Randy Rand, Autograph Founding Bassist, Dies
Randy Rand, founding bassist for the ‘80s hair metal group Autograph, has died.
The rocker’s passing was confirmed in a post to Autograph’s social media pages.
“It is with great sorrow and heavy hearts to announce the unexpected passing of our cherished friend and founding member of Autograph, Randy Rand,” the band’s message read. “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.”
The band’s full statement can be seen below.
Autograph formed in 1983 and rose out of the famed Sunset Strip music scene. Rand -- who joined the group after playing in the band Wolfgang and working as a session musician for several years -- was Autograph’s founding bassist alongside singer Steve Plunkett, guitarist Steve Lynch, drummer Keni Richards and keyboardist Steven Isham.
In their early days, the band scored a spot opening for one of their contemporaries: Van Halen.
“We knew Van Halen, we knew Quiet Riot, we knew all the guys from the 70s coming up,” Rand recalled to Antihero 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, ‘Sure.’ We weren’t even a band yet.”
The experience quickly threw Rand and his band in front of ravenous fans. “We really thought we were going to get our ass kicked because it was like 15,000 people for your very first gig ever,” he explained. “We named the band Autograph on the way because that was the only name that we didn’t hate.”
Things continued moving quickly from there. In 1984, the group released their debut album, Sign In Please. The LP featured Autograph’s breakout hit “Turn Up the Radio,” which reached No. 29 on the Billboard Hot 100, while its accompanying video received heavy rotation on MTV.
Sign In Please would eventually go gold, but follow-up single “Send Her to Me” failed to replicate the success of “Turn Up the Radio.” Autograph released another two records -- 1985’s That’s the Stuff and 1987’s Loud and Clear -- before breaking up in 1989.
With rock stardom seemingly in the rearview mirror, Rand pursued a career in leather making. For more than 20 years, the bassist ran a business specializing in hand-crafted leather goods. However, in 2013 Rand got the music bug once again. After reteaming with Lynch for an appearance at the annual NAMM show, the musicians decided to revive Autograph. The group released two new albums -- Louder (2016) and Get Off Your Ass (2017). Lynch left the band in 2019, but Autograph continued with Rand performing alongside a new lineup. The group was reportedly working on new material prior to the bassist's death.