The band Autograph was (and still is, with new music in 2017) a heavy metal band with glam-rock style (aka Hair Metal), whose primary recording days were from 1983 to 1988. The main musical influences for the group were Def Leppard, Van Halen, and AC/DC. Steve Plunkett formed the band initially as a solo act. Check out Autograph’s big hair, glam rock threads, electric, totally high voltage stage presence. Hell yeah, man. Lead guitar was Steve Lynch (not to be confused with George Lynch of Dokken); Steve was one of the pioneers of the fret-tapping, two- handed technique. According to Guitar Player magazine (August 1985), “the solo in ‘Turn Up the Radio’ epitomizes Steve Lynch’s right-hand hammering technique.” The rest of the band: Randy Rand on bass; Rand knew Plunkett as a friend from Pasadena, California, as they were in a band prior to Autograph called Wolfgang. Steven Isham was on keyboards, and Keni Richards on drums. It was Richards’ friendship with David Lee Roth of Van Halen that gave Autograph their break into the rock music business, after Roth invited Autograph to open for Van Halen on VH’s well-known 1984 tour, doing 48 shows. After that, Autograph was signed to a record deal with RCA. It was also the record label RCA that, according to Plunkett, abandoned the band after the third album with the arrival of the West Coast grunge scene.
Autograph’s debut album Sign In Please, was way ahead of its time. The robotic theme resonates today, and of course, they did it better! Sign in Please contains their main hit, “Turn Up the Radio,” and although the band did not love the song at first, it propelled their first album to gold status (over 500,000 copies). BTW have you ever noticed how bands and singers today don’t tout their “Gold Record” or “Platinum Record” status?? That’s because they don’t have those kind of sales to match! So that proves how amazing and unparalleled the 80s music scene was. The second album, That’s the Stuff, came close to gold status, containing the hits “Blondes in Black Cars” and the title track. The band’s third album, Loud and Clear, featured three appearances by Autograph on the iconic Headbangers Ball.
Man, all you have to do is watch the electric, high-energy performance on the video for “Blondes in Black Cars” to then ask your self (as you sit stunned at the unbelievable talent) “Why don’t they have bands like this TODAY?” well, they don’t, its all corporate, mind-control trash, so revel in what real rock bands were like! Get out there and support the Glam Metal music scene! Hair metal forever!
Now here are the updates to the original band members of Autograph, some of it tragic:
- Steve Plunkett went onto become a prolific song-writer and record producer for television, movies, and well-known music artists
- Steve Lynch founded a music school in Seattle, and conducted 325 guitar clinics in 18 countries worldwide. The school is still in operation today.
- Randy Rand owns an international leather-making export/import company. His daughter is a famous model in Italy.
- Keni Richards joined the band Dirty White Boy after Autograph disbanded when they lost the support from RCA. Richards was reportedly murdered on April 8, 2017 due to drugs (heroin).
- Steve Isham was in Night Ranger and Vince Neil’s solo band. Isham died of liver cancer in 2008.
- Autograph released the album Get Off Your Ass with Steve Lynch, but missing Steve Plunkett, but Plunkett gave the green light “go ahead” for the project without him.
Super-loyal Glam Rock Fans of GlamRockStar blog, we will always post part of one of the featured band member’s interviews, so you can hear “from the horse’s mouth” as it were. The following is from a 2003 interview with Steve Plunkett on www.RockUnited.com. The interviewer references Plunkett’s album (of the same year) Buzz.
Rock United: “The music scene has changed a lot since 1989, do you think that Autograph can still fit in that scene, or maybe fill up a gap?”
Steve: “I am a realist and I know how the music scene has changed. We don’t stand a chance, ha ha……I think that there still is a certain in-crowd that listen to our “sort” of music, but the majority does not, and that’s okay by the way. Here in the US if you listen to the radio you hear bands like Nickelback, Creed or Audioslave and I really love their music, but there is no way that Autograph will be played on any major radio station. I know that the scene in Europe and Japan is quite different; there they still play Def Leppard and that sort of stuff. That is also the reason why we are with Point Music, to promote our stuff in Europe and Japan, as much as possible. I even have hopes that we can do a small European tour with Autograph. We never played in Europe or Japan, so it is about time….”
Rock United: “How were the reviews/reactions to “Buzz”?”
Steve: “I am shocked to say that they were surprisingly good, ha ha. I was a little worried that it would be labelled as crap from the eighties, but most of the reactions were excellent.”
Rock United: “The Leppard-influence is still very dominant, isn’t it?”
Steve: “Yes, of course because they are still one of my favourite bands and therefore they influence me in writing my own material. My other influences from bands that I admire are obviously Van Halen and AC/DC.”
Rock United: “The song “Fed Up With Bein’ Down” is a sort of settlement with the people who led you down in the music business?”
Steve: “No, absolutely not, that’s a wrong interpretation; No, it’s just a reflection on a certain period in my life, that’s all.”
Rock United: “Do you sometimes use politics as an idea for a song?”
Steve: “Never, I think politics and music together are not my scene.”
Disclaimer: the photo above is never an endorsement for MTV just to show the headline for the Headbangers Ball. MTV has no music, and is just trash TV today. -Editor