Jason Becker has shared never-before-seen footage of a 1996 visit he received from Eddie Van Halen.
On August 31, 1996, Van Halen visited Becker and his family at his house to offer his support to the guitarist, who had been diagnosed with ALS, (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and "was not in good shape."
Over the course of the visit, video of which you can see above, Van Halen told stories and discussed his creative process. In one especially breathtaking moment, he picks up Becker's guitar, plugs into a small practice amp, and sounds... just like you'd expect Eddie Van Halen to sound.
Van Halen also presented Becker with a special Peavey EVH Wolfgang guitar, and took part in an ALS awareness promotional video.
“Eddie was such a beautiful person,” Becker said. “He was incredibly kind to me and my family. Not only was he my biggest influence, he had such a huge heart. He honestly saved my life.”
Despite the fact that ALS gradually robbed him of the ability to speak, walk, and play guitar, Becker has continued to compose and release music to this day, communicating with his eyes via a system developed by his father. His most recent album was 2018's Triumphant Hearts.
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Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com and GuitarPlayer.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.