I interviewed David Becker late in 2013 as he was just finishing an Attila Zoller Tribute CD with many well-known jazz guitarists, as well as a couple new ones of his own, and an instructional DVD to boot. So it seemed a really good time to catch up with him, hereâ€™s the interview â€“ Doug Perkins, JGS
DP: So, David, you and I both went to GIT around the same era but really knew each other more from seeing each other at the NAMM show. Letâ€™s start with your background, what made you choose the guitar as your instrument? DB: I actually started out as a drummer, I got a drum for Christmas one year around 5 years old, and I had a natural ability to play them, I can still play the drums. I took a couple of music lessons in elementary school from Ted Dechter (Graham Dechterâ€™s grandfather) at Hale Jr. High, who later became my music teacher in junior high. But I didnâ€™t have the discipline to really learn the rudiments – I could play, but just didnâ€™t really put in the time with that. So Bruce (Becker, his brother) went into playing the drums seriously, and I ended up playing the trumpetâ€¦
DP: Really? I played the trumpet at that age as wellâ€¦
DB: And it was a great experience because he (Bruce Becker) sort of laid out the plan for me: go to junior high, then by the semester break you will be good enough to go into one of the junior bands, then in the 8th grade you can play in the senior band and the jazz band, and then by 9th grade youâ€™ll be first chair student and then youâ€™ll win the music award – because every year Ted Dechter would give this award, the outstanding achievement award it was called. So I just sort of went â€œOKâ€ and then I actually did that note for note. I remember standing on the stage in 9th grade looking out at Bruce and sort of laughing, because he had sort of set the seed of this in my brain because he knew how the program worked and I think that he recognized that I had a lot of talent, because I could just sort of play piano and stuff, he would sit down on show me a beat and I could just play itâ€¦.
DP: How much older is he than you?
DB: Two years, I am the youngest of three, our oldest brother Ed was a classical piano player from the time he was four or five. Then he switched to bass – He was really good you could play Jaco stuff but he sort of went a different path he still plays once a while, though. So the trumpet was the thing that led me into learning how to read music and beginning to understand jazz a little bit, and taught me things about swing and stuff like that. Ted was a great trombonist but he was a multi-instrumentalist-could play a little drums you know, piano-he worked with Harry James, and he worked with Stan Kenton, and he also did legit gigs like Symphony gigs. And he did studio gigs and he knew all the guys in townâ€¦. DP: And he taught you what instrument? DB: Trumpet â€“ but he was not just a brass teacher, he was the band leader at the junior high â€“ there was a lot of guys that went to that school, and I can name a few like Mark Schulman, the drummer with Pink and Bob Framenburgh who is the bassist in the Rotterdam Symphony. Ted knew how to take kids and make them sound like a band, he taught us the fundamentals of music that are so important â€“ in fact, his grandson Graham is a jazz guitarist and plays guitar with the Hamilton â€“ Clayton Orchestra and Michael Buble as well. So the family Dechter had a lot of impact in music. So he was probably the biggest influence on me musically until I met Joe Diorio. So how I got to guitar was that I would play with my brother in the garage I would play trumpet and we would try to play pop stuff and rock, and the trumpet wasnâ€™t cutting it. And I loved playing Chicago, but I tried to play Bad Company on the trumpet but it didnâ€™t workâ€¦.
