FOUNDING AUTOGRAPH BASSIST RANDY RAND DIES
Randy Rand, the founding bassist of '80s hard rockers AUTOGRAPH, has passed away.
Prior to his death, Rand was the sole remaining original member of AUTOGRAPH, which announced in February that it had signed a deal with Frontiers Music Srl and was working on material for a new studio album.
Earlier today (Tuesday, April 26),AUTOGRAPH issued the following statement: "It is with great sorrow and heavy hearts to announce the unexpected passing of our cherished friend and founding member of AUTOGRAPH, Randy Rand.
"At the time of death, Randy was surrounded by his beautiful and infinite love, Regina Rand and family.
"Although beyond devastated, we find some comfort and solace knowing the last couple of years have been some of his happiest as an artist and as a performer. Randy was the consummate optimist and was so excited to see the new direction, creativity and renewed energy with the band. You could feel his excitement- as it was quite palpable with his playing abilities, performances and the way he interacted with his beloved fans.
"As many of you know, Randy arrived in the late 70s Sunset Strip music scene and was an accomplished musician and seasoned studio musician when he rose to prominence as an original member of AUTOGRAPH. Fast forward 40 years, our brother was still making an impact in the music arena with his charismatic stage presence, musical contributions, most notably, with our new album release and collaboration with Frontiers.
"Regrettably, there is only one Randy- a fabulous bassist band mate, brother, and human being. Collectively in the last couple of years with this formation, we spent numerous hours that turned into something magical while creating an unbreakable bond few bands are fortunate enough to ever experience. We had that…and with that, we will continue to honor Randy Rand, as he would want us to and honor our musical commitments and keep his legacy alive.
"At this time…we ask that you respect our privacy and we thank you for the continued love, support and light that all of you have shown him and us as we navigate these sad days ahead of us."
AUTOGRAPH, whose hit "Turn Up The Radio" was a staple of the hard rock soundtrack of the '80s, disbanded in 1989, but in 2011, founding members Rand and guitarist Steve Lynch decided to meet up at the NAMM show in Anaheim, California. They rekindled their friendship first before even thinking about a musical reunion. With their personal relationship rebuilt, they made a collective decision to play again. "We approached our original singer Steve Plunkett about a reunion," Rand recalled. "He didn't have the time to join the band again due to his busy schedule. He did give us his blessing to move forward though, and that was important. We missed our fans. This is for them."
Fully embracing the future, the remaining members began a search for a new singer. They discovered some videos of singer/guitarist/songwriter Simon Daniels (of JAILHOUSE, FLOOD, 1RKO) on YouTube and instantly they sensed a connection and knew that he was the right fit for the band. "He was perfect to front AUTOGRAPH," said Rand. "His hard-edged, bluesy voice and massive riffing sharpen our edge. He's given us a new energy, and he impressed us immediately. We all had a euphoric feeling after the first rehearsal," Rand added.
Rand said that during his long-lived career, he had only loved playing with two drummers; one is the great late Randy Castillo, and then there was AUTOGRAPH's new drummer Marc Wieland. As Rand put it, "We're heavier than before. At the same time, the melodic vocals and catchy hooks are still an integral part of our sound."
In 2019, Lynch decided to leave the group to pursue different musical styles and was replaced by international monster shredder guitarist Jimi Bell (HOUSE OF LORDS, MAXX EXPLOSION).
AUTOGRAPH has released seminal albums such as "Sign In Please" (1984),"That's The Stuff" (1985) and "Loud And Clear" (1987). Over the course of their career, they have played shows with everybody from MÖTLEY CRÜE and DIO to VAN HALEN and AEROSMITH. Successfully touring again since the beginning of 2014, AUTOGRAPH has strived and shined at arenas, casinos, major music festivals such as M3, Monsters Of Rock cruise, Moondance Jam, 80's In The Park, Grand Rock Tember, Cat Club festival at Irvine Meadows and Firefest UK, among others. In 2017, AUTOGRAPH released a new album on ex-MEGADETH member David Ellefson's EMP Label Group, hitting No. 21 on the Billboard Classic Rock Sales chart, as well as placing two new singles on the top 10 Hard Rock Mediabase radio chart.