does Marcy Playground begin? Some say the actual playground in Minneapolis,
others may think it was the first time that Dan, Dylan and John got together
musically. I disagree. To me, Marcy Playground began the first time that
I pushed that little disk into the machine on my desk. What happened to
get that disk in my hand is the History of MP. But this page is different,
this site and page includes my personal ideas and the information that
I have gathered together, to form my own version of a Marcy biography.
To make this all fit, I'm breaking this up into three different sections,
one for each band member. I'm sorry if some are shorter than others, but
that is the result of media bias toward lead singer/songwriters and my
lack of prying into the lives of Dan and Dylan I guess.
Dan Rieser was born in Columbus, Ohio. From the information that I have, Dan grew up with what we would consider a normal childhood. I have not talked to him about this topic, so this is purely inference based on several premises. Dan later went to college in Massachusetts at Berkelee College of Music. I think he was studying jazz and possibly theory along with other forms of music. He played trombone and later picked up the drums after finding that the other instruments did not really suit him. During this time at school, Dan probably had a couple jobs, one being pizza delivery. I can't imagine delivering pizza in the city of Boston, but he did it! He also met Dylan in Massachusetts, who was also at college at that time. From the jobs he saved enough money to move to NYC where he began to fill in on the jazz scene. I estimate the year of NYC gigging with Dylan to begin around 1990. Through his friendship with Dylan, he was brought to the group as a permanent fixture.
In my mind and kooky way of seeing things, Dan is the quiet on who just takes it all in, much like myself. I spent an afternoon with him in the bitter cold of Rochester, NY and to tell the truth, I can't remember many details of our conversation. It was just nice to engage in small talk with him. He's "down" with just chilling out. Enjoys basketball along with Playstation which also attracts the attention of Dylan.
Dylan Keefe was ironically born and brought up in Minneapolis, the same place as John. The time was a little different, but Dylan went to the sister school of the Marcy Open School, The Lake Harriet Open Program. I know nothing of Dylan's childhood exactly. In junior high, Dylan played tuba. He attended college at the same time as Dan and moved with him to NYC. He also drove a VW bus for a time and tells a hell of a story about the door falling off at a rest stop. Through a friend, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Dylan was introduced to John and his project he was working on.
I see Dylan as the cool and happy one of the group, always with a smile on his face and ready to shake your hand and do that crazy snap thing that catches the you off guard. He seems so intense when on stage and does that patented head shake that seems to be a signal that he has "found the zone". Often you will see him wearing different glasses to mix things up. The frames were his fathersí who died before the release of the album. The Marcy Playground album is dedicated to him in the liner notes. The changing of the glasses is something that Dylan admired in his father and he carries on in his memory.
John Wozniak was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on January 19, 1971 as previously noted. Please read the " official bio" before continuing, it will give you some concrete info. John attended he Marcy Open School until the fourth grade. He read a great deal of child fiction such as the "Chronicles of Narnia" by C.S. Lewis that would later influence him and be reflected in his music. Because John's father is a University Professor with a Ph.D. in Psychology, he moved with him to Pennsylvania when he decided to make a move. John was nine years old. He had a turbulent high school career, but he continued to read fantasy and other literature. At the age of 15, John wrote "Rebel Sodville" which has been played in the set on this Spring tour.
John was introduced to the guitar by his father who also played. He brought him an Aria Pro II. John was a student ot Chet Makowski who gave John a strong grounding in the guitar. This was at the Harcum College Music School (cf., the Harcum Sunmmer Music Program) in Bryn Mawr, PA. Later John bought the "Carlos" for $20 at a garage sale. The "Carlos" guitar is now his staple axe. There is a picture of the Marcy guitar rig on the pics page.
After he graduated high school John began to work on Zog Bog Bean. Skip to the History Page to get the full story on that album. Sherry was a girlfriend of Johns from about ninth grade till the second year at College in Olympia, Washington. During this period she and John worked together on music.
After college days came to an end, John ended up back on the East coast. Making NYC a home base, he began in the studio to work on the album we now know as "Marcy Playground". John also was married and now has a son named Keegan.
John is clearly the man who brought the album "Marcy Playground" to us. He worked on it before Dan and Dylan were introduced to him and most of the songs they perform in concert were written by John a long time ago. John has said that it takes him up to a year to complete a song.
Unlike Dan and Dylan, John does not like basketball. He says he prefers to "just think". He's quite a philosophical individual. His childhood and the generation he grew up in...just before those of us in our early twenties and certainly present day teenagers was a much different experience. I think that those of us in our early 20's have some inclination, but those under that have no insight to what it was like. Things were simpler, but I think that the youth of that era had a difficult time finding a sense of identity. Thus the term "Generation X". Youth of today are able to be their own person at an early age because of social and cultural stigmas that have set in.
One more note that I would like to make. Many have wondered about the Seattle connection and the whole alternative thing that the media has been attempting to tie into John's music. I think that John lived in that area and lived the revolution that occurred there, but instead of becoming part of it then, he documented it in song. This album to me is a history of his life and a collection of stories about his life, even life in the over-cast state of Washington in the late 80's and early 90's.