Neil Lasher, who became best known as an intervention specialist in the 2010s after decades in the music industry, has died from coronavirus complications. He was 73.
“Neil was a kind and gentle soul who cared deeply about his friends as well as total strangers,” Jason Flom, who has headed up several record labels and now leads Lava Publishing, wrote on Instagram. “Rest in peace my friend, you are gone but not forgotten.”
According to a report in AllAccess, Lasher had been admitted to a Connecticut hospital with a COVID-19 diagnosis nearly two weeks ago and spent nine days on a ventilator.
“I wish to extend my deepest sympathies to Neil’s family and friends, which include many of us at Sony/ATV mourning this devastating loss,” said Jon Platt, chairman-CEO of Sony/ATV Music Publishing, in a statement. Lasher had worked as a consultant for Sony/ATV in his later years. “His passionate work as a music executive led him to his true purpose, helping others, and we are forever grateful for Neil and his legacy.”
Jacob Fain, senior VP of A&R artist development at Sony/ATV, paid tribute to Lasher on social media. “I had the pleasure of working with Neil for over a decade and our work together on MusiCares was some of my most memorable together,” wrote Fain on Instagram. “A true music man from every fiber, Neil lived and breathed a passion for our business that few have and his respect for songwriters and artists ran deep. He was a loving partner and a friend to all he met. Those who had the pleasure of knowing him were all the better for it. Our world will be forever changed by this virus, but we will return to normal soon enough. However, as we do, there will be one thing missing. Uncle Neil won’t be here.”
In 2012, Lasher was one of the honorees at the eighth annual MusiCares MAP Fund benefit concert (receiving a tribute alongside Alice in Chains’ Jerry Cantrell) after he had become a certified alcoholism and substance abuse counselor. Sober for a quarter-century at that point, he was active in creating alcohol and substance abuse programs for those in the music industry, and served as a consultant for MusiCares and its Safe Harbor Room program.
“Neil has built an extraordinary career spanning more than 30 years in the music industry, and a parallel career in the field of substance abuse where his name has become synonymous with recovery and survival,” Neil Portnow, then the president-CEO of the Recording Academy and MusiCares, said prior to the 2012 honor for Lasher.
“I’ve been very fortunate to have two rewarding careers — one in the music industry and one in the field of addiction recovery,” Lasher said at the time. “I’ve made countless friends in both, and have wonderful memories spanning many years. And because I’ve seen the ravages of addiction take their toll on artists, crew members, myself, and others who work in the music business, I’ve been a supporter of the MusiCares MAP Fund from the very beginning.”
With more than three decades of experience in the music industry, Lasher had gone on from being a disc jockey and radio promotion executive to focusing on the publishing side. In his later years he was a senior consultant for Sony/ATV Music Publishing in New York. He also served as VP of promotion, marketing and artist relations at EMI Music Publishing.