Jason Becker is a US-guitarist who plays mostly in the style of neoclassical metal/rock. He was born on 22nd of July, 1969. He came to guitar through his father, who played classical guitar, and his uncle, who played jazz guitar. In fact he started to play when he was 5(!) and performed at school a lot of times. It's also said that he even gave lessons to his guitarteacher. When he was 16 he met Marty Friedman, who should become his closest friend. They later decided to record together.
Top and Fall
In 1987 they came up with an album called "Speed Metal Symphony". This album made them quite famous in the scene as it was an album with very high technical level but also very melodic. Two years later their 2nd album popped out called "Go off". It didn't became a great success like the first album and didn't sale half the number, the first one did, either. In the same year he left the duo and decided to join the a project of David Lee Roth, the originated album "a little ain't enough". Later in this year he had a kind of limp in his leg, as he went to the doctor he got the terrible message: you have ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis also called Lou Gehrig's disease) and still 5 years to live! From this point it got downwards very rapid: the tour to promote the album he wasn't able to play, because he couldn't play guitar properly anymore. But he kept faith with music and composed his music on a keyboard - with one hand, because the other was lamed. The time when that didn't worked for him, because he couldn't play keyboard no more, a friend of him (Mike Bemesderfer) developed a special computer + software that allowed to compose music with the movements of the eyes and the head. At this time he wasn't able to speak anymore but his father developed a system that allowed him to communicate with the movements of his eyes. In 1996 he came up with the album "Perspective" filled with music, only writen by himself except one Bob Dylan cover. On the back of the CD you can read a writing "I have ALS - it destroyed my body but not my mind". He didn't stopped composing and Raspberry Jams (1999) and Blackberry Jams (2003) were released. A lot of other famous musicans like Steve Vai, Paul Gilbert, Marty Friedman, Rusty Cooley and Mattias „IA“ Eklundh released together two tribute-albums for Jason with songs they wrote for him or his own pieces called "Warmth in the Wilderness I" and "Warmth in the Wilderness II". The money recieved was given to Jason to assist him with his illness.
It's planned to create a film about Jasons live with the title "Mr Tambourine Man". After Jasons homepage the brands Fender and Charvel will produce special guitars for that movie that will be sold afterwards. Besides that Shrapnel Records wants to release a "best of album" with his greatest songs and some up to know not publiced songs.
His early influences were Bob Dylan, Jeff Beck, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eddie Van Halen and lots of other. But his maininfluence became the violist Niccolò Paganini, first of all his piece 5. Caprice that he trainsmitted for guiart. Besided that his style is accented by very very rapid playing, exspecially arpeggios and sweeps (Serrena!). But he isn't a feelingless shredder, he combines those pieces with wonderful melodic lines, so all in all his style is very varied and interesting.
God Bless Jason Becker!
Perpetual Burn (1988)
The Raspberry Jams (1999)
The Blackberry Jams (2003)
Hot Licks - The Legendary Guitar of Jason Becker (instructional video)
Albums with the duo "Cacophony"
Speed Metal Symphony (1987)
Go Off! (1988)
Album with David Lee Roth:
A Little Ain't Enough (1991)