Nita Strauss, lead guitarist for Alice Cooper, acclaimed solo artist and general badass, was recently granted the incredibly high honor of playing a guitar belonging to Jason Becker, the legendary and widely beloved guitar player who has been completely paralyzed for nearly 30 years.
Nita rocked Becker’s iconic ‘Numbers’ guitar at Cooper’s Wednesday night show (September 21) in Boston, MA, saving it for the final encore, Cooper’s mega hit “School’s Out.” She posted a few photos and a video to her Instagram account the next day, explaining:
“It’s taken me 12 hours to find the words 🖤🙏🏻
“What an incredible honor and a privilege it was to get to play @jasonbeckerofficial’s original Numbers guitar on stage for a song last night 😭🙏🏻
“This guitar truly has Jason’s magic in it… I felt like I couldn’t miss a note if I tried!!! I was in tears walking off the stage thinking what that moment meant. I don’t know when that guitar was last used on stage!! But I am so grateful to have had this opportunity!!
“Jason told Josh [Villalta, Nita’s longtime boyfriend and drummer] and I years ago that he wanted his guitars to continue being played. At the time I was struck by how unselfish that thought was- there was no sense of bitterness, just that same joy and love of guitar that we all associate with Jason and his playing.
“Now that I’ve played it a couple times- I get it. I do.
“I hope I did it justice last night ❤️
“Thank you to Benny @the_neurotic_guitarist for making this happen.
“Photo by @judyhwon, video by @yourlivingdeadgurl”
Becker has been afflicted with ALS since 1990 leaving him unable to control his body other than his eyes. He has continued writing and releasing music with the help of a device that allows him to communicate using eye movements. Becker was hospitalized in April after “experiencing shortness of breath and a rapid heart rate.” He returned home a week later after receiving treatment for a bacterial infection.
Dragonforce guitarist Herman Li has been spearheading a massive fundraising event for legendary guitarist Jason Becker since March featuring essentially every big name metal guitarist you could possibly think of. The fundraiser has been remarkably successful, raising over $200,000 for Becker as of July, with three of his guitars going up for auction at that time surely adding to that tally.
You can have a look at the footage of Nita playing Becker’s guitar earlier this week in the Instagram slider below.
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