By Erin Thompson
The Daily Item
POTTSVILLE -- Whatever happened to Marcy Playground?
The group -- perhaps best-known in the '90s for its smooth "Sex and Candy" -- began its career with a self-titled, multi-platinum-selling album that's been compared to Nirvana. They've gotten even smoother.
Check out "Star Baby" and "Devil Woman" from their most recent album, "Leaving Wonderland ... in a Fit of Rage."
Better yet, catch them live. They've be performing at Goodfella's Cafe, 876 S. Centre St., Pottsville. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door.
Until the release of "Leaving Wonderland," band members took a break from promoting their music in large stadiums and are now gearing up to release their fifth album, "Indaba Remixes from Wonderland," according to bassist Dylan Keefe, who was reached by cell phone while he taking a long hike.
For "Indaba Remixes," they collaborated with musicians from all over the world to remix "Wonderland" and came up with "a contortion of musicians and producers from all over the world," explained Keefe, who now is also an award-winning producer on National Public Radio.
"All the tracks are completely different" from the original "Wonderland" and the process of recording this album, he said, was an interesting one.
"We released all of our tracks from 'Wonderland' to anyone in the world that wanted to remix and rearrange them through an online musicians network called 'Indaba.' We listened to everything that was submitted and put together a record of some of the stuff that really stands out. It's super cool."
Since the 1997 release of the ever-popular "Sex and Candy," the band has also been through two drummers, only recently appointing Shlomi Lavie, who is also a member of the Magical Mystery Tour band, a Beatles tribute and look-a-like band.
"He's amazing," Keefe said about Lavie. "This entity hits it off very well."
Occasionally, he said, the band will take on a fourth member, but it never lasts long. "We prefer to be a trio. We like the freedom that is associated with it."
The band has taken on a softer sound with the "Leaving Wonderland...in a Fit of Rage" shows. This is at least partially due to the lead singer, John Wozniak, said Keefe.
All of the songs on all of the albums were written by Wozniak and they "reflect what's going on in his life. They all tell a story," Keefe said of his band mate. "I think he comes from a school of song writing that doesn't really exist that much anymore."
That's because Wozniak has made a craft of placing emphasis on writing lyrics, he said. " 'Sex and Candy' was well-crafted, which is why it got so big."
During the time "Wonderland" was being made, Wozniak was going through a difficult time in his life and wrote many of the songs as a form of self-therapy, Keefe said. "I don't think he ever really intended for it to be an album, but a couple friends of his encouraged him to (record) it. A lot of the songs on this record are deeply personal and show us a man trying to rescue himself from a bad situation."
Keefe said he and his band mates are looking forward to their show in Pottsville, and they plan to continue writing and producing music.
"I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't enjoy every second," he said. "I think that will be reflected when we play in Pottsville."
For more information on the band, visit www.marcyplayground.com.
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