Jeff Becerra is best known as the frontman of the death metal band, Possessed. He started his first band in 1979 with Larry Lalonde, then moved on to several bands like Blizzard and Marauder before finally landing in Possessed. The band’s music was deemed satanic because of the upside-down cross on “Seven Churches” album cover; it even led to the album being banned in major record stores. Becerra was left without anyone to keep the fire burning when most band members quit but after 33 years of not being heard, Possessed released “Revelations of Oblivion,” bringing them back to the spotlight. The frontman is bent on writing more new material for the next album, so if you love his songwriting skills, you can learn more about him from these facts.
1. He Had a Near-Death Experience
In 1989, as Becerra walked home from work, he stopped by a liquor store. Two drug addicts robbed him of a pack of cigarettes, but they still shot him. One of the bullets hit him in the chest, shattering his lungs and getting stuck in his spine. As he went down, he put his hand up, and another bullet missed his head, but the top of his ring finger was clipped; he had surgery to put it back. The robbers were still not done with him, so one guy put the gun to Becerra’s head and pulled the trigger, but it jammed.
2. He Underwent Skin Flap Reconstructive Surgery
Loudwire published that the frontman had undergone skin flap reconstructive surgery in which Becerra detailed what it entailed. He explained that the surgery took place around early March 2021 and thanked his surgeon, Dr. Charles P Virden, for saving his life. Reconstructive surgery involves taking live tissue from one part of the body and putting it in another.
3. He Has Walked Again for the First time in Over Three Decades
Becerra never imagined that he would wind up in a wheelchair one day, yet it happened after the nearly fatal gun shooting that left him paralyzed from the chest down. Luckily, with technological advancements, he has been able to walk again for the first time in over 30 years, thanks to robotic legs. The frontman could not hide his excitement and shared a video on September 18, 2021, that showed him taking a few steps.
4. He Had to Play Dead for Almost an Hour to Save His Life
Once Becerra realized that the drug addicts who robbed him wanted to kill him, he had to pretend he was dead. After the gun jammed and one of the guys failed to shoot Becerra in the head, the gun later un-jammed, and he started firing. According to Blabbermouth, the frontman hid under a Volvo for 45 minutes. He had to convince another drug addict to call for help, but even the first cop to arrive at the scene did not know do what to do; Becerra had to direct him to call an ambulance.
5. He Abused Drugs and Alcohol for Five Years
While some people deal with trauma positively, the frontman turned to drugs and alcohol after the shooting. He abused them for five years, disclosing that he almost killed himself from the abuse. He lived alone during that period and it must have taken a toll on his mental and emotional health, but he managed to pull himself from that dark place.
6. He Wanted To Be a Priest
It is hard to believe that someone in a satanic death metal band once wanted to be a priest. Yet, that is the case for Becerra, who told Metal Rules that he grew up in a Catholic family. They would attend mass as often as thrice a week, and the frontman even attended catechism. At that point, his faith was so strong that he knew he would want to be a priest as an adult. Unfortunately, his faith was shaken later on, and he stopped doubting the existence of God for a while.
7. He is Credited for Inventing Death Metal
Many bands such as Kreator, Destruction, Celtic Frost have been considered pioneers of death metal. However, Becerra believes that such bands tried to sell themselves as death metal bands to the extent of skewing the dates they were formed. He said that no one wanted to be associated with death metal back then, but he and his friends wanted a unique sound. So they pushed the metal rock to be faster, heavier, and nastier than even thrash metal hence creating death metal. He even stamped the discovery of the new genre with a song titled “Death Metal” to make a statement that Possessed was the first band to rock death metal.
8. He Wrote the First Possessed Song at 11 Years Old
Some sources cite that Becerra started writing songs in 1979 when he was 11, and one of the songs he wrote was “Burning in Hell.” However, a discussion on Rate Your Music claims that he wrote the lyrics at 11 but the actual song at 15. Regardless, the bottom line is that at 11, Becerra was already in the frame of mind to write lyrics of a death metal song that he probably polished when he invented death metal.
9. He is Bright
For a long time, Becerra was afraid to go to college, but after getting shot, he must have realized that life is too short to live in fear. Therefore once he stopped abusing drugs and alcohol, he enrolled in a college, where he got straight As’. He even graduated in three and a half years instead of four years.
10. He is Best Friends with His Ex-Wife
We have witnessed ugly breakups as some couples air their dirty laundry in public. However, Becerra and his ex-wife have remained civil in everything. After a marriage that led to the birth of two children, the two lovebirds broke it off but managed to stay as best friends. The divorce was amicable, and Becerra called it a win-win situation.