[Exclusive] Interview with John Wozniak from Marcy Playground (part 2)

This is part two of our interview. Find part one here.

Being a touring band, and even going international at one point in your career, you’ve obviously ran across tons of different bands and met many musicians that people might not normally know about. Of those bands, could you share with us some of your favorites that you think we should expose ourselves to?

Yeah! There’s a band from outside Reno, Nevada, and they’re called Nevada, that I think is amazing. Zak Domogalla, who is the lead singer/songwriter for that band, I think is an unbelievable songwriter. You can check their music out on MySpace, their MySpace is just myspace.com/nevadaband. I think they’re terrific. There’s a band from out near [Indiana] actually that… I’m trying to remember what the Hell they were called. Really, really good band. … Dammit. Umm… Well if I remember I’ll shoot you an email. Great band. Dang. Umm… Nope! It’s not coming to me, but they’re a very good band that we’ve run across lately that was really good.

Dylan and I are into anything new. We’re always amazed by some of the incredible local talent that ends up opening up for us. There’s so much talent out there these days that it’s unbelievable.

Speaking of bands opening for you guys, does it bother you at all when your opening acts constantly refer to you guys as Marcy’s Playground?

It’s a pet peeve, because it’s [just] Marcy Playground. But it doesn’t really bother me as much any more because it’s been happening for 15 years, you know? At least they call us something. For years it was a pet peeve because it’s actually Marcy Playground, not Marcy’s Playground, but in reality it’s like “You can call me what you want, just call me.”

Are there currently any albums or is there one album in particular that is your favorite at the current point in time?

I’ve been really into Brandi Carlile’s first record, the first one she put out. I can’t remember exactly what it’s called. It’s one of the song titles on the album. I’ve been listening to it, but with everything being digital these days I never get to actually see the album covers anymore, so I don’t actually remember the name of the album, but it’s great. The Nevada record is really good, I’m really into that. I think those guys are an undiscovered treasure. Ryan Adams has always, for some reason — it’s just like whenever I hear his voice, it just reminds me of home. I get this strong sense of, I know this guy. Even though I don’t. He just has a really familiar sound to his voice every time I hear his music. There’s a song of his called “Two” (begins to sing part of that song). And every time I hear that song I just feel like I’m a kid again back in Minnesota. It’s very comforting music.

You’ve been playing music for a really long time, and you’ve said that you have grown and matured as a musician. How has your strategy for writing a song grown or evolved since the early days of Zog Bogbean to some of your more modern Marcy stuff?

Dramatically. The process is still the same, it’s just that, while the writing process is the same, my though process is different. I think the biggest difference is that a couple years ago I was diagnosed with Adult ADD. I was a super hyperactive kid and had ADHD as a kid, but went totally undiagnosed by whole life. I did poor and school and all those things that kids with ADD and learning disabilities have, all the same kind of problems. In my teen [years] I started doing drugs and just getting into trouble. A lot of the stuff that I was writing at the time was coming out of a place of, I don’t really know who I am. I was still young and discovering who the Hell I was as a person. And now, as an adult and getting treated for the ADHD, I have a clearer sense of who I am. So when I sit down to write the song it’s not nearly as scattered and fantastical, it’s a little clearer. Even though I still love to tell a good story, I think I can just do it in fewer words and less — it’s hard to explain. You know how country songs are really simple but they hate your heart? I’ve really come to appreciate that kind of songwriting in my older age. That’s definitely a place where I’ve grown and changed. I feel like there’s more in that area of songwriting for me to explore.

Before we wrap this up, I’d like to talk just a little bit about the future of Marcy Playground. Are we ever going to see that rarities and b-sides collection?

