Released: 2003, Shrapnel
The story of Jason Becker has been told a number of times already on this site so I will dispense with the history of his rise and fall. If you are NOT familiar I recommend you go read Evil G’s excellent review of Warmth in The Wilderness Part I.
This is the second of a set of discs (the first being, The Raspberry Jams) designed to raise money for Jason. What we have is essentially a plundering of the vaults for perhaps one last time. This disc is 31 cuts, 74 minutes of rare Becker material from the 80’s, specifically sub-titled ‘Perpetual Burn Demos and Never Heard Music on Geetar.’ The packaging is nice with liner notes, photos and a bit of a funky, purple, hippie-trippie vibe to the design.
Don’t be put off by the 31 tracks. Of those cuts only 14 could really be considered songs clocking in at 2.5 minutes or more. The rest are just rough ideas, riffs, licks, mini-solos and things that just never quite made it. From a musicians perspective this is quite neat to see the development of the ideas that did become full fledged songs. From a die-hard fans perspective it is also cool because you can hear variations on these pieces of music. Seven of them are under a minute in length!
Jason quirky sense of humour is intact as each of these songs has a title and many of them are funny, in-jokes or just odd. My fave is probably the Simpson’s inspired cut, “Groin-grabbingly Transcendent”. My favorite song, musically, is a cut called “Conglomeration…Boy Meets Guitar” which just rips with an unleashed fury that would make Yngwie proud. There are a few guest starts along for the ride like George Bellas, Marty Friedman and a handful of others.
The bottom line is that this disc is really not intended for that many people. Die-hard Becker fans will want it. People who remember him and want to spend a few bucks to help him out will want to get it. I really enjoyed it but I would suggest caution to most as this really is just low quality demo’s and quirky ideas. Becker himself says these are just 4-track demos never intended to be heard by anyone. My advice is do the right thing, pick it up, and don’t worry if you almost never listen to it a year down the road because you will have supported a good cause. Visit http://www.jasonbecker.com
for more info.