American Music Club

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American Music Club
Mark Eitzel performing with American Music Club, 2008
Mark Eitzel performing with American Music Club, 2008
Background information
OriginSan Francisco, California, United States
Years active1982–1994, 2004–2010
Past members
  • Mark Eitzel
  • Scott Alexander
  • Greg Bonnell
  • Brad Johnson
  • Vudi
  • Danny Pearson
  • Matt Norelli
  • Tom Mallon
  • Lisa Davis
  • Mike Simms
  • Bruce Kaphan
  • Tim Mooney
  • Marc Capelle
  • Steve Didelot
  • Sean Hoffman
  • Lliam Hart

American Music Club was an American, San Francisco-based indie rock band, led by singer-songwriter Mark Eitzel.[5] Formed in 1983, the band released seven albums before splitting up in 1995. They reformed in 2003 and released two further albums.


Although born in California, Eitzel spent his formative years in Okinawa (Japan), Taiwan, Southampton (the United Kingdom) and Ohio (United States) before returning to the Bay Area in 1981.[6] After a brief stint with the bands The Cowboys (one single: "Supermarket"/"Teenage Life") and The Naked Skinnies (one single) he founded American Music Club in San Francisco in 1983 with guitarist Scott Alexander, drummer Greg Bonnell and bass player Brad Johnson.[5][7][8] The band went through many personnel changes before arriving at a stable line up of guitarist Vudi (Mark Pankler), bassist Danny Pearson, keyboardist Brad Johnson and drummer Matt Norelli.[7] This lineup would change over the next several years, but Eitzel always remained the core of the band in terms of its vocals, lyrics and thematic focus, with Vudi and Pearson accompanying him on guitar and bass.

Their 1985 debut, The Restless Stranger, released on Grifter Records,[7] is widely considered as the first slowcore release, establishing the band as major pioneers of slowcore and an early influence on post-rock.[3] It was later followed by 1987's Engine which saw record producer Tom Mallon as a full-time member.[5][8]

American Music Club earned a solid cult following in Europe on the strength of 1988's California.[8] Their next LP, 1989's United Kingdom, was a UK-only release comprising new material, some of which was recorded live at the Hotel Utah in San Francisco.[8] These two albums were described by Ian Canadine in Rock: The Rough Guide as "the band's two unequivocal masterpieces".[9]

In 1991 American Music Club released Everclear, which has been described as "more polished and radio-friendly" compared to the previous albums, with David Sprague, writing for Trouser Press stating the "slickened production works against the band",[10] but as the band's masterpiece by AllMusic writer Jason Ankeny.[9][8] Critical acclaim attracted the attention of several major labels.[8] Rolling Stone called it the Album of the Year and named Eitzel Songwriter of the Year for 1991.[5] Eventually, AMC—now consisting of Eitzel, Vudi, Pearson, multi-instrumentalist Bruce Kaphan and drummer Tim Mooney—signed with Reprise in the US and Virgin throughout the rest of the world.[7][8]

The band contributed the track "All Your Jeans Were Too Tight" to the 1993 AIDS-Benefit Album No Alternative produced by the Red Hot Organization. The album Mercury, produced by Mitchell Froom, followed in 1993 and, despite positive reviews (although Canadine considered it over-produced),[9] the album only reached number 41 on the UK Albums Chart and got little radio and television exposure.[7][8] In 1994, AMC issued San Francisco, which balanced confessional tunes like "Fearless" and "The Thorn in My Side Is Gone" alongside more accessible offerings such as "Wish the World Away".[8]

The band disbanded in 1995, with Eitzel concentrating on his solo career, having already released a solo live album and en EP as side projects.[6][7][9] Vudi subsequently formed Clovis de la Floret while working as a bus driver in Los Angeles.[11]

The band reunited in 2003, with Eitzel joined by Pearson and Mooney, and later Vudi and keyboard player Marc Capelle, to record a new album, Love Songs for Patriots (released in 2004),[8][11][12] which is described by AllMusic reviewer Mark Deming as "a stronger and more coherent effort than the group's last set, 1994's San Francisco, and while it's too early to tell if this is a new start or a last hurrah for AMC, it at least shows that their formula still yields potent results. Here's hoping Eitzel and Vudi have more where this came from."[13]

A performance in Pittsburgh on November 10, 2004, was released as a live CD, A Toast To You, on January 1, 2005. The band then consisted of Eitzel, Vudi, Pearson, Mooney, with Jason Borger on keyboards.

