JASON BECKER - "I Want To Be Known For My Music And Not For Having ALS"
July 13, 2019, 10 days ago
Guitarist Jason Becker, who developed amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) over 20 years ago, just as he was making a name for himself, recently spoke with Classic Rock about living with the disease, which renders him unable to play guitar, walk, talk, or breathe independently. The main focus of the article, however, is his new album Triumphant Hearts. An excerpt is available below.
Q: Triumphant Hearts is a really eclectic record. What were your starting points when it came to writing it?
Becker: "My starting points were always to write what I was feeling. I think more along the lines of wanting to tell my story to music, or wanting to make a funky kind of song to honour Prince and use a solo I never used but really liked, or I want to build another type of feeling in a song and use my favourite guitar solo of mine, or I want to compose music that feels like the desert vacations and spaghetti westerns I love. And since I have always loved classical music and have always incorporated it into the music I was playing or writing, I want to include some classical tunes and I want them all to have feeling and soul and substance."
Q: You assembled an impressive list of guest players for your record. Did they record their parts in the studio with you, or separately?
Becker: "They recorded their parts on their own, either at a studio or their home. I did have a visit from Uli (Jon Roth) before he started 'Magic Woman', and he talked about how he wanted to play it, mostly just as it was. And the sound is always important to him, so I hope he approves of the final result. It is exciting to receive these solos from the best players, and yes, it is stressful to edit them. I always want to do them justice, and between me and my co-producer, Dan, I hope we did that."
Q: Your dad has said that you don’t want to be “a poster boy for ALS”. What do you want your legacy to be?
Becker: "Well, I think what my dad meant by that was that I wanted to be known for my music and not for having ALS. Which is true. I guess if I was known for my work, like Stephen Hawking was, I wouldn’t mind being a kind of poster boy if it would bring helpful attention to ALS. I would welcome it. For my legacy, I don’t really think about that. I guess that I was a nice guy, Ha ha!"
Read the complete interview here.
Becker’s latest album, Triumphant Hearts, was released back in December 2018. Order here.
"Triumphant Heart" (feat. Marty Friedman, Glauco Bertagnin, Hiyori Okuda)
"Hold On To Love" (feat. Codany Holiday)
"Fantasy Weaver" (feat. Jake Shimabukuro)
"Once Upon A Melody"
"We Are One" (feat. Steve Knight)
"Magic Woman" (feat. Uli Jon Roth & Chris Broderick)
"Blowin' In The Wind" (feat. Gary Rosenberg)
"River Of Longing" (feat. Joe Satriani, Aleks Sever, Guthrie Govan, Steve Morse)
"Valley Of Fire" (feat. Michael Lee Firkins, Steve Vai, Joe Bonamassa, Paul Gilbert, Neal Schon, Mattias IA Eklundh, Marty Friedman, Greg Howe, Jeff Loomis, Richie Kotzen, Gus G., Steve Hunter, Ben Woods)
"River Of Longing" (feat. Trevor Rabin)
"Taking Me Back"
"Tell Me No Lies"
"Hold On To Love" (feat. Codany Holiday) [Chuck Zwicky Remix]
"You Do It"
"Hold On To Love" video:
"Valley Of Fire" video: