12.7.04 | The Saturnyne remembers something beautiful (And tries to right a grave injustice with a wave of his hand)
October 19th, 1991. I pick up my Melody Maker and begin to read, over breakfast.The famous music magazine was at the heights of it's powers in those days. It was passionate, it was funny, it had long, readable articles and interviews, written by such geniuses (to me) as Everett True, Allan Jones, Chris Roberts, The Stud Brothers and David Jennings. They didn't take prisoners. But they knew what they liked. It was my bible.
I reach the album reviews and my eyes are drawn towards this, I quote:
" "There's so little of you left," he sings, and he sounds startled; he wasn't expecting this, a friend wasting away to nothing and beyond, dying in front of him.
"There's so little of you left," he sings, and now he sounds awed; so this is what disease does to you.
"THERE'S SO LITTLE OF YOU LEFT," he screams, and he sounds angry now,and an electric guitar joins the rushing acoustic whirl,a vicious horizontal hum.
"There's so little of you left..." he sings, and he's whispering, hushed, bewildered and you can feel his own raging tears in what by the end of this heartstopping track are your own smarting eyes.
"It's Mark Eitzel of course, and American Music Club, and the song is called "The Dead Part Of You", A ghastly deathbed lament. This is the kind of territory that AMC have made virtually their own, this landscape of dread, these epitaths to the world's soiled dreams, the charred ends of dislocated live. AMC are rocks desolation angels and no one currently writing so movingly evokes such a colossal sense of bereavement, pain and madness as Eitzel."
There was more of, course, but by the end of the first para. I was no longer eating my brekkie. By the end of the second, i was peering around the room trying to locate my boots. Five mins after that, i'd caught the first bus into town, and making one of those musical purchases that forever have an influence on your life.
The album was 'Everclear' and it was every bit as good, and better than the review promised. By the end of the year, it had swept into every top ten "Best-of's" in every music publication going. Sharing that TEN, with the likes of Nirvana and Guns 'n' Roses. Eitzel's songwriting skills were compared to Dylan's and Morrisey's in Rolling Stone and many other places. Many bands and artists namechecked them
And the public ignored it. As they had the previous 3 before it, and the two to follow. They broke up, and Eitzel persevered with a solo career.
Not before i had the chance to view their last tour though. And i witnessed a performance of such profound jaw-dropping power and emotion, that i didn't sleep for days; I was buzzing from it so much. I can't think of any artist who tears themselves apart on stage, who looks so vulnerable, who lifts you to a new plateau over and over, while breaking the mood 'tween songs with self-deprecating quips and apologies with and to the audience. Is it possible to laugh and cry all at once? Yes. And i did. My sorrow and joy were one.
Everett True wrote about a Mark Eitzel performance thus:
"you know, the man can't sing. Not conventionally, not in the way scholars of the form would have it. His voice cracks when it reaches the higher notes, it breaks when it reaches down to the lower ones, there's no way he can hold a tune, half the time he sounds as if he's sobbing or crying or laughing or talking to himself... Certain words and phrases he runs with, holds onto, drags out until they're drained of all emotion. So why is it i find myself moved beyond tears by this live recording of one man and his shabby old acoustic? Why is it i find myself unable to listen past the savagely direct 'Gary's Song' or the cutting 'Outside This Bar' without wanting to break up every last bottle in this damn flat...'
So. They've reformed. They've played live (To astounding reviews) again). They have an album due out later in the year. And they're touring fully later in the year also. Here's a website to keep you informed: AMC. Do yourself, and them, a favour. Treat yerself. Go see. My band has returned. It's a beautiful world.