In 1989, Jeff Becerra, vocalist for death metal pioneers Possessed, was robbed at gunpoint and shot, leaving him paralyzed from the chest down. Today, Becerra still fronts the satanic death metal legends, having spent more of his life in a wheelchair than he did on his feet. Now, Jeff’s in recovery from a recent surgery, which he described online — and damn if it doesn’t sound like something Possessed would write a song about.
“Week six after surgery,” Jeff wrote on his Tumblr blog. “Had a skin flap reconstructive surgery which essentially is cutting out a large spot of flesh from my tailbone all the way down to the bone, grinding down the bone and removing all the dead bone. After that, a horseshoe shaped incision is cut all the way around my buttocks and filleted, then a slash up the side towards my back to allow the entire piece to pivot over to cover the wound. The entire thing is then stitched together from the inside, again stitched mid flesh, and stapled together all the way around.
“Special thanks to my plastic surgeon Dr Charles P Virden MD Reno Nevada (much# respect). This surgery may have just saved my life. #drcharlespvirdenmd #jeffbecerra”
We love Jeff and Possessed, and certainly mean no disrespect towards what we’re sure was a difficult process that took a lot of strength to live through — but fuck, how brutal does that sound? Entire pieces of flesh cut off, dead bone ground down, stitches and staples — goddamn if that isn’t as vivid and heavy a description of a surgery as one has ever heard. The fact that it saved the life of one of our favorite metal vocalists only adds to how intense it is.
We wish Jeff a swift recovery, and hope he and Possessed keep writing albums that are as punishing and awesome as 2019’s Revelations of Oblivion. To learn a little more about Possessed, check out our 35th anniversary feature on the incredible legacy and staying power of their classic album Seven Churches.
Words by Chris Krovatin