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Biography

Party Rock band from Los Angeles who had the distinction of opening up for VAN HALEN on their '1984' tour without even being signed, let alone having a record in the stores. The band got the gig thanks to drummer Keni Richards being a buddy of then VAN HALEN frontman DAVID LEE ROTH. Richards had worked with frontman Steve Plunkett in a band called JOHN DOE a few years prior to the formation of AUTOGRAPH. Plunkett had also played with guitarist Steve Lynch in LOOKER and former COLD STEAL, SILVERHILL and MASTERS OF THE AIRWAVES man Randy Rand (real name Randy Schuchart) in the eternal Los Angeles club band WOLFGANG.

Whilst Rand went on tour with LITA FORD, Plunkett joined AOR band SILVER CONDOR with whom he recorded 1983's 'Trouble At Home' album on Epic Records. Since working with Plunkett, Keni Richards in the meantime had recorded with THE COUP. Steven Isham, a friend of Plunkett's, had previous recording experience playing keyboards for HOLLY PENFIELD.

Originally planned as a solo project by Plunkett, the assembled musicians quickly gelled on the demos they recorded together. These tracks comprised 'Deep End', 'Friday', 'In The Night' and 'Send Her To Me'. On the advice of producer Andy Johns, who Plunkett had met during his time with SILVER CONDOR, they recut the tracks at the Record Plant in Los Angeles, with Andy Johns at the helm. AUTOGRAPH, the band title chosen by Plunkett due to its similarity to he huge DEF LEPPARD hit song 'Photograph', then found themselves on the VAN HALEN tour. The band had to beg, steal and borrow the money to organize equipment, a crew and a truck to drive from Los Angeles to Jacksonville, Florida to open up at the first show of the tour on 18th January 1984, in front of some 12'000 people.

The group was christened AUTOGRAPH by mutual agreement over the second choice of KRAKATOA, the band title being chosen by Plunkett due to its similarity to he huge DEF LEPPARD hit song 'Photograph'. New manager Suzy Frank shopped the Andy Johns produced tape to the labels. After the quintet's performance at the VAN HALEN gig at New York's infamous Madison Square Gardens, they were signed to RCA in the dressing room after the gig by label vice president Jose Menendez.

Leaving the VAN HALEN tour to return to Los Angeles in order to record their debut album, the band found itself set to work with producer Neil Kernon. As irony would have it, the last song written for the record, 'Turn Up The Radio', would remain forever the band's signature tune as well as their biggest ever hit, although, amusingly, RCA Records would be fairly cold toward the song initially.

The album, titled 'Sign In Please', took a while to grow on the American public, however. Released in October 1984, it didn't make any impression on the album charts until January 1985 and went gold in April of that year, thanks to US radio really going to town on 'Turn Up The Radio', which eventually reached Number 28 in the Billboard singles chart.

As AUTOGRAPH's profile grew the pick of the support slots came thick and fast, including MÖTLEY CRÜE's 'Theatre Of Pain' tour and HEART's 1986 American trek with Plunkett and co supporting second album 'That's The Stuff. The second pressing of which featured the band's patriotic cover of GRAND FUNK RAILROAD's '(We're An) American Band.

band's popularity also ensured them a few inclusions on movie soundtracks around this time, including 'Fright Night', 'Young Blood', 'Secret Admirer' and 'River Rat'

Whilst 'That's The Stuff' failed to set the charts alight in the same manner as the debut album, RCA were happy to let the band bring in Andy Johns for third album 'Loud And Clear'. The album showed a greater understanding of melody, featured a smoother direction and a selection of songs that combined to make many an observer agree that the third time was indeed the charm.

Playing a star studded Los Angeles gig to launch the album, under the guise of THE PARTY NINJAS, AUTOGRAPH chose to go with the title track as the first video, roping in MÖTLEY CRÜE vocalist Vince Neil and OZZY OSBOURNE to make cameo appearances.

However, RCA failed to get behind the album and despite rumours of a switch to Geffen being on the cards AUTOGRAPH slowly began to realize that the life span of the band was coming to an end, despite a promising set of demos recorded in 1988. Steve Isham had left the group as AUTOGRAPH attempted to pursue a heavier sound without the requirement for keyboard embellishment, although he continued to write with Steve Plunkett.

The band split in 1989, Plunkett and Co feeling that there was really little left to achieve as a unit and eager to pursue other projects. Richards became a founding member of DIRTY WHITE BOY with ex GIUFFRIA vocalist DAVID GLEN EISLEY before having to retire from active musical service due to a chronic back problem that had plagued him for many years. Isham worked with another former GIUFFRIA member, guitarist Craig Goldy and later toured with VINCE NEIL. Steve Lynch became a representative for the Crate amplification company and has a solo album in the can, which remains unreleased. Randy Rand quit music to pursue a career in the leather goods industry and currently makes items for the Harley Davidson Motorcycle Company. Plunkett developed a solo career for himself (releasing the 'My Attitude' album on the Quality label in 1991) in addition to songwriting and production work for Los Angeles based All Nations Music. Amongst the credits post AUTOGRAPH, Plunkett can boast the VIXEN hit 'How Much Love' and' production work on a variety of albums and demos, including New Jersey outfit SIC VIKKI and demo tapes by ex KENSINGTON PARK frontwoman JACKIE EYNON.

In 1997 the German label USG Records persuaded Plunkett to put together an album of unreleased AUTOGRAPH material entitled 'Missing Pieces'. The resulting CD amazed fans with its incredibly high standard and contains the original, demo version of 'Turn Up The Radio' as well as the AUTOGRAPH version of 'Angel In Black', a song never previously released by the band but covered later by ex-ACCEPT vocalist David Reece in BANGALORE CHOIR.

Plunkett later put together a new band, WINSLOW LIEGE with the bassist and drummer who recorded ALANIS MORISSETTE's 'Jagged Little Pill' album, Lance Morrison and Matt Laug respectively. However, it was revealed in October of 2002 that Plunkett had resurrected the AUTOGRAPH name and signed to German Point Music label for a new studio album. His band members for this record comprised Morrison, Laug and guitarist T.J. Helmerich.

A stripped down acoustic version of 'Turn Up The Radio' was contributed to the 'VH1 Metal Mania Stripped Volume 3' compilation album issued through Sidewinder Music in March 2007.

Steve Isham passed away on 9th December 2008 following a long fight with liver cancer. He was 56.

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