Founding Autograph bassist Randy Rand has died

Randy Rand press shot
(Image credit: Autograph/Facebook)

Randy Rand, the founding bassist of 80s rockers Autograph, has died. The news was confirmed by the band in a social media post (opens in new tab).

The statement read: "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 honour Randy Rand, as he would want us to and honour our musical commitments and keep his legacy alive."

Rand played in LA club band Wolfgang in the 1970s, and formed Autograph in Pasadena in 1984 with guitarist Steve Lynch, frontman Steve Plunkett, keyboardist Steven Isham and drummer Keni Richards. A friendship with David Lee Roth led to Autograph playing their first live shows as support to Van Halen, still unsigned, and the meteoric beginning was confirmed after Turn Up The Radio, the first single from debut album Sign In Please, became a hit on MTV. 

The band spilt after two further albums, without ever approaching the success of Turn Up The Radio.  

"Grunge came in and us hair bands couldn’t get a gig anywhere," Rand told Classic Rock in 2015. "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."

Autograph reformed in 2013, and a reconfigured lineup – Isham had died in 2008, singer Plunkett had chosen not to be part of the reformation, and Richards left in 2014 – went on to release the Louder EP in 2016, and an album, Get Off Your Ass, the following year.

Away from the band, Rand learned leather crafting, and owned a business called Randy Rand Leather Inc. He was also a partner in Woof Wear, a company that made collars and leads for dogs.

Guitarist Lynch left in 2019, leaving Rand as the sole founding member. The band were still active, with Autograph due to play with Ratt's Stephen Pearcy and Quiet Riot in September.

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

No cause of death has been confirmed. Original Autograph drummer Keni Richards died in 2017.

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 37 years in music industry, online for 24. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.