Peter Asher’s name might not be in your mental database, but if you attended his interview with Kevin Bowe at DIY you can now add his name to your list of “Seminal People in Pop/Rock History That I Have Met.”
If you missed his recent visit, you can still see a video here on IPR’s YouTube Channel, IPRMediaArts:
If you have not quite conceptualized that list, his name is a pretty impressive start. Why? The guy shared his room with Paul McCartney (who was dating his sister) for two years at the Asher family residence. He was already singing in coffee shops with Gordon Waller when Paul tossed him a Beatle throw-away “World Without Love” which catapulted Peter & Gordon to #1 hit pop status. Besides Paul McCartney, Mr. Asher has his own amazing list of “Who’s Who” to tout. But he’s humble. His talk was not so much an interview as simply hanging with a guy who has amazing stories and a bit of advice. It was thrilling to hear his stories from his vast career.
Peter’s name has appeared in so many biographies and auto-biographies and he told so many stories about meeting this person and that person, being involved in this project and that project, he is like the incarnation of Six Degrees of Separation meets Zelig. I have a solid respect for the Southern California/Laurel Canyon scene of the early ‘70s, and dang nabbit, if Peter Asher wasn’t there, too! He discovered James Taylor while working as director of A&R at Apple Records, left the company to manage James, and produced Linda Ronstadt’s critically acclaimed album “Heart Like A Wheel.” With shame and embarrassment, I will confess that just when I was beginning to think he toured to make some bucks, he started regaling us with how he sang on a track that he co-wrote with Dave Stewart for the hit movie Madagascar III. Yes! He’s still got it, baby!
Some stars, with all this cred, might need a little reality check. But one of the more endearing moments during the interview was his sharing of how, after decades of hobnobbing with some of the music industry’s elite, he could still be star-struck: “…even hearing a message on the answering machine from Elton makes one say, “holy [expletive deleted]!”
When music nerds get older, they typically cling to the music genre that drew them into biz and view most music that followed with disdain, but Mr. Asher’s reverence to current pop and rock is clear. He admits being a fan of Bruno Mars’ producing style, Taylor Swifts cred as song-writing and Ed Sheeran’s live performance. His open-mindedness is a testament to just how cool this guy is. As a member of IPR I was proud that Kevin Bowe brought him to our school. As a fan of music, it was a thrill to be in the same room, hear his stories and add his name to my list.
Check out a small photo-gallery from his visit (if you are unable to see the gallery, visit our Flickr to see the set):