The duo open up on their remarkable journey as guitarists…
After signing with Shrapnel Records at the age of 16, forming Cacophony with Marty Friedman, and later releasing his Perpetual Burn solo debut to mass critical acclaim, Jason Becker replaced Steve Vai in The David Lee Roth Band only to learn his career would be tragically cut short by Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis – and, most likely, so would his life.
The doctors gave the 20 year old another three to five years, but with support from his friends, family and modern technology – using only his eyes to communicate having lost the use of his limbs and voice – he’s still releasing cutting-edge music three decades on…
“I got my first guitar for Christmas when I was five years old,” begins Becker, corresponding with us via email. “My dad and my uncle played, so it was logical I would, too. My parents thought art was important and a lot of my childhood was spent doing some form of it or another. I didn’t get serious about playing until I was around eight and learned some Dylan chords. That took me into the world of playing music and I was hooked… Andrés Segovia was big for me. Then came Eric Clapton and Robbie Robertson. I wanted to master everything and learn it all because it was so much fun. Some of the best advice I got along the way was don’t be afraid to be passionate and don’t forget how to have fun.”
As it turned out, Jason’s father, Gary – who himself had taken lessons from one of Segovia’s students – would be responsible for setting the young musician on a more classical path. The first piece he encouraged his son to learn was the song A Soalin’ by American folk heroes Peter, Paul And Mary.
“It’s pretty simple, but has two distinct parts – one bass part and one high part,” recalls Jason, of those first steps into fingerstyle. “You can play them separately and then together. It gets your mind thinking about how to play different parts at the same time.”