In the mid-2000s, after spending time as an executive at Sony Music, then taking on more high-profile management clients including Courtney Love and Pamela Anderson, Asher returned to the stage for the first time in 30 years, reuniting with Waller. The two performed until Waller’s death, in 2009, then he linked up with a fellow British Invasion vet, Jeremy Clyde, of Chad & Jeremy.
Mostly, though, he’s continued to produce — a series of soundtracks for the composer Hans Zimmer; tribute projects for Buddy Holly and Elton John; and albums for friends like Martin and Edie Brickell.
Asher’s current assignment, an as-yet-untitled solo record for the Bangles singer Susanna Hoffs, is a sophisticated song collection in the mold of his ’70 albums for Ronstadt. Nearly 60 years after he first set foot in the studio, Asher’s enthusiasm remains palpable. “On a day like today, when I know I’m going into the studio,” he said, “I wake up excited.”
Just two weeks after our conversation in Malibu, however, Asher woke up in the intensive care unit of Ronald Reagan U.C.L.A. Medical Center, following an emergency brain surgery. Over the summer, while in London, he had fallen and suffered a concussion. Doctors in Britain initially cleared him, but weeks later, he began experience disquieting symptoms, including difficulty walking and playing guitar. Asher had just completed a second brain scan in early October, and was on his way home when the doctors called in a panic.
“They said, ‘Turn right back around, you are in surgery as soon as you get here,’” said Asher, who was suffering a massive brain bleed and in critical danger. “They had to drill a few holes in my head.”
Surviving a near-death experience left Asher unfazed. “I’m not one of those people whose own mortality suddenly dawned on them — it’s never been any question,” he said. “As the son of a doctor, I suppose I took some refuge in being fascinated by the science of it all. Though I wish I had not been the subject of this particular experiment.”
The extended recovery time did force Asher to take a rare break, during which he finally began reading David Jacks’s biography of him in full. “I did,” he said, chuckling. “And, you know, I realize that perhaps my life has been a bit more interesting than I thought.”
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