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American Music Club

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San Francisco, United States (1983 – present)

American Music Club (often abbreviated AMC) is a San Francisco-based band led by singer-songwriter Mark Eitzel. They’ve been recording and playing in SF clubs since the mid 1980’s, showing a remarkable longevity for a band that has been far more critically acclaimed than financially successful.

Although born in California, frontman Mark Eitzel spent his formative years in Great Britain and Ohio before returning to the Bay Area in 1980. After a brief stint with the punk band The Naked Skinnies he founded American Music Club in 1983 with guitarist Vudi, bassist Dan 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.

Their 1985 debut, The Restless Stranger, offers a rough outline of their increasingly eclectic sound and firmly established Eitzel’s worldview, a harrowing vision of life as seen through the bottom of a shot glass. 1987’s Engine honed the formula: the addition of producer Tom Mallon as a full-time member expanded the group’s sonic palette.

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 leftover material and live tracks.

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. Eventually AMC — now consisting of Eitzel, Vudi, Pearson, multi-instrumentalist Bruce Kaphan, and drummer Tim Mooney — signed with Reprise in the U.S. and Virgin throughout the rest of the world.

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