'Every Song I Record from Now on Has to Be Good, Has to Count' He's Got the Mordant Wit of Morrissey Mixed with the Tune-Smithery of an On-Form Elvis Costello, but You've Likely Never Heard of Mark Eitzel. Nathan Bevan Talks to the Man Dubbed America's Greatest Living Songwriter about Heart Attacks, Hecklers and Doctor Who

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), October 31, 2011 | Go to article overview

'Every Song I Record from Now on Has to Be Good, Has to Count' He's Got the Mordant Wit of Morrissey Mixed with the Tune-Smithery of an On-Form Elvis Costello, but You've Likely Never Heard of Mark Eitzel. Nathan Bevan Talks to the Man Dubbed America's Greatest Living Songwriter about Heart Attacks, Hecklers and Doctor Who


Byline: Nathan Bevan

I'M telling Mark Eitzel about the time we met some 14 years ago, although I doubt he remembers it.

After all, it was an evening I myself would rather forget.

"Oh God, was I nice to you?" winces the San Franciscan singer-songwriter as I begin my story of how I ran into him on the London Underground en route to one of his own gigs.

Tapping him on the shoulder to say hello, we had started talking and inadvertently ended up leaving the station through the completely wrong exit and getting hopelessly lost amid the market stall bling and booming stereos of the boy racers cruising up and down Holloway Road.

"At least you didn't miss any of the show," laughs Eitzel, although the gig itself ended up deteriorating into a heated war of words between him and some drunken female hecklers who kept calling out the name of the support act, Bill Janovitz from plaid-shirted rockers Buffalo Tom, throughout his performance.

And, disheartened, I left the club early to wait in the rain for a cab that never showed.

"Actually I do remember that now," laughs Eitzel who, despite being called "America's greatest living songwriter" by the likes of Rolling Stone magazine, has always somehow languished below the commercial radar.

"What can I say? Bill's just way more handsome than me."

Best known as the frontman of critically-revered indie rockers American Music Club - who, in a more just, parallel universe would have be the Stateside answer to The Smiths - the 52-year-old is about to appear in Cardiff in a drastically different guise.

"The last time I toured with AMC was a nightmare, trying to sing and play all the complicated little picking parts at the same time, often in these increasingly odd tunings," he sighs.

"So, a few years ago, I went to see Leonard Cohen in concert - who was amazing, by the way - and noticed he wasn't bothering to play the guitar like he does on his records.

"And it hit me, 'I just want to be a goddamn singer'!" And now, pared back on stage to his voice and keyboard alone, Eitzel admits he feels reborn.

"Before, each time I had a bad show, I'd be like: 'That's it, I can't do this anymore'," he says.

"But now there are no bad shows, because I've freed myself up to perform my songs at their fullest.

"And now if two young girls want to heckle me, it's so much easier to step off the stage, throw my arms around them and strangle... I mean, thank them so much for all their love and support," Eitzel laughs.

But even if he's enjoying performing a whole lot more, the singer adds that touring can still be a problem. "You can kind of get a bit nuts if you do it too much," he says. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

'Every Song I Record from Now on Has to Be Good, Has to Count' He's Got the Mordant Wit of Morrissey Mixed with the Tune-Smithery of an On-Form Elvis Costello, but You've Likely Never Heard of Mark Eitzel. Nathan Bevan Talks to the Man Dubbed America's Greatest Living Songwriter about Heart Attacks, Hecklers and Doctor Who
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.