DB: â€¦so a friend said â€œwhy donâ€™t you play guitar and Iâ€™ll play bassâ€. And I first thought maybe Iâ€™ll be a piano player because that was easiest to go to, but I just got a guitarâ€¦. Itâ€™s funny, we made a recording when I was about 15 Ã³, and I had only been playing about eight months, and I wrote these kind of rock&roll tunes with Bruce and the bass player, and I could justâ€¦ I donâ€™t know how, I just knew how to play like these things that sounded good, that sounded like I had been playing many yearsâ€¦ but although Iâ€™m into that kind of music and I could name all kinds of rock guitar players that had a huge influence on me, I never felt that my voice was to be the sort of guy playing, you know, the bendingâ€¦ I could do it, and I could do it to the degree where it sounded authentic, but it was just never my thing where I felt like I was really expressing myself. Then when I was about 16, I heard Grant Green on the radio, and I went â€œthatâ€™s what I want to doâ€. And I didnâ€™t know much about jazz guitar players because, when I took up guitar I was trying to figure out â€œwhat does guitar player do in a jazz bandâ€? I know what a trumpet player does, but I didnâ€™t have any referencesâ€¦ so about a year later, I started to open my ears to you know, the fusion stuff, the Chick Corea Return To Forever and the Al Dimeolaâ€™sâ€¦ but then Bruce brought home a record by John Abercrombie called â€œTimelessâ€ and I heard that at 16, and we had some Buddy Rich, and Louis Belson, and then we had Tom Scottâ€™s LA express so I heard Robben Ford. And then I remember this guy from across the street bringing me what I thought was an amazing record which was a Joe Farrell record called â€œMoon Germsâ€ and I went, â€œwow, thatâ€™s some heavy stuffâ€ at that ageâ€¦
DP: Thatâ€™s some heavy stuff at any ageâ€¦
DB: He was like the guru in the neighborhood, he was several years older, he would sayâ€ oh you like that, check out thisâ€, so by 17 I heard all these guys. So I had heard Pat Methenyâ€™s name, Martino, Jack Wilkins, and all these different guitar players, George Benson, Wes Montgomery, everyoneâ€¦ so I was about 17 and I had a Les Paul, and I went to Norms Rare Guitars (in LA) and I traded it for a â€˜68 ES-175, and that was it. Because I saw this 175 in a magazine and I just wanted that guitar, because the Les Paul just wasnâ€™t cutting itâ€¦
DP: You couldnâ€™t get the sound you wantedâ€¦.
DB: Right, you could, but it just wasnâ€™tâ€¦ so then I was just totally immersed in listening to Jazz, and I got into Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and all thatâ€¦ and then after high school I decided I had to go study, and I got accepted to Berklee. And then I met a guy who said donâ€™t go to Berklee, GIT is this amazing new school with amazing teachers and itâ€™s right around the corner in Hollywood, and at Berklee thereâ€™s so many guitar playersâ€¦ and so I went to visit GIT with my brother, and it just had a good vibe to it. Then I met another guy that my brother was playing with who just graduated from GIT man Craig Sharmat who said, â€œdonâ€™t go to Berklee go to GITâ€. So I took off a semester after I graduated and then I enrolled in G IT and started in March of 1980, I had my entrance exam with Pat Hicks the president of the school. And I was the youngest guy at the school of the time, I think the average age was about 23 and I was 18â€¦ I could play a few things, but I didnâ€™t have a theoretical background from the guitar standpoint that a lot of guys had, but I knew how to play and hear certain things. But it was very frustrating for the first couple of months because a lot of guys would spew out things and I was like, â€I hear this and can play it, but I donâ€™t know what it isâ€. So I was in a class with Joe Diorio and he said that Wes Montgomery couldnâ€™t read and didnâ€™t know theory, but he just played sounds which was just what I did. So I said â€œyou know, thatâ€™s how I playâ€ and I told Joe how that frustrated me and he said â€œyou come see meâ€. So I said to myself â€wow this guyâ€™s amazing, I got to get to know himâ€, and that started our relationship. But what I was really interested in from a very young age was writing my own music. From the age of six or seven I would sit at the piano and I could write little tunes. I never really wanted to just shred on the guitar, I wanted to compose music. So I told Joe, â€I want to compose music, I want to play with my brother, and I want to have a trioâ€, and thatâ€™s still what Iâ€™m doing today.
DP: Thereâ€™s not that many people later in life that can say that theyâ€™re doing what they set out to do early on, most of us modify that as we go.