[Laughs] Yeah! Actually I was just talking to Andy Martin, our manager, today about that. As soon as I get home a week from now, I’m going to be home for a few days, I’m going to compile that for the first edition. We’re going to have to do a volume one and a volume two because there’s so much we can use. So for volume one, I think I should be able to put that together in a couple days. And then EMI in Canada and Capitol Records in the States, we’re going to have to word with them because they own some of the masters. It’s possible that it could come out on Capitol in the US, but if it doesn’t it’ll come out on Woz Records and we’ll just license it from Capitol. But it’s definitely coming out on EMI in Canada. They’ve been really pressuring me to get that started, so there’s not really an excuses for me anymore. It has to get done. That’s definitely coming out in the next couple of months.

For your next record, do you plan any collaboration with Jimi Haha or Chris Temple or any of the people you’ve worked with in the past?

I would love to work with Jimi again. I think Jimi is one of my favorite people in the world. He just makes me laugh whenever I’m around him and creatively I think we’re on a really similar vibe when we get together, even though our music is so very different. Marcy Playground is really different from Jimmie’s Chicken Shack. But when Jimi and I get together we have this whimsical thing that comes out, and we wrote a bunch of songs together. “Paper Dolls” was one of the ones we did for “MP3.” It came out on “MP3” and it also came out on a Chicken Shack record, they did one too. It’s just always fun [working with him]. And I think that’s a good example of the fun that we have, that’s just a fun song. When we’re together it’s great.

I think with Chris, it’s kinda hard to track Chris Temple down these days. I’m not really sure, but I think he may be in Canada. He’s a bit hard to get a hold of so that’s probably not going to happen. But you know, I’m always looking for people to work with. We did a lot of production during the hiatus that [Marcy Playground] had. During that production work, producing records and engineering records for other bands, I also did some collaborations in songwriting. I worked with Trevor Hurst from Econoline Crush, and he had a record that I helped produce and we did a song on there together. And it’s just fun. It’s fun to work with people, and you always learn something new. I like that, because I’m one of those people who love systems. Anything — languages, music, and even computer languages and stuff like that, it’s stuff that fascinates me. And everyone has their own approach to language and systems. So when you get to see someone else’s process and how they approach it, you can usually take things away from that experience and apply it to when you’re not with them, apply it to your process.

Hey, we’ve got a little bit of a party going on out here in the parking lot! Like a tailgating party or something.

Haha, fun stuff. So, tell me what’s next for Marcy Playground. What do fans have to look forward to? What do you have to keep us anticipating your next work of art?

Obviously there’s going to be a new record in the works coming up this year. We’ll probably be back in the studio this summer. But in the mean time, the rarities CD is coming out. We filmed and recorded a show we did at Lee’s Palace in Toronto, we’re going to be putting together a DVD of that. That should be releasing in the summer when we’re in the studio. We have the Indaba project that’s coming out, and some of that stuff is incredible. You can even listen to a lot of it if you go to indabamusic.com, there’s all the past projects that were done [there] and you can listen to some of the remixes of the people who won. So that’s going to be coming out this year too. So aside from going into the studio and touring we’ve got three separate projects and records that are coming out this year. And we’re also going to be reissuing and re-releasing “MP3” which has been out of print for a little while. And we’re also going to be re-releasing Zog Bogbean. So technically it’s actually five albums that we’re going to be reissuing or releasing this year, so there’s a lot going on.

Alright, before you go I’ve got one last question. This one’s kind of personal, but my girlfriend wanted me to ask if you would be willing to marry her at any point in the future.

[Laughs] Of course! As long as it’s OK with you, her boyfriend.

You know what, I would be honored.

[Laughs] My wife might not be too pleased, but eh, whatever. May as well try polygamy. Might as well try it once in your life, right?

Women, you know? She’ll get over it.

Yeah, she’ll get over it.

Well that’s very sweet of her, and yes. I do. [laughs]

3 thoughts on “[Exclusive] Interview with John Wozniak from Marcy Playground (part 2)

  1. Hey man, this is totally awesome! Great interview, too. I don’t even know who Marcy Playground is aside from Sex and Candy and I enjoyed reading it.

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