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
going?

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
Pie).