Mark Diomede’s music has spanned the course of 32 years and counting, evolving from Solar Circus in 1984, the inception of Juggling Suns in 1997, and the recent formations of his Suns of Scarab, The Juggling Suns Project and now the NEW Penque-Diomede Band.
Ever unfolding, The Juggling Suns Project represents all incarnations of the music, with guests that include new players, and friends who have played the music over the years.
Originals take a new turn, New tunes are always being played, and the abduction continues…
Born and raised in Jersey City, and moving to Perth Amboy at age 3, New Jersey native Mark Diomede has been been a musician and singer since a small child. His mother says he would sing himself to sleep as a baby.
Fast forward to 1968, where at the ripe age of 10, he was given the Sgt. Pepper’s album by his father and guitar lessons.
His first band was also formed at this time, called Hexagonical Brainstorm. Nehru Jackets, love beads and Monkees, Beatles, and Dylan covers were the staple of this fine musical outfit.
It wasn’t until one Grateful Dead show at Roosevelt Stadium in 1973 where Mark was struck with total inspiration. In that moment, Mark knew that music was going to be his life’s work.
1976 – 1980
In 1976 he formed Alligator with Mike Soga and longtime friend George Maldonado. Playing the music of the Grateful Dead, original free form jams and more.
1980 – 1982: SCARAB
With Rob Piersanti on drums, Jim Monk on guitar, Ken Golojuch on keys, Mike Soga on bass, with Chet Golojuch occasionally sitting on bass duties as well. Music ranged from the Doors, the entire album of Live Dead, The Velvet Underground, and more. Originals were forming…..This is where “Into Tomorrow” was first played.
1982-1984: THE LAST WAVE
With Ken Golojuch on keys and guitar, Mike Soga on bass, George Maldonado on guitar, Kevin Smith and others served the drums. No Grateful Dead covers here, just extended jams on the Police, Talking Heads, Squeeze tunes and others.
1984 — Solar Circus was formed with Ken Golojuch on bass, keys and guitar, Ken Zimmer on bass, Joey Cafaro on drums. Solar Circus releases a 45 rpm record with “Sight Through the Night” and “Perserverance”. Rare copies of this exist! It had a brief run in 2 local record stores, when record stores actually existed.
1989 — Relix Records signs Solar Circus to their catalog. Featuring Steve Greene on guitar, Bruce Wigdor on keys, Ken Golojuch on bass, Susan Cohen on vocals & Brad Hall on drums. They release their full length album Juggling Suns on Relix Records, and begin touring both regionally and nationally.
1992 — a new incarnation of Solar Circus is formed with Tom Donovan on guitar, Kevin Kopack on bass, Charles Mitchell on drums, and Jason Crosby on keys. Albums Twilight Dance and Step Right Up are released.
1993 — A Historical Retrospective is released.
1995 — Daybreak is released, and Solar Circus finds themselves in the midst of the time of Jerry Garcia’s passing. Serving a major inspiration, they play at the Lion’s Den in New York City on the dayof Jerry’s passing. Their show announced on 102.7 WNEW , streets were literally shut down by the NYPD due to the volume of mourners and deadheads alike gathering for the music. The next day, Solar Circus plays their usual Thursday gig at the Metro in Long Branch , NJ. Bruce Springsteen just happened to be at the club the same night and as the cosmic rays align, The Boss sits in for a full set of music much to the delight of a very packed small-club audience.
1997 – Solar Circus dissolves, and Mark decides to make Juggling Suns his main musical focus. Juggling Suns was originally formed as a Dead cover band side project to Solar Circus. Brad Hall serves as drummer, with Kevin Kopack on bass and Gus Vigo on Keys. They release Doorway to the Angels on Relix Records.
At this time, Mark’s music has snagged the attention of Megaforce Records’ (Metallica, Anthrax) Jon and Marsha Zazula. Jonny Z, as he is known, went to a Phish show with his daughter and wanted to market this musical style in addition to his heavy metal fare. He formed Hydrophonics Records to sign Juggling Suns officially to the label, and also later added the Disco Biscuits and Ominous Seapods to the roster as well. With Megaforce/Hydrophonics, Juggling Suns added Casey LaPerle on drums, Tank Eveleigh on rhythm guitar, Kevin Kopack on bass and Gus Vigo on keys. National touring was in full force, sharing bills with acts like Zero, Mickey Hart, and yes- even Godsmack. Living on the Edge of Change is released on Megaforce/Hydrophonics featuring Jon Zazula on percussion. Juggling Suns steps out of the Dead cover band suit to showcase original music instead.