DB: You know Doug, I tell all my students â€“ and I just did a workshop the other day â€“ Itâ€™s very important to visualize what it is you want to do. Joe told me, â€David, donâ€™t go for the money, go for the music; because if you go for the music and do what you want to do, the money will comeâ€. Because I was always chasing different things and didnâ€™t know which way to go, but he said, â€œI know youâ€™ve always had your influences, but youâ€™ve always sounded like David Beckerâ€. And that was a huge compliment. So weâ€™ve had a very interesting relationship that is the closest to having a mentor that Iâ€™ve ever had in my life. I didnâ€™t sit down with him every day and have lessons, I donâ€™t think he ever wrote anything down for me, I would just watch what he would do, and I would go â€okay, you do this and put that there and there you goâ€. And I would go back after I graduated and hang with him and listen and learn-so I think my time G IT wasnâ€™t just the year, it was the year there, and the year after. And then there was also a period of a few months that I would hang with (bassist) Jeff Berlin in his room and play with him. I also as a student would go into Kimboâ€™s (Smith, GIT blues instructor) class and bring in tunes that I wrote, and I would hand out the parts to Eddie Rossetti (PIT drum instructor) and Luther Hughes (bassist for GIT performance classes) and we would play and record the tunes and Kimbo would critique them. So that was invaluable in helping me put together The David Becker Tribune with Bruce (Becker). So, after I left GIT I went to Europe to explore the world of trying to find a record label. I had recorded a demo with Tim Emmons on bass who was later replaced by Matt McFadden who you knowâ€¦ DP: Oh yeah! DB: So I remember being like 19 and going to like Enja Records in Germany in the early 80s, and they really liked what I was doing, they were like, â€œJa, ve like zee guitar music, ve like zis guitar music but ve have John Scofield at the moment so ve donâ€™t sign you, but you keep doing what youâ€™re doingâ€. And I remember meeting Hans Wendl of ECM and he was really encouraging as well, I used to send him lots of music. Because I was exploring composition with harp and trumpet and all this stuff, just trying to find out who I was as a composer. So we would get together with Matt and work out all these tunes that I had written and record everything, so we have literally I think, every rehearsal and every gig we ever did recorded. So I would go back and forth between Europe and here in LA looking for a record label, and I was imagining that one day I would just find one. I even had a guy at EMI who wanted to sign me but their superiors said â€œwell weâ€™re really not into jazzâ€ and so it didnâ€™t happen. So we started to do some gigâ€™s here, and then I heard about the Come Back Inn in Venice (original music club in LA in the 80s), so I dropped off a tape there. The owner was German and he called me back and said he loved the music and wanted to know if we could play the next Saturday. So I said yeah, and then he said that he also had some other dates â€“ so he gave us like regular gigs every month at the Come Back Inn about a year.
DP: If I remember right, they didnâ€™t pay ASCAP and BMI fees so everyone that played there had to play original musicâ€¦.
DB: I remember, thatâ€™s right, he said â€œVe donâ€™t pay ASCAP or BMI fees so you must play your own musicâ€, so we did â€“ well, once and a while weâ€™d sneak a standard inâ€¦.so what we would do is Iâ€™d write all of these original tunes and weâ€™d play them and occasionally I could bring a trumpet or a harp in to augment the band or something experimental. So I guess after a while the word got out that we were doing something interesting, because people started showing up â€“ like, the musicians that I knew started coming out, that I didnâ€™t know knew what I did. But I was never really interested in getting a gig at the Baked Potato (famous LA jazz club) or anything like that, I was always more about the scene in Europe â€“ I knew Larry Carlton and Lee Ritenourâ€™s playing and I loved it, but I was more into the New York thing, etc. So this was a cool gig for us because it was a health food restaurant and it had a different clientele than most placesâ€¦
DP: Who was that sort of Metheny guy that used to play out there, he used to have like Bob Berg on drums, Wayneâ€¦
DB: Wayne Johnson, yeah, he was great and we used to play together back then. We did Hop Singhs and At My Place and all those places, but the Come Back Inn was the one that was instrumental in forming who the band would become. So eventually, I got hooked up with the Martin Guitar Company through Matt, who knew Chris Martin from his childhood. And at that time â€“ itâ€™s hard to believe now, but they were struggling â€“ and they didnâ€™t have endorsees reallyâ€¦.and so he heard what I did and really liked it. And they had hired some bluegrass guy but he didnâ€™t want to do that. He wanted to show that the Martin Guitar was versatile, not just an instrument that bluegrass guys would play. So I started doing like NAMM Shows with him and sat around the booth and played, and then he started taking me with him on shows where he would talk about the history of their guitar and I would perform, I would just play improvised stuff, you know, what ever that is. And it was good for me because we went all over the world with that, we went to Europe a couple of times, and all over the statesâ€¦
DP: Is that sort of your introduction to living in Europe? Because thatâ€™s something I wanted to talk about, where you actually liveâ€¦because I remember reading an interview with Metheny where he said that on his tax return he listed his residence as â€œpermanent transientâ€â€¦.so you are in Europe a lot of your year, but then you are also in LAâ€¦.
