Autopilot Off is a punk rock band from Orange County, New York composed of Chris Hughes (guitar), Chris Johnson (guitar/vocals), Phil Robinson (drums) and Rob Kucharek (bass).
In May 2011, a Facebook page titled "Autopilot Off (Official)" was created, with an image of the band's name and the words "TwoThousandEleven" being uploaded soon after. This had led to speculation of a possible reunion, nearly six years after they announced their hiatus. Autopilot Off confirmed that they were working on new material on June 20, on their official Facebook page.
Autopilot Off formed in 1996 under the name Cooter. They slowly gained popularity by doing live shows throughout the 90s while sharing the stage with more popular bands such as MxPx, Goldfinger, Sum 41, Yellowcard and H2O. They eventually recorded their first full-length album, Looking Up. In 2000 the band was involved in a bitter lawsuit with the Mississippi punk rock band The Cooters, who own the trademark to the name Cooter. The New York band settled out of court in 2002, and changed their name to Autopilot Off. However, Autopilot Off's record label Fastmusic, took the lawsuit all the way to Federal Court and lost to the Mississippi band. Autopilot Off then signed with their major label, Island Records shortly afterwards. After this they released their eponymous debut EP in the spring of 2002.
In 2004, under their new name Autopilot Off, they released their major debut album, Make a Sound. This included the single "What I Want", which was co-written by Rancid's Tim Armstrong.
On August 26, 2005, the band decided to go on an indefinite hiatus and released the following statement on their official website:
We've decided to take an indefinite break from Autopilot Off. It has been nearly 10 years since the band started, and it has been full speed ahead for the majority of that time. We have all decided to take some time for our lives outside of the band. We are all still the best of friends. In addition to this we decided a few months back to leave our home of 4 years at Island Records. We apologize for leaving you all hanging for so long. Thank you so much for all the support and friendships that you all have given to us over the years. We could never have done it without you.
Since then, Chris Hughes has gone on to become a business manager (accountant) in the music industry.
Bassist Rob Kucharek has gone on to open American Icon Screen Printing which is an apparel screen printing company that serves many bands and the majority of the BMX industry on the East Coast.
In May 2011, a Facebook page titled "Autopilot Off (Official)" was created, with an image of the band's name and the words "TwoThousandEleven" being uploaded soon after. This had led to speculation of a possible reunion, nearly six years after they announced their hiatus.
On June 20, 2011 an update was posted on the band's Facebook page confirming that they were working on new material. "Our plan is to record our songs in batches and release them for free download as they are completed. This way, we can share new music with you in the most expedient fashion. When we have recorded enough material, we will compile some or all of it into a new album."
An update posted on August 17, 2012 to Facebook confirmed that the band were set to begin recording again, officially ending their seven-year hiatus.
As of December 2013, the band's Facebook page had had no updates since August 2012 relating to the band. It was unclear whether the progress of the new songs was ongoing or at a standstill. However, on April 2, 2014, it was announced via their Facebook page that two brand new songs entitled "Alcologic" and "When I Was Young" respectively, were being made available for free digital download.
The post read:
"The wait is over. Here is a link to two new songs that we are releasing for free download. This has been an ambitious project for us, encompassing the past several months. We handled all aspects of production ourselves, working on weekends and whenever our collective personal schedules would permit. It has taken a long time to generate anything finished, but it has been worth it to us to do our songs our way. We hope you enjoy them, and hope that we can complete more in the future." -Chris J, Chris H, Rob, and Phil
On April 3 it was announced via their Facebook page that the download attempts had exceeded the free download limit through the host website to the songs, and a direct link was provided alternatively for the download.
With the release of these songs, Autopilot Off has confirmed that although band activity is minimal, they intend to continue playing music together in the future.
On April 9, 2015, Autopilot Off released their third new track entitled "Lining Them Up".
Chris Johnson – lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Chris Hughes – lead guitar
Rob Kucharek – bass guitar, backing vocals
Phil Robinson – drumsLooking Up (2000)
Make a Sound (2004) No. 119 US
All Bets Off (EP) (1997)
Split w/Slick Shoes (2000)
Autopilot Off (EP, 2002)
Regenerator (EP) (2003, consisted of 4 cover songs from the band's favorite artists.)
"Make a Sound" was featured on Burnout 3: Takedown.
"Clockwork" featured on both SSX3 and NHL 2004.
"Chromatic Fades" featured in NASCAR Thunder 2004.
"What I Want" featured in Cars based on the film.
"Long Way to Fall" and "Indebted" featured in Project Gotham Racing 2.
"What I Want" featured in Test Drive: Eve of Destruction.
"Missing the Innocence" featured in Whirl Tour.
"The 12th Day" was featured in NoA: The Two Continents
"Nothing Frequency" was featured in the film Stealing Harvard
"Something for Everyone" was track No. 8 on the Orange County's New Punk compilation.
"Mrs Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter" (Herman's Hermits cover) was track No. 1 on the Oldies But Goodies cover compilation.
"Raise Your Rifles" was included on the Daredevil soundtrack, Daredevil: The Album.
"I'm Thinking" was released with many other punk bands on the Rock Against Bush compilation.
"Clockwork" was included in the Projekt Revolution Sample CD that was received for joining LPU 4.0.
"Long Way to Fall" was featured on the first Atticus: ...dragging the lake compilation.
"Nothing Frequency" was included on the 2002 Warped Tour Compilation and also appeared on the Stealing Harvard soundtrack.
A demo version of "Indebted" was included in the track No. 25 on the 2001 Warped Tour Compilation
"Long Way to Fall" was included on the Osiris Shoes Aftermath Tour 2002 Sampler.
"Full House" was included on the Serial Killer Compilation (Fearless Records) listed under the band's prior name of "Cooter".