Those who attended Jason Becker’s Not Dead Yet: Movie and Music to End ALS were filled with more inspiration and musical genius than they could shake a drum stick at. One thing is for sure, if you mention the name Jason Becker, the musical talent will follow!
The event, which benefited the Jason Becker Special Needs Trust and ALS Therapy Development Institute, featured a rare screening of the multi-award-winning documentary, Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet. A live performance followed by headliner Pearl, featuring vocalist Pearl Aday (Meatloaf’s daughter); her husband, guitarist Scott Ian (Anthrax); guitarist Jim Wilson ( Mother Superior, Henry Rollins’ Rollins Band); bassist Joey Vera (Armored Saint, Fates Warning); and Bay Area local Forrest Day and his band. Also on hand were all-star Led Zeppelin tribute band, Custard Pie; Arion Salazar (Third Eye Blind, Fungo Mungo); Chris Kontos (Machine Head); Dave Lopez (Flipsyde); Mike Bordin (Ozzy, Faith No More, Korn); with Steve “Zetro” Souza (Exodus, Hatriot), Kosta Varvatakis (Hatriot), and Gretchen Menn (Gretchen Menn, Zepperella) joining in as very special guests.
AUDIO: Jason’s friends, Steve “Zetro” Souza, Costa Varvatakis, Randy Monroe, Uriah Duffy and Brooks Lundy.
If you have never seen the movie Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet, prepare to be inspired by the man, his music, and his life. In 1990, 20-year-old guitar prodigy Jason Becker was a rising star with two solo albums under his guitar strap. He was selected to play guitar for David Lee Roth – a position previously held by two of the greatest guitarists ever, Steve Vai and Eddie Van Halen. Jason recorded DLR’s third solo album, A Little Ain’t Enough, released in April 1991; was voted Best New Talent by Guitar Magazine in April of the very same year; and was about to begin a world tour that would make him an international guitar superstar. Then Becker was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”) and told by doctors that not only would he never make music again, he wouldn’t live to see his 25th birthday. Over two decades later, now confined to a wheelchair and a ventilator and without the ability to move or speak, Jason still comically refers to himself as “the sexiest man alive” – a comment I will not argue with, and neither will Pearl Aday!
AUDIO: Aday from Pearl
The sad fact is that 5,600 people are stricken with this disease each year, and the life expectancy of an ALS patient averages about two to five years from the time of diagnosis. One of those lives which has been affected by the disease is musician/songwriter Dan Navarro, who lost his best friend and writing partner, Eric Lowen, to ALS. Dan’s experience with ALS changed his life forever, inspiring him to contact Jason’s people so he could be a part of this cause. Dan started off the live music that night playing an acoustic version of “Hammerhead Shark,” a song written by Eric Lowen and recorded by Jason on David Lee Roth’s album, A Little Ain’t Enough. He then played a song Eric had written about the disease itself. Dan repeats the lyrics at the end of the following clip for “Learning How to Fall.”
AUDIO: Dan Navarro talks about Jason, Eric and ALS