1998 – Juggling Suns plays 2 sold out shows in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan. Corey Kertzie of Buffalo, NY based band Sonic Garden replaces Casey on drums. Later that year, Juggling Suns was hand picked by director Gary Marshall to be the Dead style band in the Paramount Film “Runaway Bride”. Julia Roberts’ character almost marries her Deadhead groom with Juggling Suns behind them, but jumps over the fence and escapes on a motorcycle last minute. The film features a small snippet of the original tune “Jungle In My Heart”, as well as Juggling Suns performing the Grateful Dead’s “Sugar Magnolia” as Julia Roberts’ character Maggie bounces up to the altar…
1999 – Juggling Suns takes a small break after their departure from Megaforce Records. Reforming after a summer off, Bruce Wigdor is new in the bass slot, as well as a cast of drummers that filled in on duties. Their first self released live recording, Get Abducted is released.
2000 – Mark meets Tim Morris, a local taper from Delaware who also serves as a part time soundguy and taper for Juggling Suns. They start to perform acoustically together in March of 2000, at Paul’s Tavern in Belmar, NJ.
2002 – In the summer of 2002, The NBA personally contacts Mark to have Juggling Suns play a press party for Bill Walton at the NBA headquarters in Secaucus. Their first studio album with Ivan Funk on drums, “Steppin’ Off A Star”, is self-released. Juggling Suns wins the Asbury Music Award for Top Jamband.
2003 – Live at the Stone Pony is released. Tim Morris joins the band full time as rhythm guitar player. Juggling Suns wins 2nd year in a row Top Jamband at the Asbury Music Awards. Mark is also honored as the first recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the same ceremony.
2004 – Andrew Lenaghan joins the band as drummer and Ken Golojuch returns on bass. Juggling Suns heads west to Las Vegas to headline the “Might As Well” Party at the Wild West Casino for 2 nights on Labor Day Weekend. At this point in time, so many great friends have sat in with the Suns, including Keller Williams, Jimmy Herring, Jon Gutwillig, Rodney Holmes, Scott Murawski, Ryan Montbleau, Martin Fierro and Buddy Cage.
2006 – Juggling Suns is signed to local Asbury Park based record label Aeria Records. The live release Tranzmutation is released and distributed worldwide. Juggling Suns is added to the rotation on Sirius XM’s JamOn station.
2007 – Paul Gaita joins the band on bass and Jen Augustine also joins the stage to lend her vocal stylings. Recording for Juggling Suns’ final live release Zero Zero Eight takes place at the Stone Pony on New Years Eve with local Asbury rap artists TRIP! and Metamorphosis sitting in.
2009 – Zero Zero Eight is released. Neil Garthly joins the band on drums and Brian Patterson is on bass.
2010 – Gus Vigo announces his departure from Juggling Suns to start a life with his family in NC, Jordan Simms and Brian Gallo take over the keys and bass spots, respectively. Ryan Carver joins as drummer. Mark sits in with the Everyone Orchestra, sharing the stage with Todd Stoops of RAQ and Matt Butler, among others.
Mark Diomede & The Juggling Suns Project
2011 – Mark performs with the Willie Waldman Project, joining Corey Kertzie onstage alongside Willie Waldman, Rob Wasserman, Eric Critten and Jeff Meiers at DBGB’s in Buffalo, NY. Juggling Suns is reformed into Mark Diomede & The Juggling Suns Project in the summer, with old and new friends joining the musical fray…and the history is ever unfolding.
2015 – Mark releases the album Regulus featuring – Mark Diomede — Guitars, Banjo, Mandolin & Vocals • Keller Williams — Synthesizers, Acoustic Guitar & Vocals • Jason Crosby — Keyboards & Organ • Tom Constanten — Keyboards • Tim Carbone — Violin • Buddy Cage — Pedal Steel • Scott Murawski — Guitar • Tim Morris — Guitar • Mike Rosenow — Bass Guitar • Kevin Kopack — Bass Guitar • Neil Garthly — Drums • Paul Gaita — Bass Guitar & Upright Bass • Mike Katzman — Keyboards • Barry Cooper — Percussion • Jon Catfish DeLorme — Pedal Steel • Jen Augustine — Vocals • Brianne Diomede — Ships Bell • Dan Tepper — Midi Controller & Programming
Purchase the album Regulus