In the 28-minute clip below, Equal Time reporter Anthony Bonanno interviewed guitarist Jason Becker, who was a child prodigy at age 15, but later diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease. Also featured is former San Jose State football player Neil Parry who lost a leg after an injury on the field. Interviewees include musicians Gus G. and Michael Lee Firkins; CEO of Shrapnel Records, Mike Varney; former NFL players Hank Fraley and Greg Lewis; as well as motivational speaker Dan Millman.
The DVD version of the documentary film “Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet” was released last December in North America via Kino Lorber.
The world premiere of “Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet”, took place on March 3, 2012 at the Cinequest film festival in San Jose, California at the San Jose Repertory Theatre.
“Not Dead Yet” won two awards at at the Cinequest: Audience Award for Best Documentary and the Special Jury Prize for Documentary.
Jason Becker was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease) at age 20, shortly after joining David Lee Roth‘s band for the gold-selling 1991 album “A Little Ain’t Enough”. Although the disease robbed him of his ability to play guitar — and eventually left him both paralyzed and unable to speak — Becker continues to compose music with the help of computers, collaborators, and a system of communication using eye movements that was devised by his father Gary.
Even after his once prodigious axe skills left him, Jason‘s music continued to earn the respect of his peers. Joe Satriani called 2001’s “Perspectives” — Jason‘s first recorded work after losing his motor functions (originally self-released in 1996) — “a triumphantly powerful and beautiful album.” Fellow virtuosos joined the chorus of praise, including Steve Vai, who said, “Jason has discovered a brilliant source of inspiration within himself. His deep soul searching has resulted in a body of music that reveals courage and insight and is deeply moving.”
Jason‘s original partner in CACOPHONY, Marty Friedman added, “To call Jason a genius is an understatement. He doesn’t cater to trend, target audiences, marketing gimmicks or anything like that. He plays out the emotions from his heart and makes real music that is a salute to the human spirit. Jason is a prodigy and on ‘Perspectives’ he realizes his miraculous potential.”
Jason‘s most recent album, 2008’s “Collection”, is a mix of old recordings and new compositions, with guest guitar work from Satriani, Vai, Friedman, Michael Lee Firkins, and Greg Howe.
For more on Jason Becker and his fight with ALS, go to www.jasonbeckerguitar.com.
“Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet” trailer: