Paul Czekaj...

...The Man, The Legend

Paul grew up in West Orange, New Jersey and always loved music since he was a kid. He played trumpet in middle school orchestra. He would listen to 45 RPM's for hours on end from a Stack-o-matic record player with his brother Edward. Elvis Pressly, Four Seasons, Gary U.S. Bonds, The Beach Boys, Everly Brothers, Little Richard, and Connie Francis were some of his favorite artists and biggest influences. It wasn't until he saw The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show, did he want to take up the guitar just as millions of others did. He would bring his guitar to parties and play popular songs of the day. He enjoyed playing with and learning from others when the opportunity presented itself.

He formed a group with some neighborhood friends in the mid 60's called The Live Wires. Paul played rhythm guitar and organ, along with John Fiorentino on lead guitar, Matt Mustachio on bass guitar, and Anthony Monica on drums. Jack Cannon joined the band later, playing organ. They played many local venues, school dances, and battle of the bands. The band got to play at Clay Cole's Land of a Thousand Dances in Newark, NJ backing up a popular group of the day called The Jive Five, singing their hit, "I'm a Happy Man." The group split up and Paul Joined another group called Hot Fog, with high school class mates Bob Boyle on bass guitar, Mike Decker on lead guitar, and Peter Tepp on Drums (The brother of Richard Tepp, singer for New Jersey band Richard and the Young Lions and drummer from a popular west coat band called Time). The band packed up in 1969 and went to Los Angeles, California, to seek their big break. Living in an apartment in Hollywood, The band recorded some demos and was offered a deal to sign with Liberty Records. The band never signed wih the record company, and money problems forced them to return to New Jersey. Soon after, Hot Fog split up. After Hot Fog, Paul played with a few other bands, but none lasted very long. One song from Hot Fog can be heard on the 2009 album "The Saved Recordings" by Paul Czekaj.

In the mid 70's, Paul moved into a house in Morristown, NJ where he built a small recording studio. He recorded many original songs there. He spent many hours working on songs with drummer John (Otto) Degennaro and other musicians. Some of those recordings can also be found on "The Saved Recordings" by Paul Czekaj.

In the early 80's, he met Bobby Bandiera from Orange, New Jersey, who played and sang on some original studio tracks(also featured on "The Saved Recordings"). Paul and Bobby played in a duo together for a couple years. Nick Massi, original bass player for The Four Seasons, would sit in with them regularly. They enjoyed playing everything from pop to oldies and even country songs. Bobby went on to be the lead guitar player for South Side Johnny and the Asbury Jukes for 20 years. In 2005, Bon Jovi asked Bandiera to go on tour with the band and has played with them ever since.

Paul also met lead guitar player, Joe Formato from Newark, NJ in the early 80s. He appears on "The Saved Recordings" as well as a 2011 album "Young and Free" by Paul Czekaj. Joe toured with Meat Loaf in the 70s and also recorded some tracks with Todd Rundgren.

Paul married Jackie Fitzgerald in 1985. He bought a house in Flanders, NJ where he lives with his wife and two daughters, Nicole and Julianne, and started the business Essex Morris Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Company. Since then, Paul mainly plays as a solo artist, but he did play with a band called No Reply at the New York New Jersey Beatlefest Battle of the Bands Competition for 10 years. The other band members were Joe Formato on lead guitar, John (Otto) Degennaro on drums, and Dan Cassidy on bass guitar.

In 2008, Paul decided to bring all the tracks he had recorded over the years to have them remixed and mastered. This collection of songs was called "The Saved Recordings," and released in 2009. Paul then decided he was going to record some new original work and some older songs that were never recorded. He was able to have many musicians who played on earlier projects play on the new album. The result was a new album called "Young and Free" by Paul Czekaj and was released in 2011.

In late 2011, Paul produced a music video with filmmaker Pete Jacelone for his song "My Home New Jersey." The video depicts scenes of places and activities that one can partake in New Jersey. It was uploaded to Youtube and as of April 2012, the video has reached over 475,000 views as of July 2012. Paul has recently released a sequel to the video entitled, "My Home New Jersey Part 2" due to the feedback of people wanting to see more things and places in New Jersey. It has recieved over 150,000 hits. In February 2013, Paul released a children's music video called "Reading's Lots of Fun," featuring many stories from the late great, Dr. Seuss. On April 16th, 2013, Paul released a music video called "Even Better Than Before," in memorial of all the damage that hurricane Sandy had reaped upon New Jersey.

Some of Paul's favorite music experiences were meeting and talking to Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock, Buying a beer for Bruce Springsteen at the Stone Pony. Meeting Bon Jovi, Talking to Willie Dixon and John Dawson (New Riders of the Purple Sage) at the Stanhope House, talking about guitars with Robin Trower (Procal Harem), playing with Nick Massi(original bass player of The Four Seasons), and singing with Pete Lucia(Tommy James and the Shondells) and meeting and talking to Gene Cornish, Lead guitar player for the Young Rascals.

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