Randy Rand, Founding Bassist of Autograph, Dies
Randy Rand, founding bassist of 80s hair metal band Autograph, has died.
The rocker’s passing was confirmed in a post on Autograph’s social media pages.
“It is with great sadness and heavy hearts to announce the unexpected passing of our dear friend and founding member of Autograph, Randy Rand,” read the band’s message. “Although beyond the desolation, we find some solace and solace in knowing that the past two years have been among his happiest as an artist and as a performer. Randy was a consummate optimist and was so excited to see the new direction, creativity and renewed energy with the band. You could feel his enthusiasm as it was quite palpable with his playing abilities, his performances and the way he interacted with his fans well. -loved.
The band’s full statement can be seen below.
Autograph formed in 1983 and grew out of the famed Sunset Strip music scene. Rand – who joined the band after playing in the band Wolfgang and working as a session musician for several years – was Autograph’s founding bassist alongside vocalist Steve Plunkett, guitarist Steve Lynch, drummer Keni Richards and keyboardist Steven Isham.
In its debut, the group marked a first place for one of its contemporaries: Van Halen.
“We knew Van Halen, we knew Quiet Riot, we knew all the guys from the upcoming 70s,” Rand recalled to Anti-Hero Magazine in 2020. “I was friends with Lita Ford at the time. She called me in New York when I was working with Lita and said, ‘Do you want to go on tour with Van Halen?’ because they were our friends. I said, ‘Of course.’ We weren’t even a band yet.
The experience quickly threw Rand and his band in front of hungry fans. “We really thought we were going to get our asses kicked because it was like 15,000 people for your very first gig,” he explained. “We named the band Autograph along the way because it was the only name we didn’t hate.”
Things continued to move quickly from there. In 1984, the band released their first album, Please login. The LP featured the Autograph hit “Turn Up the Radio”, which reached No. 29 on the Billboard Hot 100, while the accompanying video received heavy rotation on MTV.
Please login would eventually go gold, but follow-up single “Send Her to Me” failed to replicate the success of “Turn Up the Radio”. Autograph released two more records – 1985 That’s the thing and 1987 loud and clear — before separating in 1989.
With rock stardom seemingly in the rearview mirror, Rand pursued a career in leather manufacturing. For more than 20 years, the bassist ran a business specializing in handcrafted leather goods. However, in 2013 Rand caught the music bug again. After teaming up with Lynch for an appearance at the annual NAMM show, the musicians decided to revive Autograph. The group has released two new albums — Stronger (2016) and loose your ass (2017). Lynch left the band in 2019, but Autograph continued with Rand alongside a new lineup. The band reportedly worked on new material before the bassist’s death.
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