Robert Becerra of early SST band the Stains has died

Robert Becerra, guitarist for the ’70s/’80s-era LA punk/hardcore band the Stains, has died at age 64 from liver cancer. A post on the band’s Facebook reads:

It is with great and heartbreaking sadness to announce that we lost our beloved Robert Becerra yesterday to liver cancer. He was a true fighter and fought til the very end. We will always have him in our hearts and his music and legacy will live on. He is going to be rocking in in heaven. Sending peace and love to his friends and fans.

Rock on Robert, Thanks for the music and inspiring many along the way.

December 17, 1958- September 1, 2023

Formed in 1976, the Stains were one of the first LA punk bands, and they’re credited with helping to bridge the gap between punk/hardcore and heavy metal. Their 1983 debut album came out on Black Flag’s SST Records and was produced by the label’s legendary in-house producer, SPOT (who passed away earlier this year). As detailed in Jim Ruland’s book Corporate Rock Sucks: The Rise and Fall of SST Records, Becerra’s guitar playing was an influence on Greg Ginn’s work on the later Black Flag albums, and Ginn also sold Becerra the Ibanez Flying V that Ginn used to record the Nervous Breakdown EP, for $200. According to SPOT, Becerra had never used a whammy bar until the day the Stains’ LP was recorded.

Talking to Revolver about the band in 2021, Eyehategod’s Mike IX Williams said, “Aggressive, manic and twisted, these guys definitely didn’t get the recognition they deserve, but the people that know, know. A self-titled piece of pissed-off punk-metal genius that was far ahead of its time and another record from my formative years that’s stayed glued to every turntable I’ve ever stole.”

Jim Ruland is also among those who have paid tribute to Becerra since his passing, calling him “massively influential but under-appreciated.”

Rest in peace, Robert.

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