DB: Yeah, my whole life has been like a transient, because I grew up in a very interesting family. My mother is Dutch, born in Indonesia, and the â€œBataviaâ€ record, which is our latest record, talks about her time in Indonesia when they were in a concentration camp under the Japanese. So travel has been in my family forever, my parents took me to Europe when I was two, and I made about 9-10 trips to Europe from the time I was two until I was about 11. So for me when I get off a plane in Indonesia, or Europe, or Newark, thereâ€™s pretty much a lot of similarities for me, itâ€™s not much of a culture shock.
DP: So do you have a base city in Europe that you live in?
DB: I have a base city, itâ€™s called Wuppertal, itâ€™s near Dusseldorf, itâ€™s in Germany, Iâ€™ve had an apartment there for almost 20 years. I was also in Belgium for a while in Antwerp, and also in Vienna for 3-4 months. And the last 10 years has been a lot of flip-flopping, because I got the offer from (Guitar Dept. Chair) Richard Smith to do some guitar teaching at USC. So that allowed me to hock up with Joe again on a regular basis, and do like a semester a year. So I guess I really am a sort of troubadour, I feel at home everywhere, and I feel at home nowhere. I think thatâ€™s really who we are as human beings, we all sort of go with whatever is thrown at us. Itâ€™s not that I donâ€™t like to have a home, but I still really like that excitement of getting on an airplane, and Iâ€™ve logged over a million miles, and itâ€™s just a natural environment for me to do that â€“ even when itâ€™s like a 36 hour flight, like when I had two festivals back to back, one in Argentina and the next weekend in Indonesiaâ€¦.
DP: So you play a lot of festivals in Europe â€“ is that they way that youâ€™ve gotten to meet and play with a lot of the well-known guitarists that youâ€™ve come to know?
DB: Kind of – guys like Metheny I have just met at his gigs and because we know some of the same people, guys like John Abercrombie and Ralph Towner I met here in the US. I met Mike Stern in Europe and in NYC I played the 55 Bar a couple of times and his amp just stays there, so I called him and asked if he was going to be in town and he said no, but go ahead and use my amp whenever you need to. I am producing right now a Attila Zoller Tribute record that his daughter commissioned with a lot of great guitarists playing his tunes. Attila was a huge, huge influence on Pat Metheny, because he met Pat when he was like 15 and took him to a jazz camp and worked with him for a week and then brought him to New Yorkâ€¦
DP: And thatâ€™s where Pat met Lyle Maysâ€¦
DB: Right, and Attila was a huge jazz export of Hungary and Austria as well, as he did a lot of sound tracks over there, he played with Jim Hall, he played with Ron Carter, he played with Herbie Hancock, Jimmy Heath â€“ he played with just about every musician you could imagine. Basically, Attila knew everyone, and everyone knew Attila. He sadly passed away in â€™98, but I got to meet him in Frankfurt in â€™95. I had never really met him so I didnâ€™t have a visual, so this guys comes up to me where I am playing somewhere at this booth at a music fair and says, â€œwow that sounds great, letâ€™s playâ€ so we did and he says â€œcrazy, man, crazy â€“ you got some of that Joe Diorio stuffâ€ and I said â€œyeah, I got some of thatâ€, so then I looked at his badge name and realized who it was and said â€œoh my God, itâ€™s a pleasure to meet youâ€ and all of that. So he said â€œlikewiseâ€ and we exchanged phone numbers; and he has a school â€“ actually, his daughter has it now â€“ called the Vermont Jazz Center, and he invited me to come and do a workshop. So we tried to find a time to do that but my schedule was really busy, and then he got cancer and passed away. But I always really valued the time I spent with him and so it was great to get to do this CD (â€œMessage to Attilaâ€, to be released in 2014): I have Ron Carter who was really close friends with Attila and his wife, Iâ€™ve got John Abercrombie who knew him really well, Iâ€™ve got Peter Bernstein who had a great relationship with him, Iâ€™ve got Pat (Metheny) and Jim Hall on a recording that they did earlier that Pat was gracious enough to give me for the project. Iâ€™ve also got Gene Bertoncini who knew him well and Iâ€™ve got Michael Formanak on bass, who used to work with him a lotâ€¦.
