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Marcy Playground

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My name is John Wozniak and I sing and write the songs for Marcy Playground. During the late 70's I lived with my family in Minneapolis and went to the Marcy Open School. It was one in a group of experimental hippie schools that had opened in Minneapolis at the start of the decade. I was seven, and more or less a shy kid. I would sit in the back of the classroom, listen to records with the guinea pigs; I never hurt anyone. During that time, there were some kids who wanted to beat me up; real mean kids from my neighborhood. When it came time in the day for recess I was too afraid to go out onto the playground because I knew these kids were waiting for me. So I stayed upstairs in the classroom, looked out of the window, and listened to "Free To Be You and Me." From the window I could see the whole playground and everyone on it.

Everything happening at once. I made up stories about what I saw, and who I saw. Although the experience was ultimately depressing, I found within it a foundation for a future self. The strange way in which I see the world today can be directly traced back to the time when, as a little boy, I sat paralyzed by the unfortunate realities of life as I looked out of a school window and down onto the Marcy playground.

In a strange bit of coincidence, Dylan Keefe was also growing up in the Minneapolis 'open' school system at that very time. We never met though, since he attended Marcy's sister school on the other side of town -The Lake Harriet Open Program. It wasn't until 16 years later that we would meet on New York City's Lower East Side, introduced by a mutual friend (jazz guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel). We became fast friends. Soon we were talking about starting a new band.

After a brief stint playing with several drummers, we realized that Dylan's long-time friend, Dan Rieser, would be better suited for our band than anybody else. Dan and Dylan, who began playing together seven years ago at a college in Boston, had both moved to New York to pursue lives in music.

Together, they formed the core rhythm section for many successful NYC singer/songwriters. By the time we got together, both were weary of the 'side-man' gig, and wanted to strike out with a band of their own. So begins the story of Marcy Playground.

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