 28th from 2:00PM-4:00PM Location: Bucktoe Creek Prese...


  • Brad and Dad Duo At Kreutz Creek

    05/28/2016
    07:00PM — 10:00PM

    Come join us for a night of wine and Music May 28th at the Kreutz Creek Wine Tasting Room in West...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Downingtown Fine Arts Festival

    05/29/2016
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    The work of 40 professional artists from all over the United States will converge upon Downingtow...


  • Taste Kennett Food Tours

    05/29/2016
    01:00PM — 04:00PM

    Taste Kennett Food Tours, creators of memorable, unique and fun food experiences, offer three-hou...


  • Twistback Center For The Arts Inaugural Spring Arts Wine and Music Festival will be held on the T...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Debtors Anonymous

    05/30/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    In D.A., our purpose is threefold: to stop incurring unsecured debt, to share our experience wit...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Pajama Storytime

    06/01/2016
    06:30PM — 07:30PM

    Wednesdays at 6:30 PM - Join us for an evening of stories, songs, crafts, and fun to end your day...


  • Pro-Act's Family Education Program

    06/01/2016
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    When someone is addicted to drugs & alcohol, the diease affects the entire family. Each month PR...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Drop in on Nature

    06/02/2016
    09:30AM — 12:00PM

    oin TLC for our Drop-In on Nature Playgroup! This program is designed for children 0-Kindergarten...


  • Clutterers Anonymous

    06/02/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Clutterers Anonymous℠ (CLA℠) is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strengt...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Kennett/Unionville Relay for Life

    06/03/2016
    06:00PM — 08:00AM

    At Relay For Life events, communities across the globe come together to honor cancer survivors, r...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • On June 4th, 2016, The Octorara School District will be hosting the 2nd Annual Octorara Angels Ra...


  • PurpleStride Delaware 2016 - 5K Run/Walk

    06/04/2016
    08:00AM — 12:00PM

    PurpleStride Delaware is back and better than ever! This year, our 5K run and family-friendly wal...


  • Chester County Blues Barbecue

    06/04/2016
    02:00PM — 07:00PM

    The 7th Annual Chester County Blues Barbecue once again comes to Wyndsor Farm in beautiful northe...


  • Herp Search

    06/04/2016
    05:00PM — 07:00PM

    Don’t miss this opportunity to explore the interesting world of the mysterious Reptiles and Amphi...


  • June Barn Dance

    06/04/2016
    08:00PM — 10:00PM

    Experience the culture in agriculture at Coverdale Farm Preserve's Saturday barn dance! Bluegrass...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Steamin' Days at Auburn Heights

    06/05/2016
    12:30PM — 04:30PM

    Join us on the first Sundays, June through November for Steamin’ Days at Auburn Heights, when the...


  • Birthday Bash at Auburn Heights

    06/05/2016
    12:30PM — 04:30PM

    In today’s disposable culture, it is not very common for anything to celebrate its 100th birthday...


  • Taste Kennett Food Tours

    06/05/2016
    01:00PM — 04:00PM

    Taste Kennett Food Tours, creators of memorable, unique and fun food experiences, offer three-hou...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Debtors Anonymous

    06/06/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    In D.A., our purpose is threefold: to stop incurring unsecured debt, to share our experience wit...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Selling American Innovation

    06/07/2016
    07:00PM — 08:00PM

    Join Tom Marshall, founder of Friends of Auburn Heights Preserve, as he shares stories from his l...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Pajama Storytime

    06/08/2016
    06:30PM — 07:30PM

    Wednesdays at 6:30 PM - Join us for an evening of stories, songs, crafts, and fun to end your day...


  • Pro-Act's Family Education Program

    06/08/2016
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    When someone is addicted to drugs & alcohol, the diease affects the entire family. Each month PR...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Drop in on Nature

    06/09/2016
    09:30AM — 12:00PM

    oin TLC for our Drop-In on Nature Playgroup! This program is designed for children 0-Kindergarten...


  • Clutterers Anonymous

    06/09/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Clutterers Anonymous℠ (CLA℠) is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strengt...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Race to Beat POTS 5K

    06/12/2016
    10:00AM — 11:30AM

    Kennett Square will be home to a walk and run to raise awareness for Postural Orthostatic Tachyca...


  • Taste Kennett Food Tours

    06/12/2016
    01:00PM — 04:00PM

    Taste Kennett Food Tours, creators of memorable, unique and fun food experiences, offer three-hou...


  • Join St. Anthony’s Church as we celebrate the art, culture, traditions and excitement of the Rena...


  • oin St. Anthony’s Church as we celebrate the art, culture, traditions and excitement of the Renai...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Debtors Anonymous

    06/13/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    In D.A., our purpose is threefold: to stop incurring unsecured debt, to share our experience wit...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Pajama Storytime

    06/15/2016
    06:30PM — 07:30PM

    Wednesdays at 6:30 PM - Join us for an evening of stories, songs, crafts, and fun to end your day...


  • Pro-Act's Family Education Program

    06/15/2016
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    When someone is addicted to drugs & alcohol, the diease affects the entire family. Each month PR...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Drop in on Nature

    06/16/2016
    09:30AM — 12:00PM

    oin TLC for our Drop-In on Nature Playgroup! This program is designed for children 0-Kindergarten...


  • Clutterers Anonymous

    06/16/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Clutterers Anonymous℠ (CLA℠) is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strengt...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


Chester County High School Sports