Autograph guitarist and founding member Steve Lynch has lashed out at the group’s current members who have sued him for the rights the band’s name and trademark.
“Today I speak as a defendant to my own legacy in a lawsuit filed by Daniel Simoni (aka Simon Daniels) and Marc Wieland,” Lynch began in a long and detailed Facebook post explaining the situation. “The lawsuit claims that they are Autograph and the sole owners of the trademark which I have no rights to. After a 40-year career creating the band and the trademark, the absurdity of this claim defies reality and is beyond rational thinking, as well as the law.”
Autograph enjoyed success in the ’80s thanks to their hit song “Turn on the Radio.” And though fame came and left quickly for the group, they’ve enjoyed a resurgence as a legacy act in recent years. According to Lynch, Simoni and Wieland, who joined the band in 2013 and ’14, respectively, have sued to continue performing under the Autograph name, even though no original members remain in the lineup.
“We know that no matter who performs our songs, Autograph will always be the five original members who created those songs,” Lynch declared. “And those who cover them, are understood to be the musicians who play as a tribute band in our honor.”
Lynch, Simoni and Wieland were bandmates alongside Autograph’s original bassist, Randy Rand, from 2014 to 2019. Lynch left the revived hair metal group after “a flare up carpal tunnel [syndrome]” forced him to stop performing. He was replaced by Jimi Bell, who played with the band until the pandemic halted live music. In April 2022, Rand died, adding an unexpected wrinkle to Autograph’s plans.
“As Randy was hospitalized in a coma, I heard nothing from Simoni, Wieland or Bell,” Lynch noted in his Facebook post. “During this difficult time, I received many condolences from the other gracious members who played in the band and recorded with us as Autograph over the years, none ever made the ridiculous claim that the band was theirs.”
The remaining band members have continued performing as Autograph, even without any original members in the lineup — a fact Lynch described as a “sell out of the band name for money.” “A “no-sell-out” policy has always been our position, as the Autograph band agreement requires that an original member must be involved to continue,” he insisted. “This position was consistently communicated in conversations, emails and in the standard cease and desist letter.”
Lynch further accused Simoni and Wieland of “hijacking” the band’s name, describing their lawsuit as “frivolous and grasping.”
“The reality check is that these guys can NOT get the gigs or album opportunities on their own merits—they need to use what the original members created to appear relevant,” the guitarist asserted. “‘Desperate people do desperate things’ is an understatement.”
Now, the Autograph co-founder appears poised to face the band’s current lineup in court.
“Although a lawsuit was not welcomed, I will fully engage in this legal battle and the courts will offer a transparent record in this frivolous lawsuit to steal the legacy and its profits from the original owners,” Lynch declared.
Simoni and Wieland have not yet publicly commented on the lawsuit. Autograph’s new album, Beyond, arrived Nov. 18. Lynch was not involved in the LP, though Rand recorded his parts prior to his death.
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