Mark Eitzel leader of the American Music Club (one of the
best rock bands to come out of San Francisco during the '80s) disbanded the
group last year, when he just didn't "feel it anymore." Since then he's
recorded his second solo album, 60 Watt Silver Lining due out in
February, an elegant tour de force that takes the listener through a liquid
world of disillusionment and broken relationships. In addition Eitzel and his
former AMC partner Bruce Kaplan are hard at work on a film score for No Easy
Way, a film produced by students in the University of California Graduate
Program. Eitzel, ever the misunderstood genius, is not the easiest of interview
subjects, in fact the phrase "reluctant interview subject" comes to mind. ATN
caught up with Eitzel towards the end of 1995, somewhere in Southern California
at the unearthly hour of 8:00 AM, and this interview may prove once and for all
that sometimes you just have to let the music speak for the artist.
Addicted To Noise: The songs on your new album deal a lot with sadness and
loss, have you just gone through a painful breakup? Are the songs
Mark Eitzel: No they're not. I just write about what I
ATN: What happened to the America Music Club?
left the band because I got tired of being in a democracy.
ATN: Wasn't it
a case of too many cooks spoil the stew?
Eitzel: It got that way,
especially when Bruce quit and then when we tried to record an album without
Bruce... When we recorded the last album it was very difficult for me to be
part of it. I didn't feel it anymore. We got these advances from the record
company, and then the money ran out...
ATN: Your new solo album is a quite
a departure from American Music Club, and a more than adequate substitute. It's
much more poetic and visual than your stuff with the band.
ATN: There seems to be a liquid, oceanic thread going through all the
songs on the album. Was that deliberate?
Eitzel: Wait until you see the
ATN: Is there a metaphor that ties it together for you?
I don't know. I can't tell you that, I just write the songs.
ATN: Is your
subconscious organizing the songs in some why that you're not aware
Eitzel: The ocean is a pretty obvious metaphor for almost anything you
want it to be.
ATN: Is the album title, 60 Watt Silver Lining
paying homage to Soul Asylum's Let Your Dim Light Shine?
[clearly rolling his eyes] There you go.
ATN: I'm not sure if this is an
optimistic statement or a pessimistic one. There is a silver lining, and you
seem to be getting there.
ATN: I understand Vudi, who
used to play guitar in American Music Club, is now with the Swans?
No, he won't be with them again. He was with them for their last European and
American tour. He won't do that again he tells me.
ATN: So what is he
Eitzel: I couldn't tell you that.
ATN: Can't or won't. Just
kidding. I understand that you're working on a film score, can you tell me
Eitzel: The film score is for a film called No Easy Way
that me and Bruce Kaplan are doing it with some people from the UC graduate
ATN: How are the live shows going?
Eitzel: Not very well,
people talk all the way through. I'm like the folk artist from nowhere, that's
ATN: So who's on stage with you.
Eitzel: Just myself.
ATN: How are you dealing with it?
Eitzel: Not well. It's a rock and
roll show, and they're just punters.
ATN: Are they expecting to see
American Music Club?
Eitzel: No they're not expecting anything. The
American Music Club is pretty unknown, no one has ever heard of us.
That's harsh, you have a quite a cult following.
Eitzel: So what.
Cult-favorite, shult favorites, I'm not whining about it. It's