Mark Eitzel

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Mark Eitzel
Background information
Birth name John Mark Eitzel
Born (1959-01-30) January 30, 1959 (age 62)
Origin Walnut Creek, California[1]
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, musician
Instruments Vocals, guitar, keyboards
Years active 1980–present
Labels Decor Records, Cooking Vinyl, Thirsty Ear Recordings, New West Records, Matador Records, Demon Records, Warner Bros., Merge Records
Associated acts American Music Club, Toiling Midgets, Naked Skinnies, The Cowboys, Peter Buck, The Undertow Orchestra

Mark Eitzel (born January 30, 1959) is a musician, best known as a songwriter and lead singer of the San Francisco band American Music Club.[2][3][4]


Eitzel spent his formative years in a military family living in Okinawa, Taiwan, Ohio and the United Kingdom.[5] He moved to America in 1979.

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 Naked Skinnies[6] and they released one single in 1981. He moved to San Francisco with 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 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 Yo La Tengo bassist 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. Eitzel recorded 9 songs with Howie B in May of 2003, none of which have yet to see the light of day.

American Music Club reformed in 2003 for a sold out show at the London South Bank Centre. 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. 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 was a featured interviewee in the 2004 documentary film,I, Curmudgeon and released the electronic Candy Ass in 2005.[13] In 2009, he released Klamath on Decor Records. Uncut magazine said it was his best solo album yet. Eitzel also made a brief cameo in Jill Sobule's video for her song "San Francisco", directed by Margaret Cho. 2010 saw the launch of Marine Parade. This was a musical written by Simon Stephens for which Eitzel had written all the music. It was premiered in the 2010 Brighton Festival to good reviews and featured two of the songs from Klamath. He also contributed a cover 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 post-rock chamber ensembles Clogs (featuring Padma Newsome and Bryce Dessner of The National), Redhooker, and Arcade Fire side-project Bell Orchestre. The film had its premiere at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival.

His eleventh solo studio album, Don't Be A Stranger, was released in October 2012 on Merge Records and produced by Sheldon Gomberg. The follow up, 2017's Hey Mr Ferryman, was produced by Bernard Butler. In addition to all the above albums Eitzel has also released many mail order & tour CDs, his most recent being the limited edition (300 copies) Copenhagen 2009, which was first available during his 2017 SXSW appearances and later through his website.


The Cowboys

Naked Skinnies

American Music Club

Toiling Midgets



  1. California Births, 1905 - 1995, John M. Eitzel – Birth Date: 01/30/1959, County of Birth: Contra Costa (Walnut Creek)
  2. Strong, Martin Charles; Peel, John (2004-10-25). The great rock discography. Canongate U.S. pp. 37–. ISBN 978-1-84195-615-2. Retrieved August 13, 2011. 
  3. Taylor, Steve (2006-08-29). A to X of Alternative Music. Continuum International Publishing Group. pp. 12–. ISBN 978-0-8264-8217-4. Retrieved August 13, 2011. 
  4. Buckley, Jonathan (1999-11-18). Rock: the rough guide. Rough Guides. pp. 25–. ISBN 978-1-85828-457-6. Retrieved August 13, 2011. 
  5. Belcher, David (February 13, 1998). "All on his own and more's the pithy..." Glasgow Herald. Retrieved August 13, 2011. 
  6. George-Warren, Holly; Romanowski, Patricia; Bashe, Patricia Romanowski; Jon Pareles (2001-10-30). The Rolling stone encyclopedia of rock & roll. Fireside. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-7432-0120-9. Retrieved August 13, 2011. 
  7. Eggers, Dave (May 8, 1997). "Mark Eitzel". Salon. Retrieved August 13, 2011. 
  8. Harrington, Richard (May 24, 2002). "The Melancholy Man Lightens Up". Washington Post. p. T6. Retrieved August 13, 2011. 
  9. Caligiuri, Jim (May 31, 2002). "Mark Eitzel - Music Review". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved August 13, 2011. 
  10. Sanders, Mark (February 13, 2008). "American Music Club's San Francisco Fixation". SF Weekly. p. 1. Retrieved August 13, 2011. 
  11. Foster, Patrick (November 6, 2004). "POP MUSIC". The Washington Post. p. C3. Retrieved August 13, 2011. 
  12. Sweeney, Eamon (February 4, 2008). "A divine evening at the music club with old friends". Irish Independent. Retrieved August 13, 2011. 
  13. "Spin control". Chicago Sun-Times. November 27, 2005. p. D2. Retrieved August 13, 2011. 
  14. "How One Man Changed The World With a Pair of Scissors". Vidal Sassoon The Movie. Retrieved 2012-10-31. 

External links