Guitarist, Herman Li of Extreme Power Metal band DragonForce is a seasoned pro at live-streaming platform Twitch and he’s doing something really important on there right now.
Anyone with a friend who plays the electric guitar, who has played Guitar Hero 3, or was watching YouTube in the mid to late 2000’s will have shown you the music video for the DragonForce song Through the Fire and Flames. You know the one, it’s just playing and camera shaking until the camera finally stops stops shaking (as if their song was causing an earthquake) to pull off the ultimate big dick energy move: go calm, look straight forward on the two guitarists standing alone, side by side in frame with picture in picture zoomed in on each of their hands as they traded internet breaking solos where one dude just drank his beer when it wasn’t his turn.
“You think we need a story for the video? Actors? A background? No! Just them and some lights. Then just look. And then look again with this other picture in picture.”
Fast forward several years, a few albums, and a gazillion failed attempts by players to beat their song on Expert mode, and Herman is on Twitch ahead of every other famous musician who only started after they were stuck at home, unable to go on tour due to Covid. He even rigged up backpack with tech that allows him to livestream some live moments at concerts from his perspective while playing his blazing amazing phrasing.
Perhaps because of his familiarity with Twitch, it was him that the family of 80’s legend Jason Becker reached out to when they needed something.
Jason was one of the most profound shredders of his day and his music still very highly regarded for it’s technical difficulty. Having put out a critically acclaimed duo shredder record with later Megadeth player Marty Friedman, several similarly acclaimed solo records, and later joining former Van Halen singer David Lee Roth’s solo band all by age 21, Becker had accomplished a career’s worth of achievements all before the age most people graduate college.
In the early 90’s, Jason was crippled by ALS which took away his ability to play the guitar and ultimately his ability to move his entire body. He now communicates and even still writes music, utilizing only his eyes and corresponding technology.
Unfortunately for him and his family he must now sell off his collection of iconic custom guitars in order to pay for his medical bills and stay alive. This is where Herman comes in. The family sent Herman the guitars and he is putting them through their paces for the first time in around 30 years on his livestreams on Twitch.tv/HermanLi and is assembling fellow guitar gods to jam with him on-stream, either socially distanced in order to have a chance for THEM to play the iconic guitars too, or if they can’t come, to jam remotely using cutting edge latency-free Zoom like software to which he has signed his secrecy via non-disclosure agreement.
All this is being done as a way to raise awareness and value as they prepare to auction off the guitars on music-gear sale site Reverb.com (like eBay but for guitars and such) as well as accept donations. Herman is also donating all proceeds from his channel during this 6 week endeavor.
Obviously the disease is tragic, but it’s not new news. What’s also sad is that any rock star and guitar icon that inspired so many to take up music would auction off pieces of his career for anything other than charity, let alone to keep himself alive. Selling their guitars is what guys who can’t play do when they buy too many and then lose their job at the pawn shop, not living legends.
If you ever played Guitar Hero, maybe check out a stream or two while on your way to give Twitch.tv/TotalFratMove a follow. I’m publishing this while he’s live right now at Twitch.tv/Hermanli