Jason Eli Becker was born July 22, 1969, and at the age of 16 with Marty Friedman put together Cacophony. They released Speed Metal Symphony in 1987 and Go Off! in 1988.
Here’s a taste of “Speed Metal Symphony” :
Jason released his first solo record in 1988. Perpetual Burn is an amazing album.
Sadly Cacophony broke up in 1989. Jason then went on to play for David Lee Roth for his A Little Ain’t Enough (1991) record. Jason was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease) a week after joining the band. He managed to finish recording the album, but was unable to tour in support of the album, as his condition left him with little strength in his hands.
Here’s Jason with David Lee Roth on “Drop In The Bucket”:
After his diagnosis he was given two to three years to live. Due to his illness, he eventually lost the ability to speak and now communicates with his eyes via a system developed by his father. Although his ALS gradually robbed him of his ability to play guitar, to walk, and eventually even to speak, he still remains mentally sharp and, with the aid of a computer, continues composing. In the back of the Perspective CD case, Becker states “I have Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. It has crippled my body and speech, but not my mind.” His medical condition has remained stable since 1997. In 2003, Becker posted on his website that he was feeling better and had gained some weight, while the folder for his 2008 album Collection also mentions an upcoming book.
Admirably Jason is still with us today and still composing music. In 1996, Becker released an album entitled Perspective, an instrumental album composed by him (with the exception of Bob Dylan’s song “Meet Me in the Morning”). The writing of the music had been started before ALS completely crippled his abilities. By using guitar, and, later, when he was unable to use both hands, a keyboard, he continued to compose while his disease worsened. However, when Becker could no longer physically play even a keyboard, his friend and music producer Mike Bemesderfer helped him with a music-composing computer program which could read the movements of his head and eyes, enabling Becker to continue to compose after he lost control of the rest of his body.
Several years later, Becker released Raspberry Jams (1999) and Blackberry Jams (2003); the first contained various unreleased demo-tracks, and the latter contained demo-tracks and alternate versions of songs that were later reworked and published into other albums.
Collection is a great album to start with if you want to experience the music of Jason Becker.
Here is one of the newer tracks that I cherish “Electric Prayer For Peace”
Thank you Jason for all you have given to the music world. Much love and respect to you.