The Tragic Story Of How Jason Becker’s Life Was Wrecked Due To ALS
There aren’t many musicians who continue their music career after being diagnosed with an incurable disease or experiencing a life-changing accident. While those who push themselves to keep going are nothing but inspirational, their journey includes challenging moments others can never understand.
In Jason Becker‘s case, the guitar player knew what he wanted to do from a young age and had a successful future ahead of him since the early days of his career. However, he saddened the rock community, including his guitar hero, Eddie Van Halen, when he was diagnosed with ALS.
The disease took away some of his physical abilities but his mind stayed as sharp as ever, and we’re going to break down the details of his career, the devastating diagnoses that turned his life upside down, and how he didn’t let go of life and his music career altogether.
Jason Becker Had A Great Start In His Music Career
Jason Becker’s guitar journey started at a young age since both his father and uncle were guitar players. Becker performed Yngwie Malmsteen’s ‘Black Star’ with his band at a talent show in high school, which was the unofficial beginning of his music career.
Becker started playing in a band called Cacophony with another guitar player, Marty Friedman. Together, they put out two albums and toured Japan and the U.S. Although they never went mainstream in the U.S., they were popular enough in Europe to sell out almost every show until Friedman’s departure to join Megadeth.
From then on, Becker started pursuing a solo career, having released his first solo album titled ‘Perpetual Burn’ in 1988. Following his album, the guitarist got the opportunity to replace Steve Vai in David Lee Roth‘s solo band to work on his third studio album, ‘A Little Ain’t Enough.’
Jason Becker Found Out He Has ALS
While the future of his music career seemed incredibly bright, Jason Becker started feeling numbness on his left leg during recording sessions. That’s when he was diagnosed with ALS, a motor neuron disease resulting in motor neuron loss. In addition, the guitarist was given three to five years to live back then.
Following the diagnoses, Becker finished recording the album thanks to lighter gauge guitar strings and other techniques, which made it easier for him to play with his weakening hands. Fortunately, he finished the album, but his physical condition didn’t allow him to join the supporting tour and perform on stage.
Despite being given five years to live, Becker defied the odds several times in his music career and personal life. To this date, Jason Becker has released a number of albums including, ‘The Raspberry Jams,’ ‘The Blackberry Jams,’ and ‘Collection’ over the years.
Furthermore, the musician is still composing, although ALS gradually took his ability to play guitar, walk, and eventually his ability to speak. Thanks to a system developed by Becker’s father, he now communicates with his eyes and is in a much better place than when he was first diagnosed.