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Articles Home » 1997 Articles » Autograph - 1997 Missing Pieces
Autograph - 1997 Missing Pieces

ARTIST: Autograph
ALBUM: Missing Pieces
LABEL: USG Records
SERIAL: 37651-422
YEAR: 1997


LINEUP: Steve Plunkett - vocals, guitar * Steve Lynch - lead guitar * Randy Rand - bass * Keni Richards - drums * Steven Isham - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 All Night Long * 02 Heartattack * 03 When I'm Gone * 04 I've Got You * 05 One Way Dead End Street * 06 Sanctuary * 07 Sweet Temptation * 08 Love Comes Easy * 09 Angel In Black (Demo) * 10 Turn Up The Radio (Demo) * 11 Angela

Autograph, beyond their first three studio releases for RCA, continued on despite being label-less. Finishing up with RCA in 1988, the band continued to write material, though were now reduced to a quartet with the departure of keyboardist Steve Isham. Wanting to pursue a heavier direction, they opted to keep keyboards out of the mix and produced a set of songs that would be used to showcase a potential new deal. Epic Records came knocking during 1989, but for some reason the deal had the pin pulled at the last moment, and from here the band threw in the towel. Later on in the 90's, Plunkett dragged some old and previously unreleased material from the 1988-89 era, and released it under the title 'Missing Pieces'. Isham provides keyboard parts on some of the songs when he was still in the band. Richards had also departed during this timeframe, being replaced by Eddie Cross. As an addendum, Euro label Point Music reissued this album in 2003 with the addition of seven extra tracks (including some reworkings of previously released material), the album title changed to 'More Missing Pieces'.

The Songs
First of all, these are mostly demos and as such, suffer in the production stakes. That's to be expected. If this was the direction the band were going in, then I can understand why Epic backed out of the deal. Steve Plunkett may be a great songwriter, but he is not in possession of a great vocal delivery system, and therein lies the problem with much of this material. A lot of it is good, and I (like most Autograph fans) would love to have seen these on an official release with the big production job to go with it. The opener 'All Night Long' is a stuttering affair with some Van Halen like parts. Not a great start unfortunately. 'Heart Attack' picks up the pace, but the sound on this one isn't great. For sure, it's trademark Autograph, but is not a touch on their classic material. 'When I'm Gone' is the closest Autograph come to their primetime era, 'I've Got You' could be a Blue Tears doppleganger due in part to the beefy drum work. 'One Way Dead End Street' is typical 80's fare, shuffling along in the vein of many bands operating in the same territory. 'Sanctuary' is poor by comparison, 'Sweet Temptation' touches on some Leppard like moments, but overall is fairly cliched. Much better is 'Love Comes Easy', some nice guitar melodies amid a patient build-up. For me, it's the best thing on the CD. Plunkett chucks in two demo versions of 'Angel In Black' and their most popular number 'Turn Up The Radio', albeit with a slightly different arrangement 'turn up the tape machine..' Completing the album is a track called 'Angela' featuring a big booming drum sound, pulsing bass lines and Steve Lynch's astounding guitar work.

In Summary
After Autograph jacked it in, Plunkett released a 1991 solo album called 'My Attitude', Richards went off to Dirty White Boy, hooking up with ex Giuffria singer David Glen Eisley. Lynch became a guitar teacher, while Isham would move onto other projects with Gary Moon and Vince Neil. Plunkett resurrected Autograph in 2002 with a completely new lineup for 2003's awful 'Buzz' album. He should've left the legacy intact, and in the words of one Steve Perry, 'don't crack the stone'..

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#1 | jeffrey343 on February 13 2012 03:48:32
There are a few killers here. Autograph had a knack for writing songs that really appeal to me, and Plunkett had a voice that, while not really conventional, worked quite well with the material. "When You're Gone" is my pick of this bunch - I'd love to hear that one done up right. "I've Got You", "Sweet Temptation", "Love Comes Easy", and "Angel In Black" would make half of a great fourth album. The other ones didn't do as much for me, although with good production, they might have impressed me more.

I kinda think Autograph didn't go away - they just changed their names and became Danger Danger. I didn't discover D2 until a few years ago, but I consider them to be Autograph 2.0.
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