On June 20, 2007, AMC announced a new lineup connected to the band's base of operations moving to Los Angeles.[8] Eitzel and Vudi remained, while Mooney and Pearson stayed behind in San Francisco.[8] They were replaced by bassist Sean Hoffman and drummer Steve Didelot from the band the Larks.[8] AMC's next record, entitled The Golden Age, was released in the UK on February 4, 2008, on Cooking Vinyl and in the US on February 19 on Merge Records.[8][14]

The band split up again around 2010.[15]

Tim Mooney died of a blood clot in June 2012; he was 53.[16]

Tom Mallon died after a long battle with brain cancer on January 9, 2014; he was 57.[17]




Title Release date Label UK Albums Chart[18]
The Restless Stranger 1985 Grifter
Engine October 1987 Grifter/Zippo
California October 1988 Demon/Frontier
United Kingdom October 1989 Demon
Everclear October 1991 Alias
Mercury March 1993 Virgin 41
San Francisco September 1994 Reprise 72
Love Songs for Patriots September 2004 Merge 99
The Golden Age February 2008 Cooking Vinyl


  • A Toast To You – Live in Pittsburgh, PA, November 10, 2004 (January 2005), Undertow


Title Release date Label Notes
Over And Done 1993 Reprise Promotional only
New Recordings, Demos & Rough Mixes 2003 Undertow Promotional only
1984–1985 2005
The Mercury Band Demos April 1992 2008
The Everclear Rehearsals Late 1990 2008
Atwater Afternoon 2008 Undertow Limited edition CD to promote The Golden Age

Singles and EPs[edit]

Title Release date Label Notes UK Singles Chart[18]
"Rise" 1991 Alias
"Why Won't You Stay" 1991 Alias
"Johnny Mathis' Feet" 1993 Virgin 58
Johnny Mathis' Feet Plus Live Tracks 1993 Reprise Promotional only
Soil X Samples 12 1993 Reprise Promotional only
"Keep Me Around" 1993 Virgin
"Over and Done" 1993 Reprise Promotional only
"Wish the World Away" 1994 Virgin 46
"Can You Help Me" 1994 Virgin 91
"I'll Be Gone" 1994 Reprise Promotional only
"Hello Amsterdam" 1995 Reprise
"Home" 2004 Cooking Vinyl Promotional only
"Another Morning" 2004 Cooking Vinyl Promotional only
"Ladies & Gentlemen" 2004 Cooking Vinyl Promotional only
"Decibels and the Little Pills" 2007 Cooking Vinyl Promotional only
"All The Lost Souls Welcome You To San Francisco" 2008 Cooking Vinyl


  1. ^ Deming, Mark. "Mark Eitzel | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved November 16, 2020.
  2. ^ Unterberger, Richie; Hicks, Samb (1999). Music USA: The Rough Guide. Rough Guides. p. 433. ISBN 978-1-85828-421-7.
  3. ^ a b Dye, David (February 27, 2008). "American Music Club: 'Slowcore' and More". NPR. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
  4. ^ "Sadcore Music Genre Overview". AllMusic. Retrieved May 30, 2022.
  5. ^ a b c d Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. pp. 19–20. ISBN 1-84195-017-3.
  6. ^ a b Larkin, Colin (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Eighties Music. Virgin. p. 22–23. ISBN 978-0-7535-0159-7.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Strong, Martin C. (2003). The Great Indie Discography. Canongate. p. 201–2. ISBN 978-1-84195-335-9.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Ankeny, Jason. "American Music Club Biography, Songs, & Albums". AllMusic. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
  9. ^ a b c d Canadine, Ian (1996). "American Music Club". Rock: The Rough Guide. Rough Guides. p. 19–20. ISBN 978-1-85828-201-5.
  10. ^ Sprague, Deborah. "American Music Club". Trouser Press. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
  11. ^ a b Kaufman, Gil (July 29, 2003). "American Music Club Re-Open". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
  12. ^ Himes, Geoffrey. "AMERICAN MUSIC CLUB "Love ..." The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
  13. ^ Deming, Mark. "Love Songs for Patriots – American Music Club | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved May 18, 2015.
  14. ^ Kelly, Nick (January 26, 2008). "American Music Club: There's a Club if you'd like to go..." Irish Independent. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
  15. ^ Rachel, T. Cole (October 5, 2012). "Mark Eitzel On Musicals, Being Broke, The Weight Of American Music Club, And His Excellent New Album". Stereogum. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
  16. ^ "American Music Club's Tim Mooney: RIP". Uncut. June 19, 2012. Retrieved April 24, 2014.
  17. ^ "Tom Mallon at Coming Home Hospice, SF | Medical Expenses". Archived from the original on April 16, 2014. Retrieved April 24, 2014.
  18. ^ a b "AMERICAN MUSIC CLUB". Official Charts Company. Retrieved December 15, 2018.

External links[edit]