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Autograph founder and bassist Randy Rand has died

Randy Rand of Autograph
(Image credit: Autograph / Facebook)

Hard rock band Autograph, best known for '80s hit Turn Up The Radio, have announced the passing of bassist and founder member Randy Rand.

Having signed with Frontiers Srl earlier this year, the band had been working a new studio album with Rand – the only remaining original member to remain with the group.

A cause of death has yet to be announced, but the news was confirmed via Autograph’s official Facebook page (opens in new tab). The full statement reads:

“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.”

Rand’s time with Autograph saw him share stages with everyone from Van Halen to Mötley Crüe and Aerosmith. 

The band caught an early break thanks to their friendship with Van Halen frontman Dave Lee Roth, who invited them to open a show in Jacksonville, Florida to an audience of 12,000 people.

However, as Rand once told American Bandstand host Dick Clark (opens in new tab), Autograph were penniless at the time and the group had to pass a hat around at their previous show in order to raise the gas money to get to the gig.

Autograph‘s fortunes would later change when their December 1984 single Turn Up The Radio began to receive heavy rotation on MTV before it was certified gold in 1985.

Autograph’s founding guitarist Steve Lynch is among those who have paid tribute to Rand, writing on Facebook: “Losing Randy hit me differently, a passing of time and friendships and an ending to the Autograph era…

“There’s no way to describe the bond that is built when you’re a struggling musician forming a new band and traveling from gig to gig making music together - it transcends time, defies logic, and leaves you exhausted and exhilarated at the same time.

“Somehow the five of us, misfits as we were, collectively created a sound that was unique, and even decades later when Turn Up The Radio is playing something undeniably special happens. It’s euphoric.”

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Matt is a freelance journalist who has spent the last decade interviewing musicians for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk (opens in new tab), which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.