Sad news to report on one of rock and metal’s most talented and underrated bassists. Randy Coven, who toured, recorded and jammed with legendary musicians such as Yngwie Malmsteen, Zakk Wylde and Steve Vai, passed away on May 20 at the age of 54. As of this posting, Coven’s cause of death is undisclosed.
You may be unfamiliar with Randy Coven, but the bassist’s resume was quite impressive. Specializing in neoclassical and heavy metal styles, Coven enjoyed a long career manning the four-string. While studying at the esteemed Berklee College of Music, Coven was roommates with iconic guitarist Steve Vai, leading to a lifelong friendship between the two.
Randy Coven lent his talents to a multitude of bands, recording six studio albums with New York heavy metal act Holy Mother. Coven continued to juggle multiple bands, performing with Ark, MCM and the Randy Coven Band. The Randy Coven Band’s debut album, ‘Funk Me Tender’, features a guest appearance from Steve Vai, while Coven’s sophomore album, ‘Sammy Says Ouch!’, utilized the power of Alice Cooper/Megadeth guitarist Al Pitrelli. Guitar god Zakk Wylde also collaborated with Randy Coven, providing guest guitar on C.P.R.’s sole full length, ‘Coven • Pitrelli • Reilly’.
Coven’s most high-profile position was with Yngwie Malmsteen, acting as the guitar virtuoso’s bassist from 1999-2000 and once again from 2000-2001. Coven’s playing can be heard in Malmsteen’s 2009 DVD ‘Live in Korea.’ The show was recorded in 2001, right at the tail end of the bassist’s tenure with Malmsteen.