It’s safe to say that disco isn’t the most respected musical genre. The world of all-white suits, gold chains, chest hair, neon lights and sparkling, rotating orbs was and still is hack to many a-musician.
So it was for Mark Diomede when he first started out.
“In the ’70s — when disco was happening and I was in my early 20s — it was taboo,” Diomede recalls. “We all thought it sucked. It was the Grateful Dead and Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd for me.”
Now, however, Diomede’s name is proudly tacked to the suffix “Disco Inferno Band.”
“As you get older and look back on it from a musician’s standpoint, you realize it has Latin and jazz influences. I really appreciated it a lot more after the fact,” he says.
Mark Diomede and the Disco Inferno Band — which will play a free concert in Tropicana Atlantic City’s Grand Exhibition Center 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21 — was born when a friend from way back contacted Diomede about a project he was doing that incorporated elements of funk, R&B and disco. A few years later and the band is still making people smile with their catchy disco tunes, an unexpected trajectory for Diomede who started off as a self-proclaimed disco-hater.
“When I was a young teenager, that’s when I really knew I wanted to play music for the rest of my life,” Diomede says of his musical origins. “It’s all I cared about, it’s all I did. I played guitar for two years after I turned 17 instead of getting my license. I just locked myself in my room and played.”
We’re officially in the midst of the worst time of the year. The weather is dreary and cold.…
Diomede’s performance at Trop is part of the casino’s Beach Bash event — an indoor celebration of summer lasting through the end of February. Although disco isn’t directly connected to the summertime, like perhaps a steel drum and a margarita are, it’s hard to ignore the sunny feeling people get when that music starts to play.
A counterculture of a counterculture, disco music emerged in the mid-70s as a reaction against the popularity of rock music. Those attempting to stigmatize bright, bouncy dance music found an enemy in disco. Although disco has never exactly been the coolest of genres, its significance and groove are hard to deny, making it still rather relevant to a modern audience.
“The elements of ’60s and ’70s music reinvent themselves as time goes on, so if it was relevant back then, it’s relevant today,” Diomede says. “If you listen to a lot of dance music today it has elements of disco. It has infectious dance grooves and creates community on the dance floor and in the band.”
5 disco songs too
hot to handle
A common theme in disco music is heat — both physical and metaphorical. We’re not sure what it is about disco music that makes people want to sing about the temperature, but here are five of our favorite sultry disco lyrics.
“Lookin’ for some hot stuff, baby this evenin.’
I need some hot stuff, baby tonight.”
— “Hot Stuff,” Donna Summer, 1979
“In the heat of our love
Don’t need no help for us to make it.
Gimme just enough to take us to the morning.’
I got fire in my mind.”
— “Night Fever,” Bee Gees, 1977
“The heat was on, rising to the top.
Everybody is going strong
And that is when my spark got hot
I heard somebody say,
(Burn baby burn) disco inferno.”
— “Disco Inferno,” The Trammps, 1976
“Touch me and I feel on fire.
Ain’t nothin’ like a love desire (ooh).
I’m melting (I’m melting) like hot candle wax.
Sensation (ah sensation) lovely where we’re at (ooh).”
— “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough,” Michael Jackson, 1979
“We’re just dancin’ to the beat, feel the heat.
I’m movin’ my feet
Headed towards the floor, gonna get down,
A get down some more.”
— “Dance, Dance, Dance,” Chic, 1977