Meet forever rocker Jason BeckerJan 28 02:34
Rock stars typically have the badass attribute down like no one else. That’s their thing. So when Jason Becker, a rising metal guitarist who played for Cacophony and the David Lee Roth band in the late 1980’s, was diagnosed with ALS at the age of 20, no one was surprised when he made a point to rock as hard as possible no matter how hard his condition got. It’s now been twenty years since his diagnosis, and he’s been able to stick to his guns till this day.
And the road has been one of some pretty ingenious solutions. When he was first diagnosed and his hands started to become weak, he used a low-gauge guitar strings, and when his condition took away his ability to use his arms completely, he had to move to a computer to compose music and uses a program that reads his head and eye movements. In 1996 Becker lost his ability to speak, and he’s been using a computer to compose all of his music since. While what he’s lost is certainly tragic, the silver lining is that his condition has miraculously remained the same since 1997. He was given only 3-5 years to live when he was diagnosed.
Now 42, Becker’s badass rocker spirit refuses to raise the white flag. He’s produced four albums over the past 20 years. Perspective (his first album after being diagnosed where he did some of his last guitar work), includes instrumental work, and then came the Raspberry Jams (1999) and Blackberry Jams (2003) albums; the first contains various unreleased demo-tracks, and the latter contains demo-tracks and alternate versions of songs that were later reworked and published into other albums. And his most recent album Collection, released in 2008, is a "best of" album of his favorite songs and three new songs.
Since he can't speak, Becker uses a communication system that relies on his blinking eyes and a chart with letters to create words (developed by his father). You can learn more Jason, his fascinating communication system, plus learn more about his musical background in the new documentary Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet. While I’ve yet to watch it myself, this on my must-watch list for sure.
- Visit his official site: The Jason Becker Migration
- Watch the trailer for Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet
Post a comment about this blog!
1. A Critic | Jan 31 09:58
Awesome! I'll have to check out his music. The constrained well lived life is worth more than a unconstrained unlived life.
2. Tiffiny | Feb 11 06:01
@A Critic: Well said. Becker has perfected the constrained well lived life like few before him.
Disability buzz, travel, fashion and dating — fun things to amp up everyday wheeling life.
Tiffiny Carlson is freelance writer and writes the “SCI Life” column for New Mobility. She's also a C6 quad from a diving accident that occurred when she was 14 years old. A lifelong resident of Minneapolis, Tiffiny has been a writer in the disability community for over 10 years and writes for several publications and blogs, as well as her personal blog BeautyAbility. Her work has also appeared in mainstream publications such as Nerve.com and Playgirl.