Jason Becker had a tough time fighting ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, aka “Lou Gehrig’s disease”). The former Cacophony/David Lee Roth guitarist wanted to spend some time with his hero Eddie Van Halen. It all came true on August 31, 1996 when Halen met Becker at Becker’s home in Southern California.
According to Ultimate Guitar, Becker’s manager and personal assistant, Stephen Correa, was interviewed on the Booked on Rock Podcast recently and shared about the meeting. Stephen talked about how Halen gave Becker one of his Peavey EVH Wolfgang guitars. The clip of the meeting and other things that happened that day were shared on Becker’s YouTube channel shortly after Van Halen’s passing in late 2020.
Stephen Correa talked about the turn of events and said, “It was tied together with the Jerry Lewis Telethon. Somehow, they have a mutual contact. They said, ‘Hey, could you please reach out to Eddie and see if he’ll do something to help? We’ll tie together.’ And he said, ‘I’ll do it on one condition – I get to meet Jason in person. Otherwise, I’m not doing it.’ And they’re like, ‘OK.'”
The manager talked about how Halen wasn’t fully aware of Becker’s condition. Stephen went on to say, “This was one of the worst periods for Jason physically. He had just gotten the trach [a tracheostomy, which helps oxygen reach the lungs via a tube being inserted into a hole in a person’s windpipe], was very frail, and when Ed walked in the house, he was kind of taken aback. And he looked a little disturbed.”
Becker’s mother took Halen to another room and explained the situation which Stephen stated as, “So they go into a back room, and Eddie starts crying because he felt really bad – ‘I had no idea that it was at this level.’ And he brought this guitar and was like, ‘I wanted to give Jason this guitar so he could play it.’ He’s like, ‘He’s not going to play guitar anymore, is he?'”
James Becker’s mother continued about the situation stating “‘Listen, you’re his hero. This is one of the best days ever. He would love to receive your gift and thank you for taking the time to spend with him. This means the world to him.'”
The instrument included with the inscription “Jason. We will play guitar together in the future. Love – from heart to your soul. Eddie Van Halen, ’96” along with Becker’s thumbprint also added to the back of the neck will be up for auction at Guersney’s Auction House in New York City, on December 20, 2023 as part of “Iconic Items from the 20th Century”. The Guersney’s website states “The instrument comes with an original Certificate of Authenticity and, should the buyer wish, an opportunity to meet with Jason Becker.”
What do you have to say about this meeting? Sound off in the comments.