One of the ACE guitarists in
the chicago music scene,
enchanted by Yajima String
Works' TSUBASA, Joe Becker
is now using our guitar as his
main axe for recording studio
and session works.
From Guitar Player Magazine:
Joe Becker began playing at age
four, and later was dubbed a
prodigy after appearing multiple
times on Jonathan Brandmier's
show at ages seven, eight,
After years of honing his skills,
Becker was invited in 2002
contribute a track to Jason Becker's
tribute album, and made waves the
following year for his instructional
CD Shred 101. In 2004 Becker
soundtrack music for
the indie horror film Evil Awakening.
Photo Courtesy :
Dave J. Hall
Becker is a very versatile and lyrical
player who runs the
gauntlet from shred
to ear-catching, melodic instrumentals,
at times bringing to
mind players such
as Joe Satriani and Eric Johnson.
MIKE VARNEY - [CEO Shrapnel Records,
Tone Center and Blues
GUITAR PLAYER MAGAZINE 2005
This interview was conducted on April 13th, 2005
at the House Of Blues Hotel in Chicago, IL.
|| At age seven, you had already been
considered a guitar prodigy.
How was it possible to develop your skills so fast?
||I dunno. I never really thought the term,
"child prodigy" was appropriate.
I'd be honored if [at best] people just called me,
"talented". Yeah, I played
a lot and could play things guys who'd been playing for 30
years or more
couldn't.....but I guess it's always just boiled down to
having a better ear,
good physical response and a reasonable amount of creativity.
Ha ha ha.
That kind of takes the magic out of it, doesn't it.....
||You have a track on the Jason Becker Tribute
Tell us about that project.
||Since Jason's going to read this interview,
Man, Jason is the epidomy of guitar genius to me. When I
recorded the title
track for that album I kind of wanted to go, "old
school" with the whole
neoclassical thing and at the same time express my sadness for
and I think those two things come across pretty well.
He's the man, though.
Totally cool and extremely ripping to the point of insanity.
this needs to visit his website :
|(Note: Shrapnel Records released Jason's second, "Jams" album in 2003.
Joe was mentioned and also pictured in the album insert)
||As a professional guitarist, luthier, and
product consultant yourself, please
tell us about your Tsubasa.
||Well, mine is a Custom model so it's slightly
the Standard model. But this guitar is BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!
Man, I've owned ALOT of guitars, and this thing
is NICE. The craftsmanship is insaine.
I can't stress that enough.
||What do you like most about your Tsubasa?
||There are two things. It's tone and how
comfortable it is. I don't know if the
tone is a combination of the bolt-on horn body and the
pickups, or what.....
but it's just a monster. Oh yeah.....and it's REALLY
pretty, too. Pictures
simply don't do it justice.
||You are a very versatile player and can play in
so many different styles.
Which playing style is "True" you?
||WOW. That's really hard to answer. I'd have to say Blues, but in an
Ed Van Halen sort of way....you know....just pushing it beyond in a more
slightly hyper direction. I suppose a better [yet broader] answer would be
as I tend to apply techniques to styles that don't normally apply.
||Tell us about your solo album "Warped
||Alot of weird stuff on that album. You
know, I had stopped playing for a
few years until my first son was born. I wanted to write him a
and that really got me playing again. That lullabye is on the album as well as
a lot of other stuff I recorded immediately after that just to have in my
it's a mix of demos and pro recordings I'd made while establishing
There's some shred, bluegrass, blues, classical, Hawaiian
.all kinds of cool stuff
there. We got so many emails from the website from
people begging for a release we really
had no choice but to put it out.
||A surprise to all of us, the recent album you
were on, "Voices In My Head"
was not a guitar album. It consists of experimental and electronic
ranging from ambient to free jazz to just plain noise. What was your
contributing to this album?
||The track on that album was actually the same
one featured on the movie,
That track is blues, but it's kind of like evil blues fused
[even though it's all guitars]. It's very, "Zappa"
sounding. Alot of people say
I sound like I might be influenced by guys like Zappa and Vai,
but really if I'm
influenced by them at all it's by how open I am creatively.
||Your uncle Joe Kelly was the lead guitarist for
the Shadows Of The Knight,
famous for the hit, "G-L-O-R-I-A". Did you
take alot of pointers from him
while learning to play?
||None. As a matter of fact, I only met him
a couple times.
||You also grew up spending time with John
(Blues Brothers / Saturday Night Live) mother Agnes. Did
you receive any
musical direction during that time?
||Well, John was already long passed when our
families shared holidays and such.
So, huge influence - same as everybody else - but not much
I will tell you it was kind of cool being at Agnes' house and
walking past all the
Blue Brothers gold records on the wall every time you went to
||Plans for the future?
||Keep rockin' with my Tsubasa, man! Maybe
after I finish the new album I'll do
some guitar clinics for release on DVD. And I'll
probably be hitting NAMM
this July. Other than that, stay tuned to my website.