Tain't No Disco

NYU students Art Malcolm (guitar) and Adam Tobias (drums) formed a band (The Mathematics) in 1974.   Tobias’ girlfriend Gail Fisher would occasionally sit in on zither (despite having rudimentary skills).  Moving to Providence, Rhode Island (where Malcolm intermittently pursued graduate studies in field theory at Brown), Fisher migrated to bass and the band picked up keyboard player Gordon Parker, formerly of the Antiquated Adversaries.  Soon, the band was a staple at local university tavern Heebie Jeebies, whose mercurial owner unknowingly shepherded the first generation of art rockers.

The band—now calling itself Tain’t No Disco (a genre the members despised, although they weren’t afraid of a little boogie)—returned to NYC in 1977.   A record deal resulted in a string of successful albums, a 1979 appearance on late night sketch show “Thursday Night—Why Not?” and a well-received 1984 concert film, Stop Making Soup.  Seeing grunge on the horizon (and desperate to try his hand at crafting music almost no one would listen to), Malcolm broke up the band in 1991.  The other members briefly toured as Burning Down the Disco, but they ultimately gravitated to civilian life.  Malcolm continued making music (of a sort).

Tain’t No Disco briefly was admitted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003; when organizers discovered a scantron ballot glitch had tripled the votes for the band, the selection was rescinded.  John Denver was named instead to the Class of 2003.