Kathleen Stevenson of BAMMagazine.com conducted an interview with Jason Becker immediately following the world premiere of the documentary film "Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet", on March 3 at the Cinequest film festival in San Jose, California at the San Jose Repertory Theatre. You can now watch the chat below.Jason Becker, a onetime guitar prodigy first known as part of the metal duo CACOPHONY, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, aka Lou Gehrig's Disease) at age 20, shortly after joining David Lee Roth's band for the gold-selling 1991 album "A Little Ain't Enough". Although the disease robbed him of his ability to play guitar — and eventually left him both paralyzed and unable to speak — Becker continues to compose music with the help of computers, collaborators, and a system of communication using eye movements that was devised by his father Gary.
Even after his once prodigious axe skills left him, Jason's music continued to earn the respect of his peers. Joe Satriani called 2001's "Perspectives" — Jason's first recorded work after losing his motor functions (originally self-released in 1996) — "a triumphantly powerful and beautiful album." Fellow virtuosos joined the chorus of praise, including Steve Vai, who said, "Jason has discovered a brilliant source of inspiration within himself. His deep soul searching has resulted in a body of music that reveals courage and insight and is deeply moving."
Jason's original partner in CACOPHONY, Marty Friedman added, "To call Jason a genius is an understatement. He doesn't cater to trend, target audiences, marketing gimmicks or anything like that. He plays out the emotions from his heart and makes real music that is a salute to the human spirit. Jason is a prodigy and on 'Perspectives' he realizes his miraculous potential."
Jason's most recent album, 2008's "Collection", is a mix of old recordings and new compositions, with guest guitar work from Satriani, Vai, Friedman, Michael Lee Firkins, and Greg Howe.
For more on Jason Becker and his fight with ALS, go to www.jasonbeckerguitar.com. Interview:
"Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet" trailer: