Morning Music: Mark Eitzel

Everclear - American Music ClubI swear, there was a decade of my life that I’m not sure I would have gotten through if it hadn’t been for Mark Eitzel and American Music Club. His combination of wry despondency so matched where I was. It is often hard to hold onto the wry part. But if Eitzel could laugh at the fact that he was spending his nights crying into his beer, then there was hope.

Here he is all by himself performing the first track off Everclear, “Why Won’t You Stay.” Everclear is widely considered American Music Club’s masterpiece. I don’t agree, but it is unquestionably a great album. The thing is that the band has never produced an album that wasn’t good. But my favorite is probably United Kingdom because of its under-produced and dark sound. My friend Dave Luoto once gave me a cassette tap with California on one side and United Kingdom on the other. (I now own the import that has both albums on it.) It was one of the best gifts anyone had ever given to me. And I listened to it over and over again. I made a little fun of myself about this in my unfinished second novel:

We made our way down I-5, through Gresham, the turn off to OSU, and onward toward Eugene. I’d been switching between American Music Club California with “Jenny Don’t Go” and American Music Club United Kingdom with “Highway 5.” By about Roseburg, Rachel, silent up til then, blurted out, ‘If I hear My Big Aloha one more time, I’ll scream.”

Here we see Mark Eitzel singing at a radio station. And he seems like he’s actually, well, happy. I’m glad to see it. I feel a whole lot better these days too.

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