DP: And so theyâ€™re all Attilaâ€™s tunes, right? DB: Theyâ€™re all Attilaâ€™s tunes. And so I have the dubious job of arranging and producing all the tunes on the CD, which is heavy. Attila actually recorded his last record on my label, Acoustic Music in Germany, which is a solo record that was produced by Woody Mann. And Attila had said, â€œwell, this is how my music is supposed to go, but you do them however you want to do them.â€ So I contacted all of these guys and I had no idea who was going to be able to do it, but Ron Carter was the first guy to call me back and said, â€œabsolutely I will do itâ€. So Ron and I have developed a nice relationship through this project, and I hope to do more with him in the future. So it was a great pleasure to work with him, and I never imagined that I would get to work with Ron Carter.
DP: That track that you played me (â€œPeace Tuneâ€), there was five bass overdubs?
DB: Thereâ€™s fourâ€¦itâ€™s funny, I wrote these parts with a bowed bass in mind but he did pizzicato â€“ so when I told him, he said â€œwell, I practiced it pizzicatoâ€, and I thought about it and said â€œyou know what, thatâ€™s probably the way we will do itâ€. He has such a great touch, and itâ€™s a ballad, so it works great. It was of course great fun to work in the studio with John Abercrombie and Mike Stern and everyone, but the most important thing on this record is the spirit of the thing, and so I had everyone on the CD record a spoken testimonial to include as well as the music. Since the recordâ€™s called â€œMessage To Attilaâ€, I just said to everyone â€œif you could give a message to Attila, what would you tell him?â€. So after Ron Carter was done with this track, I asked him to do his testimonial, and he just went â€œ(bass sound) boga-ta boomâ€¦ (speaks) Attila..â€ and he did this whole beatnik rap that was just fantastic. DP: Hahahahaâ€¦. DB: Itâ€™s so cool, itâ€™s just like â€œwowâ€¦â€. So I still have a few more tracks to finish up on that and I am trying to get Lee Konitz as well, but thatâ€™s where that project is currently at. DP: So talk about the new Tribune CDs that just came out DB: The new Batavia CD that just came out talks about my momâ€™s story in Indonesia that is a really a heavy project because it is about trying to get recognition for those Dutch POWs in WWII and get restitution and get a memorial built. So, even though it came out in 2010, it has been rereleased here in America. I wanted to record some very stripped down kind of tunes after the Batavia project,, so we JUST recorded a new DBT record called â€œDistance Traveledâ€ that is mostly live in the studio with very few overdubs with our regular bass player, Bolle Diekman that we did in two days. Itâ€™s about not only the physical distance I have traveled, but also the musical distance that we have come with Bolle, whoâ€™s been in the band 10 years.
DP: So Bruce (Becker) lives here in LA, in fact, about a mile from me literally â€“ as does Dave Weckl, who is literally two blocks away (laughs)â€¦
DB: Actually, he dropped me off here the other day and saw Dave on the way and dropped him off a CD â€“ they know each otherâ€¦but yeah, Bruce was in Europe for about 5 years, and then he moved back. Bruce is essentially the co-leader of my band, even though I write the music. I write it for him. So we will all meet up half way or at the festival we are doing and do a quick rehearsal and we are ready to playâ€¦. DP: So when you get on a plane, you have a guitar and a suitcase and what else?
