Interview With Jason Becker
Former 'Best New Guitarist' Fights Lou Gehrig's Disease While Making New Music
[Kevin McEvers] Where did music begin for Jason Becker?
Jason Becker I guess hearing my father play classical guitar, probably before I was born.
[Kevin McEvers] In 1990, you were Guitar Magazines "best new guitarist" and replaced Steve Vai as David Lee Roth's guitarist on tour support for ' A Little Ain't Enough'. How did you deal with the sudden fame and notoriety?
Jason Becker I just kept practicing, but with a little more confidence. Oh, and by the way, I didn't tour with Dave.
[Kevin McEvers] What was it like making an album with the infamous David Lee Roth? Do you guys keep in touch?
Jason Becker It was fun and also frustrating. I couldn't really play as well as I could before, plus I would have preferred to rip way more than Dave wanted me to. We don't keep in touch at all.
[Kevin McEvers] How do you feel that your style and tone are different from other players?
Jason Becker I guess I really think my aggressiveness and emotions as well as gentleness and different types of note choices. That is a tough question. Better to ask fans of mine.
[Kevin McEvers] Do you feel that music has evolved much since you first hit the scene?
Jason Becker From what little I have heard, not really. There is some neat stuff, but nothing really new.
[Kevin McEvers] Are there any new artists who impress you?
Jason Becker There are a few on Favored Nations and Liquid Note Records, but I can't recall their names.
[Kevin McEvers] I read that Jackson isn't going through with the Becker signature series guitar. What's the reason for that?
Jason Becker I guess because no one really thought it would sell.
[Kevin McEvers] How about the Wah Wah pedal to be released from Morely Pedals? Is that still happening?
Jason Becker It was only a test, and I guess they have other more important products.
[Kevin McEvers] What was your reaction to being told you had ALS?
Jason Becker At that time I didn't really care. I was sure I could fix it.
[Kevin McEvers] How did the procedures performed on you in 1997 affect your everyday life?
Jason Becker It rendered me completely dependent and helpless. I am way more comfortable, but I can't do anything without someone there to do it for me.
[Kevin McEvers] Is it true you had a "near death experience"? Would you like to elaborate on that event?
Jason Becker Yes it is true. The whole experience is written on my website: www.jasonbecker.com
[Kevin McEvers] What would you say to other musicians when discovering they suffer from similar medical conditions?
Jason Becker I guess I would say try chelation therapy, Lyme treatment and other alternative stuff.
[Kevin McEvers] Filesharing has placed a wedge between the consumer and the music industry. What's your thought on illegal downloading?
Jason Becker Since selling CDs is my only way of making income, it is very uncool. I can't tour, so basically I am getting robbed of my work. No one would accept someone coming to their job and taking their paycheck. I don't understand how robbery is ok, but I know it is a different world, with the internet. There must be some sort of compromise.
[Kevin McEvers] Could you elaborate more on the "unreleased" recordings of Jason Becker?
Jason Becker Well, I put out the Raspberry and Blackberry Jams, but I think I am going to use the rest for pieces of new songs I am hoping to write. There is also a bunch of never heard stuff on my website.
[Kevin McEvers] Van Halen on the road again! Any thoughts on Hagar filling the front as opposed to Roth?
Jason Becker I haven't heard about it. I just don't care anymore. But I do think Van Halen is the most underrated guitarist and band from the old days at this time.
[Kevin McEvers] Of all your recordings, what's your favorite and why?
Jason Becker I guess "Perspective" because it is extra unique and diverse.
[Kevin McEvers] There's a public chatroom on AOL called Guitar Players. It's mostly guys who talk about guitars and the people who play them. Your name comes up a lot. How does it feel to have that kind of inspiration and influence on aspiring young players today?
Jason Becker It is very sweet. I just wish it translated into record sales. I have been advised not to say this, but my records don't sell shit.
[Kevin McEvers] Is there a Jason Becker movie in the works?
Jason Becker Well, yes but it is just at the script stage.
[Kevin McEvers] What are you working on currently?
Jason Becker I am hoping to write new music with lyrics. That will be a big challenge. I would also like to put out a "Best of" CD, but I can't see the point if it won't sell. I asked Theresa to contact Steve Vai for a quote on Jason Becker to add to this interview. This is what Steve had to say:
"Jason is an example to all of us. His struggles are unmatched as is the product he has produced under such a handicap. It leads me to believe that given certain restrictions of the physical the mind goes within and uses the heavily amplified voice of intuition as a substitute for the physical expressions. He is a true soldier of the soul, in the highest order." ~Steve Vai
Kevin McEvers is an intern for Bitchin' Entertainment
Please visit the website of Steve Vai's Record Label: www.favorednations.com/