Get this crazy baby off my head!


Jason Becker

Jason Becker - Perspective - 1995 - Jason Becker Music

Between the release of his first solo album, Perpetual Burn, in 1988 and the making of this, his second, speed metal guitarist Jason Becker suffered one of the most devastating blows a human being can: he was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease), the incurable ailment that gradually renders its victims paralyzed. Perspective was recorded during the period when Becker was losing his ability to move, much less play the guitar, and thus marks a transition from his days of frantic fretboard work to less speedy playing and to writing music that is played by other musicians and by computer; much of the album was written on a Macintosh and then executed by guest performers. The result is that Becker, being unable to produce his usual heavy metal performances, has turned to a more varied musical palette, allowing in a wide range of musical influences. "Primal," the lead-off track, for example, has a Middle Eastern feel, while "Empire" is distinctly Oriental. The lengthy "End of the Beginning" displays classical influences, as does the Bach-like "Serrana." Becker's musical imagination is unfettered even if his body is disabled; he stuffs his tunes with different musical ideas, often taking them in surprising directions. In this sense, the most notable track is also the last written for the record, "Life and Death" ("The title speaks for what was on my mind at the time," he notes), which sounds like a group of musical cues for the soundtrack of an adventure film. Jason Becker is enduring a catastrophic fate physically, but he is using it to explore musical passages he might not have otherwise. Originally released on his own label in 1996, Perspective was reissued by Warner Bros. in 2001. Part of the proceeds goes to the ALS Therapy Development Foundation (als-tdf.org/). © William Ruhlmann © 2014 AllMusic, © 2014 AllMusic, a division of All Media Network, LLC. | All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/album/perspective-mw0000615472

Jason Becker’s story is as inspiring as it is sad. A guitar prodigy, Becker first achieved success in his mid-teens with the speed-metal outfit Cacophony, formed by he and guitarist Marty Friedman (Megadeth). Together, Becker and Friedman released two critically acclaimed albums, Go Off!and Speed Metal Symphony that resulted in successful tours of the U.S. and Japan. In 1988, Becker released his solo tour-de-force, Perpetual Burn, which further bolstered an already legendary reputation. His big break came in 1989 when he was handpicked by former Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth to fill his band’s guitar slot once owned by guitarist extraordinaire Steve Vai. The celebration would be short-lived. A week after joining Roth’s band, Jason Becker was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), a disease that affects the central nervous system and for which there is no known cure. While Becker was able to finish the recording sessions for Roth’s A Little Ain’t Enough album, the disease had left him too weak to tour and his tenure with the band ended almost as quickly as it began. While ALS slowly eroded Jason Becker’s command of the guitar, his determination to make music remained untouched, as evidenced on his lates release, Perspective—a record that was five years in the making. But as the recording of the album progressed, so did the effects of ALS. Jason Becker plays guitar on only five of the album’s nine tracks. “Primal”, “Rain”, “Blue”, “Empire” and the Bob Dylan-penned “Meet Me in the Morning” were the earliest recorded songs, made while Becker was experiencing an extreme weakness in his left hand—before the disease had totally ravaged his dynamic fretboard skills. The four remaining compositions, “End of the Beginning”, “Higher”, “Life and Death” and “Serrana” were recorded by numerous friends including guitarist Michael Lee Firkins, Steve Perry (Journey) and keyboardist Danny Alvarez, who were able to perfectly translate Becker’s lofty muscial vision. Perspective is not what one would classify as “a typical Jason Becker shred record”. The album, originally released in 1996, is largely an instrumental affair (only “Meet Me in the Morning” contains singable lyrics), but the vibe leans more towards New Age than metal. “Primal” is almost tribal, utilizing an array of unorthodox instrumentation like bamboo flutes, rain sticks and Steve Perry’s marvelous vocals which carry the chanting melody, while the Bobby McFerrin inspired “Higher” features members of Voicestra adding multi-layered harmonies to this heavenly composition. If Jason Becker is never able to play guitar again (which we pray he will), he has left his fans two monumental guitar-soaked swan songs in “Rain” and “Blue”. “Rain” features Becker’s emotional, gut-wrenching soloing with Alvarez providing the somber orchestral background, while “Blue” begins on more of a country note with Becker’s bright, Arlen Roth-inspired riffs bouncing across the speakers before treating us to atmospheric, Satriani-laced passages. But what could be more inspiring than Perspective‘s two epic numbers “End of the Beginning” and “Life and Death”. These two priceless compositions represent Jason Becker’s finest hour. “End of the Beginning” is a 12-minute opus that takes the listener on a classical journey of musical thoughts and emotions that are both powerful and uplifting, showcasing the beautiful piano playing and string orchestration of Alvarez, as well as Michael Lee Firkins’ amazing guitar flourishes. “Life and Death” is a nine-minute classical extravaganza that would be right at home on the soundtrack of Fantasia. The last song written for the album, “Life and Death” is big, symphonic and, like “End of the Beginning”, is loaded with a bevy of emotional twists and turns that are nothing short of inspiring. If Perspective does nothing else, it confirms Jason Becker’s brilliance as a composer; we already knew he was a brilliant guitarist. Though the year 2001 finds Becker only able to communicate through a series of eye movements as a result of the progressive effects of ALS, one can only wonder what beautiful compositions lie behind those eyes. Perhaps one day we’ll find out. But for Perspective, something in the music got better—something indefinable. I have no idea what that is, but Jason Becker obviously does. © Scott Hudson © 1999-2014 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved http://www.popmatters.com/review/beckerjason-perspective/

