Marcy Playground Biography
FORMED: New York, NY
My name is John Wozniak and I sing and write the songs for Marcy Playground. I was thirteen years old when I discovered the shapeshifter lurking in my shadow. I grew up in a house where African shaman, Indian medicine men, and Tibetan monks could frequently be found rifling through the cupboards for peanut butter on any given morning. We always had some type of holy man sleeping on the couch. My mom seemed to have a knack for befriending these people. For years I thought every kid grew up that way; it was all very normal to me.
So, it was with a hearty "Aw, do I have to?" that I labored into the car for a ride over to her friend Sandy's house to meet Rolling Thunder, a very famous and powerful medicine man. He was the Cherokee medicine man. He was in town for a conference of tribal elders and had been staying there for about a week.
The year was 1984. I remember the hubbub surrounding his being in town. It was a big deal because his wife had taken ill, and he didn't do much traveling. He sat in a rocking chair smoking his pipe, looking into space. I sat on the floor looking at him. He was an old man then, although his face had retained the energy of a much younger man. Still, he wasn¹t what I would have expected a Cherokee medicine man to look like. He wore a beret with a silver and turquoise pin on the front. It was obviously very special to him.
My mom and Sandy were in the kitchen making tea, so it was just the two of us. I didn't know what to say. So, I said nothing. I just sat there quietly. After a while, he looked at me and said, "So, tell me about this spirit following you around."His tone was warm and resonant. I waited momentarily off guard, hoping he'd end up telling a story. He didn't.
And finally, when I shook my head, he looked positively annoyed. "You don't know, or you won't say?" He poked his pipe in my direction, and then waived it in the air. "I see energy like dust in the air. Sometimes it's not around, but when it's there, I see it." He started to smile. "It's a lady spirit. Over by the window." He pointed out a little finch perched on the windowsill outside. "It's been there since you came in. You must be very powerful to have a spirit like that." "A little bird?" I asked. He shook his head. "A shapeshifter. It's a spirit that comes to teach us things through our life. Sometimes it plays a trick on us when we're not careful. So you give your spirit respect and say 'ho' when you see it. If it was just a bird I wouldn't have pointed it out." He smiled.
My mom came in the room with some tea or juice or something and the conversation changed. When we left that night, my mom smiled at me "So, what did R.T. say to you?" I sighed, "Oh, nothing." My eyes were too busy trying to follow a large bat that was circling just outside my window. I watched it for a while until it disappeared into the darkness "Ho." I whispered after it. "Ho."
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