Jason Becker

Jason Becker
Birth nameJason Eli Becker
Born (1969-07-22) July 22, 1969 (age 50)
Richmond, California,[1]
United States
GenresInstrumental rock, neoclassical metal, heavy metal
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter, composer
Years active1986–present
Associated actsCacophony, David Lee Roth, jasonbecker.com

Jason Eli Becker (born July 22, 1969) is an American musician, songwriter and composer. At the age of 16, he became part of the Shrapnel Records-produced duo Cacophony with his friend Marty Friedman. They released the albums Speed Metal Symphony in 1987 and Go Off! in 1988. Cacophony broke up in 1989 and Becker began doing solo work, having released his first album Perpetual Burn in 1988, also through Shrapnel. He later joined David Lee Roth's band and recorded one album with him, A Little Ain't Enough.

Becker's performing career was cut short by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In 1996, Becker lost the ability to speak, and he now communicates with his eyes via a system developed by his father. Despite his disability, he continues composing by using a computer and has since released with Shrapnel Collection, a "best of" album of his favorite songs and three new songs. Becker is now the longest currently living person with ALS, holding the title since the death of Stephen Hawking in 2018.

Biography and career

Hometown, birthplace, school and early years

Becker was born and raised in Richmond, California, by his parents, Gary and Patricia (Heffley) Becker. He was born in Richmond Hospital on 23rd Street in 1969. His maternal grandfather was actor Wayne Heffley.[2] Becker graduated from Kennedy High School where he performed [1] While still in high school, Becker was introduced to Marty Friedman. He was exposed to the guitar at an early age because both his father and his uncle were guitar players. He absorbed all kinds of music from around the world and melded different aspects of each style into his playing. He cited Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen as early influences.[3]

Cacophony and solo career

Becker started out playing alongside Marty Friedman in the Mike Varney-produced duo, [2] In 1989 Friedman left to join Megadeth and Becker began to pursue a solo career, having released his first solo album titled Perpetual Burn in 1988. He has since released the albums Perspective and Collection, as well as two albums of demos, entitled The Raspberry Jams and The Blackberry Jams.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

At the age of 20, he joined David Lee Roth's band to work on Roth's album A Little Ain't Enough, replacing Steve Vai, who had joined [3] While preparing for the album, Becker began to feel what he called a "lazy limp" in his left leg. He was soon diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS; Lou Gehrig's Disease) and was given three to five years to live. He finished the recording using lighter (thinner) gauge guitar strings and other techniques, which made it easier for him to play with his weakening hands. Although he managed to finish the album, which was released in 1991, he did not join the supporting tour due to his inability to perform on stage; former Lizzy Borden guitarist Joe Holmes took Becker's place on tour.

His ALS gradually robbed him of his ability to play guitar, to walk, and eventually his ability to speak. He now communicates with his eyes via a system developed by his father. Due to the nature of the disease, he 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.

Perspective and the Berry Jams

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[4] helped him with a music-composing computer program that reads 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.

Two tribute albums to Jason Becker have been issued. Respectively entitled Warmth in the Wilderness I and Warmth in the Wilderness II, they feature guitarists such as Steve Vai, Paul Gilbert, Marty Friedman, Joe Becker, Rusty Cooley, and Mattias Eklundh. The album profits were sent to Becker to help him with his medical finances.


On November 4, 2008, Shrapnel Records released a new Jason Becker album entitled Collection. The album includes three new songs in addition to some older recordings (some never before released) and features Marty Friedman, Greg Howe, Joe Satriani, Michael Lee Firkins, Steve Vai, and Steve Hunter.

Boy Meets Guitar

On August 20, 2010, Becker declared that he was considering releasing an album of music he recorded when he was in his teenage years. He has since released this album, titled Boy Meets Guitar, in 2012.[5]

Other Languages
العربية: جايسون بيكر
تۆرکجه: جیسن بکر
български: Джейсън Бекър
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മലയാളം: ജേസൺ ബക്കർ
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srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Jason Becker
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