Mark Eitzel Doesn't Give Anything Away

The greatest San Francisco rock band of the '80's? We think so.

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

autobiographical ?

Mark Eitzel: No they're not. I just write about what I

write about.

ATN: What happened to the America Music Club?

Eitzel: I

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.

Eitzel: Thank


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.

Eitzel: Yeah.

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

about that.

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

going nowhere.

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