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In Memoriam: Randy Coven

Randy Coven

Rock bassist Randy Coven, who toured and recorded with artists including Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai, passed away on May 20th of undisclosed causes. He was 54.

Born in Great Neck, New York, Coven was introduced to music at a young age. His parents fostered his love of music by taking him to the Beatles concert at Shea Stadium when he was just five years old, and from there his dream was to make music. He started on drums but switched to bass after feeling restricted behind the drum set. According to his biography on the Phil Brodie Band website, Jeff Berlin lived around the corner and overheard him working on a Stanley Clarke song.

“Jeff was actually a neighbor of mine, his younger brother Ross used to beat me up,” Coven admitted. “One day I was sitting in my room desperately trying to learn Vulcan Worlds by Stanley Clarke. My room had a door that opened into the backyard. Jeff was walking by and must of heard me trying to play this thing. He probably felt sorry for me, so he came in and took the time to really show me how this riff was played as well as writing it out on music paper. I couldn’t believe it! He also said he knew and had played with Stanley Clarke. I was blown away. This incident changed my life forever. I decided to go to Berklee to really learn music, especially because I couldn’t read music, and it took me the rest of the summer to learn the damn thing.”

Coven was roommates with guitarist Steve Vai at Berklee, leading to a lifetime friendship. Coven spent the next few years touring with the Canadian band Orpheus before returning to New York and forming his own band. Throughout the 80s and 90s, the bassist worked with musicians ranging from Leslie West to Yngwie Malmsteen to Holy Mother. His more recent projects included the band ARK, MCM, and continuing the Randy Coven Band.

Here’s the Randy Coven Band playing the song “Great Necks” on Canadian TV:

Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Randy Coven.