Say It's Your Birthday: Mark Eitzel

Living in a town without pity. Hey, try to be happy today Mr. Eitzel. Photo by Jay Blakesberg.

We can imagine the conversation with former American Music

Club leader, Mark Eitzel, born this day long ago and far away somewhere in the

wilds of Ohio.

Addicted To Noise: Hey, Happy Birthday Mark. How's it


Mark: Not to good. My band broke up.

ATN: So sorry to hear it.

How'd that happen?

Mark: I broke it up.

ATN: Oh.

So it's gone

for Eitzel, who moved to San Francisco in 1980 seeking punk rock fun in the

sun, and found instead a chilly beach littered with perforated condoms and

broken wine bottles. Out of this profound disappointment arose American Music

Club. With press notices so sparkling that you'd expect their wing in the Rock

and Roll Hall of Fame to already to be under construction, but records sales

that would barely cover a space in the Hall of Fame parking lot, AMC engendered

disappointment on a truly Herculean level. With each new release, the band

champions would exult that this was the expression of greatness that

would surely corral something closer to a mass audience. To which rock radio

and MTV--who claim to represent the taste of the American mass audience--would

inevitably answer "huh?" Eitzel had enough of this, and downsized his

professional operation, disbanding AMC late last year, and striking out alone

with his first domestic solo album (out on Feb. 6) and titled 60 Watt Silver

Lining. Through all of this Eitzel and his followers may have discovered

that they were truly made for each other, and we don't see that as a

disappointment at all. Other birthdays today are Phil Collins, Rock and Roll

Hall of Famer Ruth Brown, Grammy winner Jody Watley, Rock and Roll Hall of

Famer Marty Balin (Jefferson Airplane) and Steve Marriott (Humble