Autograph’s Founding Member, Randy Rand, Dies

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Randy Rand (Photo via Autograph’s Facebook page)

Randy Rand, the founding bass guitarist for the rock band Autograph, has died (April, 2022). The group are best known for their only charting hit, 1984’s rock anthem “Turn Up the Radio,” which reached #29 on the Hot 100. It’s not known how old Rand was, or the place or cause of death. In the band’s announcement on April 26, it noted that he was surrounded by his wife and family.

Autograph formed in Pasadena, Calif., in 1983 when singer, songwriter and guitarist Steve Plunkett joined up with lead guitarist Steve Lynch, keyboardist Steven Isham, drummer Keni Richards, and Rand. Thanks to Richards’ friendship with David Lee Roth, the unsigned band were invited to perform the opening slot on Van Halen’s 1984 tour.

“They never asked to hear us play,” Plunkett told the Los Angeles Times in 1985. “They made the decision based on the tape and who was in the band. They didn’t know we had no experience.”

The exposure led RCA Records’ west coast A&R staff to sign them.

Their debut album, Sign in Please, was released later that year and subsequently went Gold. The video for “Turn Up the Radio” featured a prominent product placement for a pencil. “Because of our name and the album title, Sign In Please, our manager thought we might get a pen-and-pencil company as a sponsor,” Plunkett explained. “Paper Mate agreed to give us money if we advertised their pen. We were able to make a much more expensive video than the average new band.” Watch it below.

The band’s statement about Rand’s death:

“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.

“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 bandmate, 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.”

Isham died in 2008. Richards passed in 2017.

Related: Musicians and other celebrities we’ve lost in 2022

Best Classic Bands Staff

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  1. Emeraldlorraine
    #1 Emeraldlorraine 27 April, 2022, 02:52

    RIP Randy Rand. Lots of fun great dedicated rockers emerged from the San Gabriel Valley in the 1970s and 1980s. Rock on with the Spirit in the Sky.

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