The Shins Neal Langford
The Shins in 2001 | Photo by David Ondrik

The Shins’ Founding Bass Player Neal Langford Has Died

Neal Langford, founding bassist of The Shins, has died at age 50. The news was announced by the band’s frontman James Mercer, who penned a tribute to Langford on Instagram last Friday and called him “a very important figure” in his life.

“Just want to let you guys know one of the best friends I’ve ever had has passed,” Mercer wrote. “He was in several bands with me including the Shins… I mean this is the guy who talked me into getting over my shyness and up on the stage. He put me in front of the microphone!”

Bassist Neal Langford Has Died At Age 50

Mercer goes on to write that Langford introduced him to Dinosaur Jr., the Cocteau Twins, Interview Magazine and “countless other piles of cool stuff”.

“He would pick me up in his stepdad’s El Camino and we’d listen to his latest mixtape,” Mercer continued. “With our swerve on. Driving when we probably shouldn’t have been. Where we shouldn’t have been. We were like that. A long time ago. There’s too much to the story but I loved him. And I owe him a lot. Neal Langford you were always loved and you always will be.”

No cause of death has been revealed.

Langford and Mercer started playing together in a band called Flake back in 1992, which would eventually morph into The Shins; debut EP Nature Bears A Vacuum arrived in 1999, and the band’s celebrated debut album Oh, Inverted World! would come along in 2001.

Langford played on Oh, Inverted World! but wouldn’t continue in the band for much longer, departing before The Shins’ second album, Chutes Too Narrow, which came out in 2003.

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