Nita Strauss Meets Jason Becker and Performs “Perpetual Burn” — Video

Nita Strauss uploaded this video a few days ago, in which she’s tricked by her manager/boyfriend, Josh, into performing for her guitar hero, Jason Becker.

Strauss, who plays guitar the Iron Maidens, sets up the situation in the video description on her YouTube channel:

“A few months ago, my boyfriend and savvy business manager Josh told me that I had an audition to be the face of a new guitar app that was going to be the next big thing in the music world. Little did I know it was an elaborate trick that would end in me playing a composition by one of my biggest guitar influences—in front of him in his own living room.”

For the “audition,” Josh had Strauss learn “Perpetual Burn,” the title track from Becker’s 1988 album, and one of the finest displays of his virtuoso guitar work. The guitarist, who is one of Strauss’s influences, developed the muscle-degenerative disease ALS in 1989 and is today unable to move or speak. He lives at home in the care of his family.

The video opens with Strauss rehearsing “Perpetual Burn” at home, followed by shots of her being driven to an unknown destination. When they pull up to a house, Strauss suddenly comprehends that she’s going to “audition” for the guitar app, at which point she quite understandably exclaims, “I’m not ready.”

Strauss isn’t aware of what’s actually happening until she enters the home and sees Becker, at which point she realizes she’s been set up for a nice surprise.

Prior to playing, Strauss talks with Becker and his mother, Amy, who translates his eye movements into words. (Becker communicates using a coded system of eye movements devised by his father.)

“Can I talk you into playing?” Becker asks Strauss.

Amy offers Strauss the pick of Becker’s guitars, which are displayed on the walls, for her to play. “Loiter and play anything you want,” Becker says.

Strauss’s performance of “Perpetual Burn” begins at the 5:00 mark, if you want to skip right to the action.

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Christopher Scapelliti

Christopher Scapelliti is editor-in-chief of Guitar Player magazine, the world’s longest-running guitar magazine, founded in 1967. In his extensive career, he has authored in-depth interviews with such guitarists as Pete Townshend, Slash, Billy Corgan, Jack White, Elvis Costello and Todd Rundgren, and audio professionals including Beatles engineers Geoff Emerick and Ken Scott. He is the co-author of Guitar Aficionado: The Collections: The Most Famous, Rare, and Valuable Guitars in the World, a founding editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine, and a former editor with Guitar WorldGuitar for the Practicing Musician and Maximum Guitar. Apart from guitars, he maintains a collection of more than 30 vintage analog synthesizers.