Jason Becker, the guitarist/composer who has had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, a.k.a. Lou Gehrig’s Disease) for close to 30 years, was recently interviewed by Niclas Müller-Hansen of Sweden’s RockSverige. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
RockSverige: You auditioned for [David Lee Roth] at his house in Pasadena. Take us back to that first day when you walked into the house and met him and the band.
Jason: “It was very exciting. At that time, I was pretty confident about my guitar playing. Once I met Dave and all the guys in the band, I was totally comfortable. They all made me feel so appreciated and they all took me under their wings and encouraged me and we became friends. They were professionals and they welcomed me and my youthful energy. At a fancy dinner at Dave‘s house, he made a toast to ‘the new gunslinger in town.’ My parents were there. The studio was downstairs and it was a very cool place to hang out.”
RockSverige: Two songs on [your new “Triumphant Hearts”] album, “Taking Me Back” and “Tell Me No Lies”, go back to your time with Diamond Dave. Tell me about those two songs. Why didn’t they end up on the album and were these songs recorded with vocals?
Jason: “‘Taking Me Back’ was going to be a song on David Lee Roth‘s ‘A Little Ain’t Enough’ (1991) album. It was recorded at Little Mountain Studios in Vancouver, British Columbia. This is from a cassette that [producer] Bob Rock gave me after I recorded my guitar parts. I know I would have redone the solo if Dave had decided to use it. Dave titled this song. I have a scratch track of David Lee Roth singing on this, and I love it, but I understand why he didn’t finish it. With ‘Tell Me No Lies’, David Lee Roth asked me, Brett Tuggle, Gregg and Matt Bissonette to write a bluesy song for ‘A Little Ain’t Enough’. We all went to Brett‘s home, and this is what we did that day. It isn’t quite what Dave was looking for, but it brings back good memories.”
RockSverige: After everything you’ve been through, how would you define true happiness?
Jason: “Hmm… that’s a heavy one to ponder. I guess I would say true happiness is to love and be loved. Of course, having enough money for food, shelter, health care and things like that all help, but that is more about security. Generosity and kindness always feel good to give, and it never feels good to give grief or negativity. So, at the risk of sounding ‘new age’ about it, the answer would be true happiness is about love.”
Read the entire interview at RockSverige.
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