Last Updated (Tuesday, 30 November 1999 09:30) Written by Steve Parker Sunday, 31 August 2008 17:32Our "Star Of the Month" for August/September 2007 is Jason Becker, (born July 22, 1969) is an American neo-classical metal guitarist and composer. At the age of 16 he became part of the Mike Varney-produced duo Cacophony with his friend Marty Friedman. They released Speed Metal Symphony in 1987 and Go Off! in 1988. Here is an exclusive interview of Jason for Infernal Scream.
Jason in the parking lot of Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley.
Q1) What inspired you to become a neo-classical metal guitarist?
Jason) Well, I have always liked classical music. My parents played me all kinds of classical, including the weirder stuff like Stravinsky. My father took lessons from a student of Segovia's. He often played songs by Francesco Tarrega, Fernando Sor, Bach and all sorts of composers. He taught me to play those songs.
Q2) Who were you favorite bands/artists at that time?
Jason) Then I got into Clapton, Beck, Hendrix, and Van Halen. I would listen to every guitarist I heard about. I got inspired by nearly every musician I heard. I really got into Uli Jon Roth and Yngwie. I was sometimes a shy boy, and Yngwie's cockiness rubbed off on me just enough to make me more fun.
Q3) You ripped even at that early age, how did you manage such skills?
Jason) I constantly practiced. I took lessons in high school from the jazz great, Dave Creamer. He played with Miles Davis and, I believe, gave some lessons to Joe Satriani. I always practiced what he taught me. I played along with all my favorite guitar albums; I would try to copy their technique. Then, at 15, I sent Mike Varney my demo. He introduced me to Marty Friedman; that is when I really improved. Marty taught me so much.
Q4) In "Cacophony" you produced some of the classics with Marty Friedman like "Speed Metal Symphony" but which one you think was the best?
Jason) I am going to go with the songs "Speed Metal Symphony," "X-ray Eyes," and "Images". They are all cool but I am going by my participation. I love "Savage," "Ninja," "Desert Island," "Black Cat," "Go Off," etc.
Q5) What guitars/rig you used in those days?
Jason) "Speed Metal Symphony:" Fender strat with Steve Morse pickup and Marshall amp. "Perpetual Burn:" Hurricane guitar and Marshall amp with Boss super overdrive pedal. "Go Off:" Carvin guitar and Carvin amp.
Q6) With which artist you enjoyed working the most?
Jason) I have been so lucky. I have worked with some of the best and coolest musicians ever. I loved working with every one of them. I have to go with Marty though.
Q7) You are an inspiration to every guitarist and musician because of your dedication and willpower apart from those blazing skills, are you working on any projects currently?
Jason) Aw, thanks man. Yes, I will have a new CD out in January, 2008. It will be called "The Jason Becker Collection." It has some of my best songs from the past, but also 20 minutes of brand new music. I am really excited for people ot hear my new songs. It includes Joe Satriani, Marty Friedman, Greg Howe, Steve Hunter, Michael Lee Firkins, and a bunch of other great musicians.
Q8) Any special tips you would like to give to new guitar players?
Jason) Just be open to every kind of music, don't be afraid to do totally weird and new things, but always remember the melody.
Q9) Any message you like to give to you fans through "Infernal Scream"?
Jason) Thank you all so much for your support. I have the coolest fans ever.
Special thanks to Pat Becker for assisting us.
Official Site: http://www.jasonbecker.com
Interview by Ali Raza Farooqui