Welcome Back: Autograph

Best remembered for US Top 30 hit Turn Up The Radio, melodic hard rockers Autograph released three albums for RCA before disbanding in 1989. Interest in the group was revived when TUTR began to appear in films and TV shows (Miami Vice, Hot Tub Time Machine). Although original vocalist Steve Plunkett declined to participate, guitarist Steve Lynch and bass player Randy Rand reunited Autograph in 2013, replacing Plunkett with ex-Jailhouse man Simon Daniels, with whom they’ve released their first new song in more than 25 years.

Why did the band split up first time around?

Randy Rand: Grunge came in and us hair bands couldn’t get a gig anywhere. How did that make me feel? Angry and disappointed. I’d been working in music since the early 70s and it hurt to get dumped.

And why the reunion?

Rand: Steve Lynch and I remained friends, and Turn Up The Radio had stayed popular. We asked Steve Plunkett to be a part of the new Autograph but he’s too busy writing songs for movies and TV. He did give us his blessing to continue without him.

Post-Autograph, you retained an interest in leather?

Rand: I needed something to do with my life so I learned leather crafting, which I’ve done ever since. I had a business called Randy Rand Leather Inc, and now I’m a partner in Woof Wear, a company that makes collars and leads for dogs.

Simon Daniels was spotted on YouTube as a member of Jailhouse. What did you like about him?

Rand: He’s a very bluesy singer and he has lots of charisma. He’s also really pretty [laughs]. My girlfriend’s girlfriend saw him on the Monsters Of Rock Cruise and said: “He’s dreamy.”

Simon Daniels: Right from the first time we played together the chemistry was there… I don’t really think about the age difference. But I’m being me, I’m not impersonating anyone.

**The band’s original keyboard player, Steven Isham, died in 2008, and the ****decision not to replace him has resulted **in you having a tougher sound.

Rand: Yeah, that was intentional. Getting back together, the last thing we wanted was a damned keyboard player. It thins out the sound.

Daniels: Without keyboards we’re much less like Minnie Mouse [laughs].

**The new song, You Are Us, We Are You, is insanely catchy. **

Rand: Isn’t it just? We didn’t want it to sound too bubblegummy, but it’s about the togetherness with the fans that brought this band back to life. And we’re having a great time.

Daniels: We’ve just written another song, called I Lost My Mind In America, but we’re in no rush to make an EP or even an album.

The eighties are long gone. Have you revised your reasons for making music again?

Rand: Yeah, of course. We have no management, and we don’t mind getting in the van to drive six hours for a show. That wasn’t always true [laughs]. We’re not crybabies any more, we do this for the love of it.

For more information visit www.autographband.com

Dave Ling

Dave Ling was a co-founder of Classic Rock magazine. His words have appeared in a variety of music publications, including RAW, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Prog, Rock Candy, Fireworks and Sounds. Dave’s life was shaped in 1974 through the purchase of a copy of Sweet’s album ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’, along with early gig experiences from Status Quo, Rush, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Yes and Queen. As a lifelong season ticket holder of Crystal Palace FC, he is completely incapable of uttering the word ‘Br***ton’.