Mark Eitzel interview

Rummaging around in my cupboard here, I dug out some notes from an interview earlier this year with Mark Eitzel, unpublished until now.)

“I’ve never had as good a band,” says Mark Eitzel, after reuniting with American Music Club. “It’s also good to be with people who understand my neuroses.”

Restoring AMC’s rich arrangements to Eitzel’s deeply emotional songs, the new Merge CD Love Songs for Patriots features original members Vudi on guitar, Tim Mooney on drums and Danny Pearson on bass and newcomer Marc Capelle on piano and trumpet.

During AMC’s original run — 1984 to 1995 — the band never achieved commercial success, though it drew a cult following. Eitzel says the band was just too hard to pigeonhole, feeding on diverse influences ranging from Pink Floyd to Nick Drake to Al Green. Typically self-effacing, he says, “We tried to do everything we liked. We didn’t do anything well.We did about five things half-assed.”

References to Kathleen — a close friend who died a few years ago — continue to appear in Eitzel’s lyrics, including the new song Another Morning. Eitzel told a concert audience in Chicago this spring how odd it feels that he’s written so many love songs about a woman, despite the fact that he’s openly gay.

In a later interview, he says, “I just feel embarrassed that I’m still writing songs about this woman.” But, he added, “It doesn’t really matter what your sex is. You love people. And if you close yourself off to loving people, then you’re fucked.”