Throughout March and April, some of the world's greatest guitarists will come together to raise money and celebrate the music of legendary guitarist and composer Jason Becker, who has been living with ALS for over 30 years and continues to compose and record music.
The virtual event, hosted in part by DRAGONFORCE guitarist Herman Li, will include three components:
1) A livestream telethon-style fundraiser on Twitch: special guests will appear on Herman Li's Twitch channel to play, jam and participate in fan-generated challenges with all money raised going directly to Jason's medical trust. Over $13,000 has been raised so far. Visit Jasonbecker.com or twitch.tv/hermanli for a full schedule of livestream guests.
2) Artists will donate signed guitars, merch and other rare items which will be sold via a special Reverb shop to benefit Jason. Details to be announced.
3) Three of Jason's most important guitars will be auctioned off later this year, including the guitars seen on the covers of "Perpetual Burn", "Speed Metal Symphony" and the original "Numbers" guitar played by Eddie Van Halen. Details to be announced.
Musicians participating in the fundraiser include:
Michael Angelo Batio
Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal
Mattias IA Eklundh
Federico Mondelli and Fabiola Bellomo
Event co-organizer Herman Li says: "I've been a huge fan of Jason Becker since I was young, and it's one of the biggest honors of my life to be able to help organize this tribute and rase money for him. I still have a Jason Becker poster in my studio in London. It's been very inspiring to see everyone coming together to celebrate Jason."
Becker says: "I am so grateful for all the love and support everyone has given to me and my family. As far as selling my guitars being sad, and that I shouldn't have to do it, I just want you to know that isn't how I feel. It makes me happy to see others playing my music. I feel good about passing on my guitars, thinking they mean something to others. I can't play them now, but other folks can. That's a good thing. And I want myself and my family not to have to worry about money, if possible. Thank you for all the love. I send it right back to you."
Becker's story is one of brilliance, talent, determination, adversity, and, ultimately, triumph. A child prodigy on guitar, Jason rose to prominence as a teenager when he was one half of the technical guitar duo CACOPHONY, with his great friend Marty Friedman. In 1989, at only 19 years old and after wowing audiences all over the world, the young virtuoso became the guitarist for David Lee Roth, following in the huge footsteps of Eddie Van Halen and Steve Vai. He wrote and recorded on Roth's third solo album, "A Little Ain't Enough", and was poised for superstardom when a nagging pain in his leg was diagnosed as Motor Neurone Disease (MND), also known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's Disease, the same condition Stephen Hawking lived with for over five decades. It is a fatal condition with a life expectancy of maybe five years. Maybe.
That was more than 30 years ago. He lost the ability to play guitar, walk, talk, and breathe on his own. But never lost his will to live or his desire to create music. Communicating through a series of eye movements with a system developed by his father, Jason spells out words as well as musical notes and chords. He imparts his musical vision to his team who then can input the notes into a computer, edit the parts to his exacting standards, and then generate charts for session musicians. His inspiring music and life story have been the subject of countless news articles and magazine cover stories.
Becker's latest album, "Triumphant Hearts", was released in December 2018 via Music Theories Recordings/Mascot Label Group. The disc features guest appearances by a who's who of six-string gods, including Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Neal Schon, Steve Morse, Paul Gilbert and Joe Bonamassa.