Marcy Playground is an American alternative rock band from New York. It consists of three members, John Wozniak (vocals, guitar), Dylan Keefe (bass), and Shlomi Lavie (drums). The group is best known for their 1997 hits Sex and Candy and Saint Joe on the School Bus.
The group is inspired by a school located in Minneapolis, in which John Wozniak studied. He will choose this name because most of his songs are inspired by his childhood. Marcy Playground emerged in the late 1990s. Their influences include David Bowie, Paul Simon, Neil Young, Van Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett, Nirvana, Wham! and the Beatles. These influences are somewhat unclear on the Marcy Playground's debut album, with songs like Shadow of Seattle and Saint Joe's On the School Bus.
After studying at Evergreen State College for two years, Wozniak moved to East New York to work with multi-instrumentalist Jared Kotler. After listening to two songs played by John, Capitol Records is interested. Kurt Rosenwinkel, a mutual friend, presents bassist Dylan Keefe, and Marcy Playground starts playing in New York. The band signed with Capitol in 1995 and played a series of concerts as the first incarnation of Marcy Playground. Personal problems between John and Jared reached a climax after a year on stage and drummer Dan Rieser replaced Jared. Their eponymous album is published in 1997, and includes a first single, Poppies, released shortly after. Marcy Playground is known to the public through the single Sex and Candy. The song spends 15 weeks in the first place of the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks.
The following Marcy Playground album, Shapeshifter, is released on November 2, 1999. A little controversy, however, is surfacing; Paul Leary of Butthole Surfers reveals on the official Marcy Playground forum that the cover of the album (a work by Mark Ryden) was conceptualized by Leary for his album After the Astronaut that will never be released. He admits to being a fan of the Marcy Playground and his complaint stops when he learns that Capitol Records, former label of Butthole Surfers and now in contract with Marcy Playground, has taken over the cover of Wozniak since his workshops and that Marcy Playground had no knowledge of its origins. Subsequently, Wozniak explains being "honored" to see him on the cover of the album>. It's Saturday, the first single from the album, reached Modern Rock Charts, followed by a second single, Bye Bye.