Jason Becker’s sophomore album, “Perspective”, is a bit of an enigma, but that’s one of the things that makes it great. The biggest difference from his debut “Perpetual Burn” is the fact that the guitar has moved from being the focal point to being just one avenue of his expression. Not to say that there isn’t a lot of awe inspiring fret work on “Perspective”; it just has now become part of the music, instead of being the music. Of course there is a very important story the unfolded during the making of this album: Jason was diagnosed with ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Over time this disease takes away your movement until you’re completely paralyzed. This had a lot to do with the overall change in mood of this album. However the mood isn’t one of a sullen nature. In fact it is a very joyous album. And while this is an instrumental, less the last song, there is a lot of emotion throughout this album. Another quality that became evident due to Jason’s circumstances is his killer compositional abilities. On “Perspective” there are symphonic, orchestral, vocal, Indian and even country styles throughout it. And each part is epic (not in the Manowar sense), each part is absolutely at the peak it could be at without going over and falling into parody. His songwriting and composting abilities are of sheer brilliance. As for the material contained on “Perspective”, it could be described as brilliant, excellent, outstanding, and so on. You would need a thesaurus to describe how amazing this album is. There are no standout tracks, as each one is absolutely essential to this album, and without one the album loses something special. Alas, there is one standout track, the last track. It is the only one with vocals in basic sense, which makes it a standout, but it is just as good as the rest. Overall Jason Becker’s “Perspective” is one of the single, most utterly perfect albums ever made, and taking into account the situation surrounding him, it is quiet an achievement. This is not only an album that metal fans would enjoy; classical fans would very much enjoy this too. And although Jason Becker made his name with his guitar prowess, this is the best album he ever made. - Perfection. - 100% © erickg13, February 5th, 2007 http://www.metal-archives.com/reviews/Jason_Becker/Perspective/14383/

Before he developed the awful Lou Gehrig's Disease, Jason Becker was recognized by many of today’s guitar greats as one of the best guitarists on the planet. It makes sense that “Perspective” is not a guitar or even a rock orientated album but an album of nine amazing compositions covering many music genres. Many great artists support Jason on this album including the amazing bassist, Gregg Bissonette and guitarist extraordinaire, Michael Lee Firkins. Read an interview with Jason @ http://thequietus.com/articles/10643-jason-becker-interview-not-dead-yet-jesse-vile-documentary and listen to his great "Perpetual Burn" album [All tracks @ 320 Kbps: File size = 144 Mb]


1.Primal 7:03
2.Rain 3:14
3.End of the Beginning 11:46
4.Higher 5:28
5.Blue 4:46
6.Life and Death 9:11
7.Empire 5:15
8.Serrana 8:38
9.Meet Me in the Morning 5:22

All tracks composed by Jason Becker except Track 2 by Jason Becker & Billy Duffy, and Track 9 by Bob Dylan


Jason Becker - Guitar, Orchestration
Michael Lee Firkins - Guitar
Gary Becker - Classical Guitar
Ehren Becker - Bass
Gregg Bissonette - Fretless Bass, Drums
Danny Alvarez - Keyboards, Piano, Organ, Percussion, Synclavier
Steve Rosenthal - Snare Drums, Cymbals
Rick Walker - Percussion
David Stuligross - Trombone
Gary Schwantes - Bamboo Flute
Melanie Rath - Soloist, Vocals
Joey Blake, Steve Perry - Vocals
Raz Kennedy - Vocals, Choir/Chorus
Caren Anderson, Anisha Thomas, Cathy Ellis - Soprano Vocals
Steve Hunter - Rainstick, Vocal Harmony, Harmonic Chant


Jason Becker is an American hard rock guitarist who formed the band Cacophony in the late '80s with fellow guitarist Marty Friedman and recorded two albums with it, Speed Metal Symphony (1987) and Go Off! (1988). He made the instrumental solo album Perpetual Burn in 1988. In 1989, he left Cacophony and was hired by David Lee Roth to replace Steve Vai in his backup band, appearing on the album A Little Ain't Enough (1991). Shortly after he joined Roth's band, however, he was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), better known as Lou Gehrig's disease, a rare degenerative illness that causes paralysis. Nevertheless, he succeeded in completing a second solo album, Perspective, released on his own label in 1996. Raspberry Jams, an album of demos, followed in 1999, and in 2001, through the intercession of Eddie Van Halen, Perspective was given major-label release on Warner Bros. Records. © William Ruhlmann © 2014 AllMusic, a division of All Media Network, LLC. | All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/artist/jason-becker-mn0000179636/biography

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