Joe Satriani headlines a guitar-heavy bill that also includes Richie Kotzen, Steve Lukather, The Kehoe Nation, Flametal and more will get together March 26 to play a benefit show for Jason Becker, a one-time guitar prodigy first known as part of the metal duo Cacophony, who was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease) in the early ’90s. Though 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. Not Dead Yet headliner 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."
The Festival, at Slim’s in San Francisco, is a tribute to Jason and celebration of his amazing story, as well as an opportunity to educate music fans and guitar aficionados about the effects of ALS and the quest for a cure. The idea for the show originated with Bay Area guitarist Dave Lopez of Flipsyde and Bang Data. With the support of Jason and his family, Lopez enlisted Gary Avila of Tao Music Group to make the show a reality. From there, Guitar Player magazine’s Matt Blackett was brought on board to recruit artists for the show, and Tim McKee from Mesa Boogie and Brian Kehoe from Dunlop soon added their support. Jason’s friend Mike Shannon of ALS TDI (Therapy Development Institute) signed on to promote ALS awareness at the show.
The Jason Becker’s Not Dead Yet Festival is presented by Jason Becker with assistance from the Tao Music Group, and support from the ALS Therapy Development Institute, Mesa/Boogie, Guitar Player magazine, Dunlop, and Triple Crown Clothing. For those unable to attend the festival, donations can be made via PayPal at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more, visit jasonbeckerguitar.com.