Home Read Albums Of The Week: Steve Vai | Vai / Gash

Albums Of The Week: Steve Vai | Vai / Gash

Get your motor runnin', head out on the highway — and blast this newly unearthed set of vintage ’90s guitar-rock jams by the six-string virtuoso and a talented vocalist.

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “This record was written and recorded in somewhat of a stream of consciousness in 1991 within perhaps a two-week period as an answer to my desire to have a particular kind of music to listen to when I was riding my Harley-Davidson motorcycle with my friends,” explains virtuoso guitarist Steve Vai in the liner notes to Vai / Gash, an album he recorded in 1991 with his friend, the late singer Johnny “Gash” Sombrotto. “It’s reminiscent of a certain type of rock music I enjoyed as a teenager in the 1970s. These recordings sat on the shelf for over 30 years and are being released now in 2023.”

From his teenage years on Long Island, to today, Vai has openly shared his love of motorcycles. Queens native Gash shared that passion. In 1991, they joined up for these old-school rock recordings.

“Something in me wanted to get him in the studio and see how he would belt over these biker type songs I had demoed,” Vai says, “but nothing could have prepared me for the voice that came out of his mouth. I had to think, of course he sounds like that because that’s him — confident, authentic, fearless but with a light-hearted intention. This was the voice I wanted to hear wailing over these slamming rock tracks. I was stunned.”

Sadly, Sombrotto — who had already survived a horrific 1997 motorcycle crash that left him with a partial left ear and layers of skin grafts over his neck, arms, legs and chest — perished in another bike mishap in 1998, stopping the project in its tracks.

“He would have absolutely been the greatest rock lead singer you would ever want to know,” Vai says. “All the elements were in place, but he was gone. Disheartened, I put the entire project on the shelf, and would listen to it at least once a year for the past 30 years, especially around the anniversary of his passing. Then recently something compelled me to want to put it out now. I wish you would have had a chance to get to know John. I believe you would have loved him just as we all did. For now, he is In the Wind.”