Steve Stevens teams up with Herman Li for Jason Becker fundraiser jam

Herman Li and Steve Stevens
(Image credit: DragonForce/YouTube)

Earlier this year, the world’s mightiest electric guitar players teamed up with Herman Li in a bid to raise funds for Jason Becker, who has been living with ALS for the past 30 years.

Throughout the fundraiser, a number of high-profile artists such as Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and Nita Strauss joined the DragonForce guitarist live on his Twitch channel for some impromptu jamming, with all proceeds going directly to Becker’s medical trust.

Now, as part of the latest edition of the series, Li has shared footage from his virtual collaboration with Billy Idol guitarist Steve Stevens, who offered up his shred-ready skills to support the cause.

The results, as you can imagine, were quite spectacular. Taken from a stream that aired on Shred Talk in April, the 18-minute clip sees the pair pull out all the stops in a dizzying display of their fretboard navigating abilities.

As the guest star, Stevens takes first stab at a solo using his Knaggs signature guitar, teasing some fretboard fireworks by way of some opening melodies and box-heavy licks, with Li following suit with a passage of slide-heavy motifs and chromatic turns.

Naturally, the duo up the ante later on, serving up some blink-and-you’ll-miss-them scale runs and delicately curated lyrical musings, before partaking in the customary blindfold guitar challenge.

Aside from serving up some sublime six-string wizardry together, the pair also took time to discuss Stevens’ career, tracing his days as a cover band guitarist up to becoming a Billy Idol band member.

When asked about how he first came across Becker, Stevens said, “I kind of knew about him only because I was friends with Mark Varney from Shrapnel [Records]. He would always tell me about the new hotshot guitar players.

“But when Jason joined David Lee Roth,” he continued, “I stood up and took notice and went, ‘Oh, who’s this guy?’

“I think it’s important to hear what new players are doing and where the instrument is going. First and foremost, I’m a fan of the instrument. When somebody does something new with it, I’m as excited as anybody about seeing it.”

Stevens is the latest guitar player to take the hot seat in support of the Jason Becker fundraiser, after Polyphia’s Tim Henson featured alongside Li wielding Becker’s famed Peavey “Numbers” Prototype guitar in a rare demonstration of his improvisation skills.

Alongside the streams, there have been a number of guitar auctions to raise funds for the Becker Trust. 

In July, Li was joined by Bumblefoot during a live auction that saw the sale of three of Becker’s prized instruments, including his Perpetual Burn Blue Hurricane and Speed Metal Symphony White Hurricane, which sold for a combined total of $165,000.

Head over to the Jason Becker Reverb Shop to browse the models currently up for sale.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.