Gary James' Interview With
Steve "Plunk" Plunkett of
What a year 1985 was for RCA recording artists Autograph. Their album "Sign In Please" produced the hit single "Turn Up The Radio". That album sold 800,000 copies. The following year, the group released a follow-up album, "That's The Stuff".
Steve "Plunk" Plunkett talked with us about his group way back in 1986.
Q - You guys really had a big year in 1985. Steve, what's it like to be a Rock 'n' Roll star?
A - (laughs) I don't know. I'll tell you when I get there. Actually, you're right, '85 was a great year for us. It's like it's supposed to be I guess. We've been lucky. We've been able to sell records. We've been able to get on some great tours and play for a lot of people. You know, that's what you shoot for. We all felt very happy with 1985 and very lucky as well.
Q - What changes when you have a hit record?
A - I've noticed a lot of people you used to know come out of the woodwork, people who you might have just had an acquaintance with start to show up a little more often. Things like that. I guess it's easier to be popular when you're successful.
Q - Did you expect the album to take off like it did?
A - No, not at all. You never really expect a first album to be a big success. You hope, but you don't expect it. We were real shocked that our first album did as well as it did. It hit us all by surprise.
Q - Your trademark has become the jacket you wear with the military medals on it. How did you hit upon that idea?
A - I consider Rock 'n' Roll very similar to the army. You can join up for a long time for no money and you work your butt off. So, I just decided a long time ago I would start awarding myself some medals. In the process I started getting some Vietnam medals. I kind of wear those as a tribute to all the great musicians and artists who didn't make it out of Vietnam that probably could've been great.
Q - Autograph co-produced this album. Does that mean every guy in the group had a say about each track on the album?
A - When we got ready to start the album, we brought in all the material that everyone had written. We bring it in a raw stage and everybody puts in what they want. We do a lot of writing as a group as well, in rehearsal. So, we do the arrangements ourselves that way. Then we go into the studio. Everybody pretty much has an area they work with. Each person kind of produces his own parts as they go down.
Q - When you walk down the street, do people ever shout things to you like "get a haircut"?
A - Not really. I never walk down the street alone, unless I'm at home in Los Angeles. When I'm out of town, I've always got someone with me which is usually a bodyguard. The only things people usually say to me is "Turn It Up". Usually good stuff.
Q - How did you come up with "Turn Up The Radio"?
A - We were sitting around jamming at rehearsal one day and just kind of out of the blue we started playing that riff. We worked with it a little bit more and I'd say in a couple of hours we had the music down. I had it on tape and the next day I was just sitting down, drinking a cup of coffee, thinking of lyrics and that phrase just came into my head. I was thinking about driving down the street, feeling good, Summertime, Californian and a good song comes on the radio. You want to turn it up!