DB: My pedals, I take two delay pedals, the Boss DD-6 and DD7. The reason why I got the DD-7 is because it has a 30 second loop on it, and if anyone has seen my solo stuff, I work with loops a lot. I always have, I did that from back in the Martin days. The loop for me is not just playing over a groove thing but implementing some kind of thing that I can work on. So sometimes I will just play freely, I will put the loop pedal in, play with it, and then drop it out and then do it again â€“ or Iâ€™ll build a loop of stuff and improvise on top of it. One time after Joe Diorio had his stroke Beth Marlis at Musicianâ€™s Institute wanted him to come do a workshop and he didnâ€™t want to do it. She told him he didnâ€™t have to play, but he still didnâ€™t want to. So I said â€œcome one Joe, you gotta do itâ€ and he said â€œIâ€™ll do it if you do it with meâ€, so I told him he didnâ€™t need to pay me anything but I went and did it. So he talked, and I talked a little and then I improvised; just to show that whole â€œtake an idea and start with that and see what happensâ€ thing. During the 2004, I was working on the album with Joe Diorio (The Color Of Sound) and I was working on an album of layered loops called â€œEurolandâ€.
DP: Well, I really liked that acoustic guitar track from the new record you played me.
DB: You know, acoustic guitar is something that is really close to me because I play it so much. I really like layering that stuff, I have played on a lot of records for like Colbie Caillat and other stuff that I have produced, and itâ€™s like the minute you pick it up and play a note you go â€œwowâ€, thereâ€™s so much you can do with it. The acoustic guitar has such a resonance, and thereâ€™s a relationship for me between the acoustic guitar and the arch top just in the size and the feel. Youâ€™ve seen us liveâ€¦.
DP: Yeah, I was going to ask you about your sitar effect thingâ€¦
DB: I can show you what it is: itâ€™s a paper copy card (like a credit card for a copy machine)â€¦I used to use a business card, but it was too stiffâ€¦I put it up in the strings by the bridge, and I have a piezo pick-up, I just weave it thought the strings over and under and if I flip it on I can create a percussive sound like a drum. So thereâ€™s a technique that I have learned that if I pull the flap up by the E string, I can get the sitar sound to resonate more. Itâ€™s there on the new record and itâ€™s there in the record with Joe, we did an improvised tune called reflections of India. Iâ€™ve done it on several records and itâ€™s become sort of a sound for me.
DP: So youâ€™re picking actually in front of the cardâ€¦
DB: Right. And then of course I can play BEHIND the bridge as well, and I have used that not only as a texture, but as a melody. Because I canâ€™t take more than one guitar many times when I travel, I have learned to make the Heritage (his main arch top guitar) fulfill a lot of roles â€“ not with effects so much, although I usually have a little reverb or delay on there, but itâ€™s all coming from the guitar. Some people think itâ€™s with a synthesizer, but itâ€™s all the guitar.
DP: So talk about your new instructional DVD, whatâ€™s that called?
DB: Itâ€™s a new DVD called â€œRhythmic Concepts for Comping and Soloingâ€, and what it isâ€¦well, my first book that is probably the best known is called â€œGetting Your Improvising Into Shape: with Me Bay, which has been very successful because it talks about the triad concepts that I talk about in my JGS videos. In the new book I wanted to talk about rhythmic concepts in terms of how to develop a feel, and how to break down the inter-workings of â€œtimeâ€. Having had the drum experience Iâ€™ve had with Bruce and his teacher Freddie Gruber, I understood now about motion in time and feel. Guitar players are probably the least likely to understand time and feelâ€¦
DP: Thatâ€™s for sureâ€¦
DB: The note you play has as much to do with what youâ€™re playing as the SPACE you play â€“ because the note has to have a space and the space has to have a space, and they have to be even. So I did this book â€“ and itâ€™s in two languages, German and English, which was a challenge â€“ and is out though my label Acoustic Music in Germany in a sub-label called Finger Print. It will be available through AbstractLogix.com soon as well, and my other DVD I did for Finger Print is there too. One of the things that I did was take a rhythmic phrase and put it over a blues, and then add notes to develop it, because itâ€™s important for guys to really look at rhythmic motifs as well as melodic ones. One of my big pet peeves with all the shred guys is that thereâ€™s no rhythmic stuff happeningâ€¦
DP I knowâ€¦.
