Autograph were “bombarded” with guitarists who wanted to audition including Jimi Bell
Autograph frontman Simon Daniels was recently interviewed by Rockin’ Interviews and he spoke about new guitarist Jimi Bell joining the band earlier this year.
Daniels indicated (with slight edits): “We were bombarded by guitar players wanting to audition, but we didn’t want to go through the process of auditioning tons of people we didn’t know. When Jimi read that Steve left the band, he immediately
contacted original and founding member Randy Rand asking us for an audition. That kind of enthusiasm was very appealing to us. I had already known Jimi for years. He would always come see us play at Mohegan Sun in CT. He asked us to send him three songs. Then a week later he asked for more songs. We flew him to LA and once we got together and played It was immediately clear that he was a perfect fit.”
In terms of when he moved to L.A. and eventually became Autograph‘s frontman, Daniels stated: “I had already had two albums released by major labels, songs in soap operas, touring experience and media coverage where I came from Rio, Brazil, but things were very limited and I felt that I ran my course at the time. I had an opportunity to come to Los Angeles in 1985. I found a manager and within three months I was in my first LA band — Agent X. Kim Fowley, the producer of The Runaways, who also was a writer with songs on KISS albums, got involved with us and introduced me to the L.A. rock scene. Time went by and a band called Rough Cutt was looking for a singer so they approached me and I said, why don’t we merge together and call it Jailhouse. We signed to Enigma Records, but not too long after Enigma was let go by its mother label Capitol Records and the band dispersed. Then, in the mid-’90s, I formed a band called Flood that ended being signed to Interscope Records and we made an album, produced by Bob Marlette and Terry Date.
The music world was having major changes so I decided to make an album by myself writing all the songs and playing all the instruments. It’s called Human Being. I just didn’t want to depend or wait for other musicians anymore. I would basically lock myself in a room playing different instruments all day. This CD was released independently and created a very strong buzz. It was played a lot on college radio and it charted quite well. In 2013, the band Jailhouse was invited to do a fun reunion on the Monsters of Rock Cruise. So I went and two months later I was approached by two original members of the band Autograph. Autograph hadn’t been active since the late ’80s. We talked and I said I’d love to do it, but I was not interested in being a carbon copy of their old singer. They said ‘Well, we didn’t want to repeat the past anyway. We wanted to move into something more current, gain new fans and bring the old ones with us.’ Sometimes people forget that no one is who they were 33 years ago [laughs]. So we started writing, got in the studio put out an EP called Louder and later on made the full album Get Off Your Ass, which was released by Megadeth‘s David Ellefson‘s EMP Label Group. A heavier sound, but as melodic and with similar approach to the vocal harmonies.”
You can read the rest of the interview with Simon Daniels at Rockin’ Interviews‘ website.