Mark Eitzel

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Mark Eitzel
Eitzel singing into a microphone
Eitzel with American Music Club in 2008
Background information
Birth nameJohn Mark Eitzel
Born (1959-01-30) January 30, 1959 (age 61)[1]
Walnut Creek, California, U.S.
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter, musician
Years active1980–present
LabelsDecor, Cooking Vinyl, Thirsty Ear, New West, Matador, Diablo, Warner Bros.
Associated actsAmerican Music Club, Toiling Midgets, The Naked Skinnies, Peter Buck, The Undertow Orchestra

Mark Eitzel (born 30 January 1959) is an American musician, best known as a songwriter and lead singer of the San Francisco band American Music Club.[2]


Eitzel spent his formative years in a military family living in Okinawa, Taiwan, Ohio and the United Kingdom.[3] He moved to America in 1979, and came out as gay in 1985.[4][5]

He started making music while he was a teenager in Southampton, England. His first band was a punk band called the Cowboys when he moved to Columbus, Ohio, at 19. They released one single in 1980. His second band was called The Naked Skinnies[6] and they released one single in 1981. He moved to San Francisco with The Naked Skinnies in 1981 where they disbanded in 1982. Eitzel formed American Music Club (AMC) in San Francisco in 1982. The band performed and created albums for twelve years. At one point, Eitzel also sang with San Francisco's Toiling Midgets, and often recorded solo work while involved in AMC.

American Music Club disbanded in 1994, and Eitzel focused on his solo career, releasing 60 Watt Silver Lining[7] in 1996. It was a surprisingly smooth, jazz-pop departure. Also in 1996, Eitzel contributed to the AIDS benefit album Offbeat: A Red Hot Soundtrip produced by the Red Hot Organization. Following this, he released West in 1997, co-writing all of the songs with the R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck, with whom he also toured. He followed up with Caught in a Trap and I Can't Back out 'Cause I Love You Too Much, Baby, assisted by Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth and the Yo La Tengo bass guitarist James McNew.

Eitzel released more music in 2001, beginning with a more electronic turn in The Invisible Man[8] on Matador Records. This was followed by two covers projects in 2002: Music for Courage and Confidence,[9] which was material written by other songwriters, and The Ugly American,[10] an album which included reinterpretations of American Music Club songs performed with a band of traditional and non traditional Greek musicians.

American Music Club reformed in 2003 for a sold out show at the South Bank Centre in London. In the following year, they released Love Songs For Patriots[11] and toured both the United States and Europe several times. The album received glowing reviews across the world.[citation needed] In 2008, the band line-up changed again and the band released The Golden Age[12] which Uncut magazine said was their best since Mercury with a 5 star album of the month review.

Eitzel released a compilation album of electronic soundtrack material in 2005, Candy Ass.[13] In 2009, Klamath was released on Decor Records. Uncut magazine said it was his best solo album yet. In 2010, the musical Marine Parade was premiered in the 2010 Brighton Festival. The musical was written by Simon Stephens and Eitzel wrote all of the music and used two of the songs from Klamath. It received good reviews. He also contributed a cover version of the Ira Gershwin song "'S Wonderful" to the soundtrack of Vidal Sassoon - The Movie.[14] The film was directed by Craig Teper, and the soundtrack was produced by David Spelman. The soundtrack also included music by the post-rock chamber ensembles Clogs (featuring Padma Newsome and Bryce Dessner of The National), Redhooker, and the Arcade Fire side project Bell Orchestre. The film had its premiere at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival.

In addition to the above albums, Eitzel has also released many mail order tour CDs, his most recent[when?] being the limited edition (500 copies) Brannan St., which is available at his concert dates and at the Decor records website. His eleventh solo studio album, Don’t Be a Stranger, was released in October 2012 on Merge Records and produced by Sheldon Gomberg.



  • "Supermarket"/"Teenage Life" (7") (Tet Offensive, 1980)

The Naked Skinnies

  • "All My Life"/"This Is the Beautiful Night" (7") (Naked House, 1981)

American Music Club

Toiling Midgets



  1. ^ Deming, Mark. "Mark Eitzel". AllMusic. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  2. ^ Strong, Martin Charles; Peel, John (25 October 2004). The great rock discography. Canongate U.S. pp. 37–. ISBN 978-1-84195-615-2. Retrieved 13 August 2011.
    - Taylor, Steve (29 August 2006). A to X of Alternative Music. Continuum International Publishing Group. pp. 12–. ISBN 978-0-8264-8217-4. Retrieved 13 August 2011.
    - Buckley, Jonathan (18 November 1999). Rock: the rough guide. Rough Guides. pp. 25–. ISBN 978-1-85828-457-6. Retrieved 13 August 2011.
  3. ^ Belcher, David (13 February 1998). "All on his own and more's the pithy..." Glasgow Herald. Retrieved 13 August 2011.
  4. ^ Walsh, Ben (February 8, 2013). "American Music Club's Mark Eitzel strikes a hopeful tone". The Independent.
  5. ^ Stevenson, Seth (December 4, 2012). "Mark Eitzel Is Making Great Music, Not Much Money". Slate.
  6. ^ George-Warren, Holly; Romanowski, Patricia; Bashe, Patricia Romanowski; Jon Pareles (30 October 2001). The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll. Fireside. pp. 18-. ISBN 978-0-7432-0120-9. Retrieved 13 August 2011.
  7. ^ Eggers, Dave (8 May 1997). "Mark Eitzel". Salon.
  8. ^ Harrington, Richard (24 May 2002). "The Melancholy Man Lightens Up". Washington Post. p. T6. Retrieved 13 August 2011.
  9. ^ Caligiuri, Jim (31 May 2002). "Mark Eitzel - Music Review". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 13 August 2011.
  10. ^ Sanders, Mark (13 February 2008). "American Music Club's San Francisco Fixation". SF Weekly. p. 1. Retrieved 13 August 2011.
  11. ^ Foster, Patrick (6 November 2004). "Pop Music: American Music Club". The Washington Post. p. C3. Retrieved 13 August 2011.
  12. ^ Sweeney, Eamon (4 February 2008). "A divine evening at the music club with old friends". Irish Independent. Retrieved 13 August 2011.
  13. ^ "Spin control". Chicago Sun-Times. 27 November 2005. p. D2. Retrieved 13 August 2011.
  14. ^ "How One Man Changed The World With a Pair of Scissors". Vidal Sassoon The Movie. Archived from the original on 1 October 2014. Retrieved 31 October 2012.
  15. ^ "Mark Eitzel - Glory".
  16. ^ "Mark Eitzel - Glory". Decor Records.
  17. ^ "Mark Eitzel - The Eitzel Ordeal - The Konk Sessions".
  18. ^ "Mark Eitzel - The Eitzel Ordeal - The Konk Sessions". Decor Records.
  19. ^ "Hey Mr Ferryman".

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