DB: Itâ€™s impressiveâ€¦
DP: Yeah, for a LITTLE WHILEâ€¦
DB: ..but then after the first couple of courses you go â€œok â€“ whereâ€™s the space?â€. And thatâ€™s the thing when we talk about guitar players or instrumentalists in general â€“ Iâ€™ve never ever believed in playing the instrument for the instrumentâ€™s sake. Iâ€™ve always believed â€œIâ€™m a musician first, Iâ€™m a guitar player secondâ€. Yeah, I can play fast, but if Iâ€™m going to play something, itâ€™s going to matter â€“ and every musician that I love from John Coltrane to Michael Brecker to Wes Montgomery to Joe to whoever, they ALL play like that. They can play a lot of stuff, but thereâ€™s always a purpose for it. And so thatâ€™s what this DVD is all about, and it breaks down a little of the swing rhythm and also how to shift gears â€“ because if youâ€™re playing like a slower swing tempo and you switch to sixteenths thereâ€™s a stuttering that can happen. Itâ€™s not so noticeable at like 200 BPM, but itâ€™s really something to work on. I put stuff in my instructional materials that are also things for me to work on as wellâ€¦.
DP: Iâ€™m glad to hear you say this, because to me, speed is an effect just like anything else, and to me, a lot of people play like leaving a phase shifter on all night (laughs)
DB: Space is something that I think a lot of guitar players fearâ€¦your body is the instrument, not the guitar, so if you get yourself tuned up, youâ€™ll be able to play a lot better.
DP: Boy that feels like a good ending â€“ is there anything else youâ€™d like to add?
DB: No, but I just want to say a few things about the record I did with Joe Diorio. It was the last thing that he did before his stroke â€“ we did this in October of 2004, and was release in May of 2005 â€“ and it was a record that I had always wanted to do with him. I remember I booked him to play on one track on (DBT CD) â€œSiberian Expressâ€, and budget restraints made me have to cancel it, and Joe was like â€œdonâ€™t worry about it, man, weâ€™ll do it againâ€. And I felt bad because I wanted to document what we did together but I realized that it wasnâ€™t the right time. And so we did a little tour of Europe together where we did a lot of clinics and stuff together and it was a lot of fun to get to see him all the time because we hadnâ€™t hung for so long. So I sort of gave up on the idea but then the label asked â€œis there anybody that you want to do a record with?â€ and I said â€œJoe Diorioâ€. So I called him up and we did two days here in LA, and the whole idea was just to sit and make music. So we did just that and I think we literally got 8 hours of music. We barely spoke, I just brought in a little music and we just looked at each other and just played. The versions of â€œStella By Starlightâ€ and â€œAll the Things You Areâ€ on there are the only ones there were, and I invited Richard Smith down there and an Italian guitar player whose name I forget but I didnâ€™t know that they were there, and so I look up and they were like jumping up and downâ€¦like applaudingâ€¦and Joe said that he knew from the first note that this was going to be something really special.
DP: So you must have a lot of stuff in the can from thatâ€¦
DB: I do, I just havenâ€™t had time – I have to sift through and I may be able to release some of it, I know there is a solo piece by Joe that Iâ€™d really like to get out there. At that point in time I had felt like he was the master and I was the pupil, but after that it was like we became equals. DP: The transition out of being a studentâ€¦ DB: Yeah, and heâ€™s very proud of that record and I know it means a lot to him, so if anyone one doesnâ€™t know it, Itâ€™s on iTunes etc. â€“ â€œThe Color of Soundâ€, and itâ€™s sort of an underground thing to be sought.”
Note: At the time of the posting of this interview, â€œMessage to Attilaâ€ was at the most just weeks from being mixed. For more on that and Beckerâ€™s other projects, go to: http://www.davidbeckertribune.com/