So what do we have here?
It’s an album Jim, but not as we know it ….
This is not your stereotypical Steve Vai album, Flexible this is not, Passion & Warfare this is not, but what it is, is a cracking collection of old-school sunset-strip style anthems that catch that vibe perfectly. This album was a side project by Mr Vai and his good friend Johnny to create a soundtrack that would accompany them on the road on their bikes, it is an album that started with 8 tracks and sadly never managed to get any further by the then tragic loss of Johnny before Steve and he managed to get it through to its conclusion. Johnny had already overcome so much in his life surviving a horrific bike accident years before which only galvanised his passion for life and his love of the bike more than ever.
Vai/Gash is a biker’s dream. A collection of songs that the one, the only Mr Steve Vai penned way back in 1990 when his love for all things two wheels collided with that of his friend Johnny “Gash” Sombrotto. What you have is a time-capsule of eight tracks laid down by Vai/Gash back then as their love for bikes overflowed out onto the floor and an album of 80’s hair-metal-infused rock was born.
From the album’s opener “In The Wing” with its DLR-Esque wailing vocals opening the track you get a good idea of what you are in for. This is a snapshot in time of an era of songwriting that flooded the airwaves back then, rock was king and all things hair metal and glam metal shone like a beacon, so it would be easy to judge a collection of songs like these too harshly today if you don’t apply the context of when and why they were written, there is always a lot of excitement around a Steve Vai release but I can equally imagine the wave of WTF around this album also some 30 years on looking back at the moment in time.
That aside, you have eight highly melodic tracks with killer riffs supplied by one of the greatest rock guitarists ever to walk this planet to date, blistering guitar solos that a mere mortal like myself could only wish to replicate or write and hefty vocals laid down by Johnny ‘Gash’ Sombrotto that would put many to shame. Take this one for a test drive and make your own mind up, as a guitarist and a lover of all things Vai, I dig it.
VAI / GASH
CD and Digital out on 27 January 2023
LP out on 24 February 2023
Via Favored Nations / Mascot Label Group
1. In the Wind
3. Let’s Jam
4. Woman Fever
5. She Saved My Life Tonight
6. Danger Zone
7. New Generation
8. Flowers of Life
180gr Black LP
Blue Marble LP (web exclusive)
Listen to “In The Wind” here: