A couple of days ago I had the privilege of performing once again with Richie Kotzen, this particular show took place in Livermore, CA as part of the GUITAR PLAYER MAGAZINE festival which was a huge weekend-long event. We performed on Friday night and the show was supported by guitar virtuosos Chris Duarte and Michael Lee Firkins. The show itself was amazing, I had a blast and I was also stoked to see my dear aunt Adriana, my father’s little sister, whom I hadn’t seen in years and it was the first time she’d seen me perform in a long time. I also got to meet everyone at Guitar Player magazine, Mike Varney founder on Shrapnel Records, the first ever metal label and the man who signed Yngwie Malmsteen, Richie Kotzen, Paul Gilbert, Marty Friedman, Tony MacAlpine and Jason Becker among many others. As a guitar fanatic I owe this guy so much, he was at the forefront of it all, if it wasn’t for him none of the guitar players I listen to and inspired me to pick up drumsticks and dream of one day playing with them, wouldn’t have done what they did. Another monster was there and quite possibly the nicest dude ever was THE Steve Lukather from Toto, his discography could’ve been written by Tolkien, that’s how extensive it is.
However this night was particularly special and eye opening because of someone remarkable in the audience. Life has been kind enough to me to give me the opportunity to perform while incredible musicians were in the crowd and Friday we had the honor of performing as Jason Becker was there. I can’t begin to tell you about Jason’s talent and how influential he has been to many many guitar players, unfortunately he suffers from Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Jason has fought against all odds, literally. He’s fighting death, with family and music as his only weapons. His drive and love for what he does, the amount of energy and focus needed and the people around him are keeping his legacy alive and I feel truly thankful to life for putting in the same room with this man. Jason continues to make music! With the help of his father he has written numerous cd’s after his diagnosis and its nothing short of breathtaking.
He was honored on that night with the “Guitar Player Magazine’s Jason Becker Award” the very first one, a historical night honoring the brave, creative and inspirational mind and soul of this human who is an incredible source of positive attitude and perseverance. While onstage his father read a very touching message form his best friend Marty Friedman followed by a speech written by him, read by his father. I approached his Father after the show and I was speechless, literally couldn’t say a word and if you know me you know that’s damn near impossible. I managed to muster enough energy to say precisely that, that words couldn’t describe how I felt…
It was one of those nights were you feel humbled to the floor and inspired to highest pinnacle. I never thought I would be in the same room with Jason and I feel lucky to have been impacted directly by him, now more than ever I feel there are absolutely no excuses, no compromises and NO OBSTACLES when you follow a dream.
Thank you Jason!!