Neal Langford of the Shins Has Died

He also played in the pre-Shins project Flake Music

Photo via @theshins on Instagram

BY Alex HudsonPublished Jul 28, 2023

Neal Langford, the bassist for the Shins during the band's early period, has died.

In a post on the Shins' Instagram account, band leader James Mercer paid tribute to Langford, calling him "one of the best friends I've ever had." He credited Langford with encouraging him into "getting over my shyness and up on the stage. He put me in front of the microphone!"

UPDATE (7/29, 10:30 a.m. ET): A news report from WITN/NBC [via Pitchfork], which was published July 21, notes that Langford was found in Bath Creek. His body was in the water close to a private dock near where he lived in Bath, NC. An investigation into his death is underway, but police don't suspect foul play. The report refers to him as a balloonist, and doesn't mention his earlier work as a musician. He was 50.

Prior to the Shins, Langford and Mercer played together in the project Flake Music. After Flake Music disbanded, Langford joined the Shins. He was only a member for a couple of years, but in that time played on 2001's debut album Oh, Inverted World. That album contains the notable cuts "New Slang" and "Caring Is Creepy."

Langford subsequently played in the Albuquerque band Sad Baby Wolf. In more recent years, he ran a company offering hot air balloon rides. Speaking with WRAL about hot air balloons in 2021, he said, "It's very peaceful, very quiet in the air. You get a different perspective."

Langford's final post on Instagram was last month, when he posted a certificate confirming he had completed a treatment program at Walter B. Jones Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment Center in Greenville, NC.

Read Mercer's tribute to Langford below.

A post shared by The Shins (@theshins)

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