Autograph was an American heavy metal band formed in L.A. in 1983. They were together and toured until 1989. Autograph had a reunion in 2003 by its founder, Steve Plunkett for a single album called ‘Buzz.’
- Steve Plunkett – Lead Vocals & Rhythm Guitar
- Steve Lynch – Lead Guitars
- Randy Rand – Bass
- Keni Richards – Drums
- Steve Isham – Keyboards
"BUZZ" Line Up(EDIT)
- Steve Plunkett – Lead Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards
- T.J. Helmerich – Guitars
- Lance Morrison – Bass
- Matt Laug – Drums
- Sign In Please – 1984
- That’s The Stuff – 1985
- Loud and Clear – 1987
- Missing Pieces – 1997
- Buzz – 2003
- More Missing Pieces – 2003
Autograph was an American heavy metal band formed in L.A. in 1983. They were together and toured until 1989. Autograph had a reunion in 2003 by its founder, Steve Plunkett for a single album called ‘Buzz.’ They are currently inactive again.
Autograph began in 1983 as a solo project for Steve Plunkett, also known as ‘Plunk.’ He had just left the band Silver Condor, due to his anger with their lack of interest in recording his songs. Plunkett began playing and recording his own material with a group of friends, with most of them being previous band mates.
Playing lead guitar was Steve Lynch, who played guitar with Plunkett in a band called Looker. Steve Lynch is known as the two-handed guitarist because of his unique two-handed, fretboard-tapping technique. That technique eventually won him the “Guitar Solo of the Year” from ‘Guitar Player’ magazine from Autograph’s signature song “Turn Up The Radio.”
The bassist Randy Rand knew Steve Plunkett from their days together playing in a club band called ‘Wolfgang.’ The band was a local legend and Kevin DuBrow of Quiet Riot said “They smoked us all…They got better response than us and Van Halen.”
Steve Isham, the keyboard player and good friend of Plunkett’s, had earlier plated with Holly Penfield.
For the drum duties, Plunkett called on Keni Richards, his bandmate from ‘John Doe.’, whose friendship with Van Halen’s lead singer, David Lee Roth, got Autograph their big break.
Over time, this group of musicians recording together took the form of a band. Plunkett chose the name “Autograph” for the band. This name was inspired by hearing Def Leppard’s song “Photograph” on the radio.
Autograph recorded their first demos in late 1983, but gave copies of this demo to a few friends only. One of these friends, Andy Johns, a record producer, played their demo for David Lee Roth of Van Halen, who later invited them to open for Van Halen on their 1984 Tour.
The band rose to prominence as an opening act for Van Halen on their 1984 tour, an act of distinction for an unsigned band. Autograph signed a contract with RCA Records following a show at Madison Square Garden in 1984.
The band’s debut album, Sign In Please, was finished and released in October of 1984. It did not make an appearance on any record charts until January of 1985. This album contains the bands only major hit and signature song, “Turn Up The Radio.” According to Steve Lynch, the song ‘Turn Up The Radio’ wasn’t wrote until they were in the studio and almost didn’t make the album. THe song became a top-30 hit, pushing album sales past the gold mar of 500,000 copies sold. Later the album went platinum.
The band also recorded a song called “You Can’t Hide From The Beast Inside” for the film Fright Night.
Autograph’s second album, That’s The Stuff, was released in the fall of 1985. They went on tour in support of several other bands including Mötley Crüe and Heart. Although record sales were disappointing in comparison to “Sign In Please”, it still achieved gold status, supported by the single “Blondes In Black Cars” and the title track, That’s The Stuff, which was a minor hit. It eventually peaked at #92 on the Billboard album charts.
The band then recorded a song called “Winning Is Everything” for the film Youngblood.
The band remained with RCA to record their third album which took longer than the other two. Lound and Clear was released in the spring of 1987 and was produced by the band’s friend Andy Johns. The title song “Loud and Clear” featured a music video with Ozzy Osbourne and Vince Neil of Mötley Crüe as extras. The band also made three appearances on “Headbanger’s Ball” in 1987. in October of the same year the band made a cameo appearance in the Dudley Moore and Kirk Cameron movie “Like Father, Like Son”, about a father and song switching bodies. The first song featured was “Dance All Night.” But the song they were prominently shown performing was “She Never Looked That Good For Me.” Both of these songs are from the “Loud and Clear” album. Both of these singles were released but the album was not a big success due to poor support from RCA.
The band left RCA in early 1988 due to poor support and not long after RCA coincidentally went defunct anyway. Steve Isham left the band to pursue other options but wasn’t replaced , as the band wanted to pursue a heavier direction. The remaining members soon began recording a new album in 1988 to 1989, which they all hoped to release between October of 1989 and January of 1990. The band would eventually find a new deal with Epic in 1989, but it fell through at the last minute, and the band members called it quits soon after. The recordings for this album would later find the light of day on the “Missing Pieces” album.
Frontman Steve Plunkett recorded a solo album shortly after the breakup that eventually saw release in 1991. Drummer Keni Richards went on to work with the band Dirty White Boy. Keyboardist Steve Isham joined up with Gary Moon, who later replaced Jack Blades in Night Ranger, to form The Pack, and he later went on to tour with Vince Neil during is solo era. Lead guitarist, Steve Lynch formed another band called, Network 23.
Though the band disbanded, a few of their music videos from all three albums still played on channels such as MTV and Headbangers Ball. The most played music video was “Turn Up The Radio.” As the genre of Hair / Glam Metal was still popular, every now and then a video from Sign In Please, and That’s The Stuff, would appear on MTV. While the heavier album, Loud and Clear, mostly appeared on Headbangers Ball between 1988 and 1990. But with the explosion of grunge in 1991-1992, old videos from the Hair / Glam Metal genre were ignored to play the new style of rock music. Thanks to the new channels such as VH1 Classic, several classic Autograph music videos can be seen again on TV today.
In 1997, Steve Plunkett released “Missing Pieces”, an album of previously unreleased Autograph from the unreleased album in 1988-1989. Also included was a demo of the song ‘Turn Up The Radio’ recorded in 1984 prior to their debut album. This demo is not quite as heavy and upbeat and has some lyrical changes. This album was well received from the fans.
Steve Plunkett would resurrect the name Autograph with a whole new lineup, v. 2.02, in 2002. The new Autograph would release an album called “Buzz” the following spring.
After the original breakup of Autograph in 1989, Plunkett became a staff writer from All Nations Music, where he had over 170 of his songs released, including over 40 on movie soundtracks such as Rock Star and Gods and Monsters. Many musicians have recorded his songs including the bands Vixen, The Go-Gos, and Marc Anthony. He has also produced artists such as Cyndi Lauper, Loretta Lynn, and Graham Nash. Plunkett wrote and performed the theme song for the television show 7th Heaven, as well as several other theme songs for shows such as Summerlan and Kojak. He still worked on music based projects under the umbrella of Spencer Proffer’s music and media company, Meteor17, in Los Angeles.
Original lead guitarist Steve Lynch has now been a guitar teacher for a while, schooling students in his signature 8-finger “hammer-on” guitar technique. He has also published several books on his guitar style.
Bassist Randy Rand began a career in leathermaking. His started a sop that sells his own hand-crafted leather products and even working for Harley Davidson for a while.
Drummer Keni Richards later left the music business due to a chronic back problem he has had for several years, and since been pursuing his passion for art.
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