Their devotion could be attributed to any one of a number of reasons. Perhaps they were fans of the virtuoso shred guitarist from his days touring with Cacophony – perhaps they saw Jason and a pre-Megadeth Marty Friedman jamming and fell under their spell. Maybe they read the cover stories that screamed from the metal mags when, in 1989, Jason was made lead guitarist of David Lee Roth’s new band. He was 19-years-old at the time.
Or are they fans of the haunting music he is composing and producing now – 22 years after Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) devastated his career, paralysed and sentenced him to die within five short years?
That could be the reason. But they are just as likely to love him because Jason Becker simply rocks. You can read our thoughts on the film here and our interview with Jesse Vile here but first let’s hear from the man himself!.
HeyUGuys: I wanted to thank you for agreeing to speak with us and to tell you how much I enjoyed Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet. The film really resonated with me and I’ve found myself speaking of it often since I saw it last week. I hope it will do beautifully when it opens here later this month.
Jason: Thank you so much, Emily. That means a lot to me.
With the release of Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet you have added rockumentary star to the list of your rock ‘n’ roll credentials. What are the films that inspire and move you?
Ha ha! Cool. Amadeus and The Last Waltz really inspired me musically. Also Bob Dylan: Don’t Look Back, and the Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns. I absolutely loved Jaws. I saw it when I was six years old. I’m a kid when it comes to movies. I love Indiana Jones, Alien, King Kong, Kundun, Star Wars, the 40 Year Old Virgin, School of Rock and Dogma. I should be more of a film aficionado because my grandfather, Wayne Heffley, was a professional actor. He was in movies like Testament, Orca, and the lousy version of King Kong, and in TV shows like The Twilight Zone, Perry Mason, Roots, Little House on the Prairie, Days of Our Lives, and tons of other shows. He was the coolest dude and grandfather.
We see onscreen the effect you and your music continue to have on new generations of fans and musicians. What does making music mean to you?
Yeah, I am always happy to hear that I have inspired so many musicians, from young kids to well-known musicians. To know I have had an effect on the music today means a lot to me. Making music was natural for me. It was like a stimulating drug. Music is a universal language, and it is how I best express myself. It is a magical thing, really. I am grateful to be able to move people with it. It is a nice passion to have.
Your dry humour and the quick-witted banter you and your family share made for some true laugh-out-loud moments. Short of having Seth MacFarlane narrating your thoughts, did we see a faithful portrayal of your life? Did you recognize the Jason Becker you saw onscreen?
Ahh, cool! I am so glad you thought that. You totally saw the real me. That was one worry I had. It can be difficult to have someone’s personality come through in a movie, but Jesse nailed it. I had a hard time before when folks were working on a script about my life because it is tough to portray someone accurately in a film and no one was getting it quite right. Of course, it is impossible to fit a whole life into 90 minutes, but Jesse is amazing and did a wonderful job.
The magic and power of the film, for me, lies in its intimacy and the remarkable access you granted to Jesse and the audience. Why did you decide to allow him so close? Why was it important to you all that your story be told?
Yes, I agree. When Jesse first asked me if he could do a documentary, I said no. He was persistent and made a trailer from just things from the Internet. I was totally blown away. We talked more and my mom and I fell in love with him. We knew he was a good person and was a pro. The whole crew was awesome, too. So, it was easy to be open, honest and comfortable. When my family, friends and I trust and love someone, we totally open our hearts. It was important for our story to be told well and truthfully. It is a good and inspiring story and we hoped others might be helped by it. I also would like my music to reach more people.
Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet opened in the UK on Friday 16th November
The DVD is available to buy now