Every since the age of five Jason Becker knew he wanted to be a guitar hero. He was exposed to the guitar at an early age because both his father and his uncle were guitar players.
Watching and learning with them, Becker became quite familiar with the guitar and learned quickly. He absorbed all kinds of music from around the world, and melded different aspects of each style into his playing. He practiced to Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Eddie Van Halen, and many others. He would practice for hours on end, and when he was in the sixth grade, he began playing school dances and coffee houses. In high school, Becker met his good friend Marty Friedman, and the two of them hit it off instantly.
They were both excellent guitarists, who shared the same vision of speedmetal. Marty had already put out a couple of albums, and he knew the ropes. Together, they put out an album, and toured Japan and the U.S. under the name Cacophony. While they never went mainstream in the U.S., Europeans embraced their music and they sold out almost everywhere they went. Becker then went solo for a couple of years, and when he turned 20, he joined David Lee Roth’s supporting band, taking the place of the great Steve Vai. With Roth, Becker recorded A Little Ain’t Enough, and managed to win the coveted Best New Guitarist award from Guitar Magazine in the process.
Things were looking up for Becker, but during the recording of the album, Becker noticed a limp in his left leg. When he went to the doctor to check it out, he was diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gherig’s Disease. And, while Becker was barely able to finish the album, he was not able to tour with the David Lee Roth band to support A Little Ain’t Enough. He stayed behind, and continued recording in his home studio. Becker was diagnosed with only five years to live, but that was almost ten years ago. He is still living in Glendale, California.
He continues to write music, and has had a couple of recordings released on independent labels. A tribute album is in the works, and will include some of his good friends, such as Cacophony buddy and ex-Megadeth lead guitarist Marty Friedman. Becker is reportedly also gaining some of his muscle control back, although it is doubtful that he will ever play in public again. You can learn more about Jason Becker by going to his website @ www.jasonbecker.com