American Music Club
|American Music Club|
|Origin||San Francisco, California, United States|
|Years active||1982–1994, 2004–2009|
|Labels||Cooking Vinyl, Merge Records, Reprise Records, Virgin Records, Frontier Records, Grifter Records, Zippo Records, Warner Bros., Demon Records, Alias Records|
|Associated acts||The Cowboys, Naked Skinnies, Toiling Midgets|
Although born in California, Eitzel spent his formative years in Okinawa, Taiwan, Great Britain and Ohio before returning to the Bay Area in 1981. After a brief stint with the bands The Cowboys (one single: Supermarket/Teenage Life) and Naked Skinnies (one single: All My Life) he founded American Music Club in San Francisco in 1983 with guitarist Scott Alexander, drummer Greg Bonnell and bass player Brad Johnson. The band went through many personnel changes before arriving at a stable line up of guitarist Vudi, bassist Danny Pearson, keyboardist Brad Johnson and drummer Matt Norelli. 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 Danny Pearson accompanying him on guitar and bass.
Their 1985 debut, The Restless Stranger, is widely considered as the first slowcore release, establishing the band as major pioneers of slowcore and an early influence on post-rock. It was later followed by 1987's Engine which saw record producer Tom Mallon as a full-time member.
American Music Club earned a solid cult following on the strength of 1988's California. Their next LP, 1989's United Kingdom, appeared only in the nation which lent the record its name and consisted of new material, some of which was recorded live at the Hotel Utah in San Francisco.
In 1991 American Music Club emerged with the record that is widely considered their masterpiece, Everclear. Critical acclaim attracted the attention of several major labels. Rolling Stone called it the Album of the Year and named Eitzel Songwriter of the Year for 1991. Eventually, AMC—now consisting of Eitzel, Vudi, Pearson, multi-instrumentalist Bruce Kaphan and drummer Tim Mooney—signed with Reprise Records in the US and Virgin Records throughout the rest of the world.
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. Mercury followed in 1993 and, despite positive reviews, the album fared poorly on the charts and earned virtually no recognition from radio or MTV. 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," one of the band's biggest hits.
The band disbanded soon after San Francisco was released and reunited in 2003 to record a new album, Love Songs For Patriots, which is described by 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."
On June 20, 2007, AMC announced a new lineup connected to the band's base of operations moving to Los Angeles. Eitzel and Vudi remained, while Mooney and Pearson stayed behind in San Francisco. They were replaced by bassist Sean Hoffman and drummer Steve Didelot from the band The Larks. 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.
Shortly after an extensive 2008 tour, the group disbanded and then reformed with a new line-up including Eitzel, Vudi and Steve as well as members of Bee and Flower: Dana Schechter on bass and Jonathan Heine on second guitar. This short-lived lineup disbanded for good in 2009.
Tom Mallon died after a long battle with brain cancer on January 9, 2014; he was 57. Prior to his death, a benefit festival for Mallon (TomFest) took place in San Francisco at The Great American Music Hall on March 3, 2013. A band consisting of various former members and associates performed under the American Music Club name - this band consisted of Mallon (bass), Danny Pearson (guitar, vocals), Joe Goldring (guitar), Mike Simms (drums), Nancie Lualhati (backing vocals), Vudi (percussion) and Steve Lindstrom (backing vocals). The band performed "Clouds", "Electric Light", "Mom's TV" and "Bad Liquor".
- The Restless Stranger (January 1985)
- Engine (October 1987)
- California (October 1988)
- United Kingdom (October 1989)
- Everclear (October 1991)
- Mercury (March 1993)
- San Francisco (September 1994)
- Love Songs For Patriots (September 2004)
- A Toast To You Live in Pittsburgh, PA, November 10, 2004 (January 2005)
- Atwater Afternoon (2008) - Limited Edition CD to promote The Golden Age
- The Golden Age (February 2008)
- Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. pp. 19–20. ISBN 1-84195-017-3.
- "The Restless Stranger by American Music Club (Album, Slowcore): Reviews, Ratings, Credits, Song list". Rateyourmusic.com. Retrieved 2015-05-18.[permanent dead link]
- Mark Deming (2004-10-12). "Love Songs for Patriots - American Music Club | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-05-18.
- "American Music Club's Tim Mooney: RIP". Uncut.co.uk. 2012-06-19. Retrieved 2014-04-24.
- "Tom Mallon at Coming Home Hospice, SF | Medical Expenses". YouCaring.com. Retrieved 2014-04-24.
- Tom Mallon (2013). "TomFest". grifterrec.com. Retrieved June 16, 2017.