Hectic Watermelon

Hectic Watermelon


Hectic Watermelon's new "Post-Zappa, Commando-fusion" album The Great American Road Trip, featuring Jerry Goodman on electric violin, has topped the UK college Alternative Jazz Charts published by Jazzwise Magazine for April 2007!


Hectic Watermelon is a progressive "Post-Zappa Commando-Fusion" action-music band from San Diego-Los Angeles comprised of John Czajkowski on guitars, Darren DeBree on drums, and Harley Magsino on bass. The recently released album, The Great American Road Trip, featuring Jerry Goodman (of Mahavishnu Orchestra and Dixie Dregs) is a sonic tour de force. Experiencing the debut album, The Great American Road Trip, the listener is treated to a fresh retrospective that draws from the American jazz-rock traditions of the past decades with a highly ambitious new compositional direction. Czajkowski relates, “My aim has been to write and record an album that has more dimension than a mainstream instrumental rock guitar album.” The resulting album is a palette of deep compositions that draw idioms ranging from classical, jazz and fusion to progressive rock, bluegrass, and metal.

Hectic Watermelon receives airplay around the US and in Western Europe on terrestrial and internet stations featuring fusion and progressive-fusion programs and has conducted extended radio interviews. Distributed in the US, UK and Japan, The Great American Road Trip has earned the number one spot on the UK Jazzwise Alternative College Jazz Charts. In the U.S., the album has been in the top 20 on the East Coast Gagliarchives progressive stations in Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania for 12 weeks. It has been reviewed in the All Music Guide as well as All About Jazz, and many other major press locations with advertising and/or reviews in major periodicals such as Guitar Player Magazine and All About Jazz. The band has begun to play the intense music in the Southern California area with a recent CD release concert for a full college concert hall audience with special guest, Jerry Goodman.

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, John Czajkowski cites the following guitarists and composers as his chief influences and inspirations: Frank Zappa, Steve Morse, Eric Johnson, Allan Holdsworth, Scott Henderson, Adrian Belew, Vernon Reid, Mike Patton, Pat Martino, John McLaughlin, Pat Metheny, Dusan Bogdonovic, Egberto Gismonte, Ornette Coleman, the Assad Brothers and the Romeros. He has been influenced by many major 20th century classical figures, but he is most inspired by the free-spirited and rebellious attitude of American maverick composers such as John Cage, Harry Partch, George Crumb and Scott Johnson. Lastly, there is a distant influence of 70's cartoon music. John holds a Masters of Music degree in contemporary composition from San Diego State University. Prior to his MM, John studied classical guitar extensively with Romero Disciple, Robert Wetzel.

In addition to his work writing, producing and performing with Hectic Watermelon and Jerry Goodman, John is proud to be working with German drummer, Marco Minnemann on a new project called Normalizer 2 that will involve five composers (Mike Keneally, Alex Machacek, Mario Brinkman, Marco and John) writing and recording music around an extended drum performance.

"Every so often, an album like Hectic Watermelon’s The Great American Road Trip comes along to give me hope that jazz-rock fusion hasn’t collapsed like a poorly-made soufflé under the weight of its own clichés."
- Dave Wayne at Jazz Review

"John McLaughlin’s influence is felt throughout the album, but Frank Zappa is also quite present—not in Czajkowski’s guitar playing, but in his witty writing and sense of humor. Both entertaining and technically impressive, The Great American Road Trip has enough jazz to titillate fusion fans, enough complexity to please the progressively inclined, but most of all (and despite the above statements about Zappa and McLaughlin) it has its own endearing personality. And that, more than anything else is what makes it such a strong debut album. Highly recommended."
- François Couture for the All Music Guide

"A tour de force, (The Great American Road Trip) showcases his dazzling fretwork, contrapuntal ingenuity and impeccable ensemble playing with bassist Harley Magsino and drummer Darren Debree (violinist Goodman is featured on nine of the album's 11 selections)...a virtuoso fusion band…a fleet-fingered guitarist and composer…intricate compositions (that) blend elements of fusion jazz, prog-rock, funk and contemporary classical."
- By George Varga San Diego Union-Tribune

"I absolutely love when an obscure band comes seemingly out from nowhere to kick my behind. Coming at you with a high tech, ultra dense progressive fusion attack, this Navy SEAL-led band has all the talent and imagination (for) the hardest core fusion heads anywhere. And they don't just appeal to that genre, this music has such a unique sound and the players are outrageously gifted, that progressive rock fans that have a flair for instrumental adventure will find more than enough to appeal to their senses."
- MJBrady (Prognosis: Feature Review 4 Nov 2006)

"With so much competition


F Street Fulano

Written By: John Czajkowski

(jazz-rock instrumental)


The Great American Road Trip (Predator Fish Records)

Set List

HWM furiously performs the material off of the new album! Additionally, the original set is augmented with covers from influential artists such as The Dixie Dregs (Cruise Control) , Eric Johnson (Trademark, Cliffs of Dover), Jeff Beck (Led Boots), etc. A small portion of the sets often include at least one entirely free-form improvisation.