Bass Guitar Virtuoso Randy Coven Has Died

Posted by Michael Mueller on May 21, 2014 at 3:27 PM

Bassist Randy Coven, who emerged as one of the most technically accomplished players of the '80s, passed away on Tuesday May 20, 2014.

Hailing from Long Island, New York, Coven began his career playing in local cover bands while still in high school. After graduation, he attended the Berklee College of Music, in Boston, where fellow Long Islander Steve Vai had also enrolled. The two played together briefly, writing several tunes that would later appear on their own solo albums.

In the mid-1980s, Coven formed a trio called the Randy Coven Band, which released its debut album, Funk Me Tender, in 1985, featuring a guest spot from Vai. Soon afterward, Coven was signed to Guitar Recordings, an offshoot of the highly popular magazine Guitar For the Practicing Musician. Coven released two albums on the label: Sammy Says Ouch! and C.P.R., the latter featuring guitarist Al Pitrelli and drummer John Reilly, plus a host of special guests including Zakk Wylde, Vito Bratta, and Steve Morse.

"Randy was a character filled with humor and energy," recalls John Stix, former editor of GPM and founder of Guitar Recordings. "His composition 'Tree,' from Funk Me Tender, remains one of the finest bass lead songs ever—pure melody and great feel."

Later in his career, Coven would pair up with Leslie West for a stint in Mountain, and then with Yngwie Malmsteen, for 1999's Alchemy.

In 2000, Coven released a compilation called The Best of Randy Coven, and then in 2002 released his final solo record, Witch Way.

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