Recorded during two weeks in 1991, Vai/Gash is a collaboration between Steve Vai and late singer Johnny “Gash” Sombrotto, expressing their fondness for the rockin’ tunes of their youth and Harley Davidson culture.
Sombrotto was an inspiring figure in Vai’s life who died in a 1998 motorcycle accident. After shelving the project for 30 years, Vai decided to release this album in honor of his dearly departed friend.
Recorded between Vai’s early-’90s Passion and Warfare and Sex & Religion albums, this eight-song opus is reminiscent of his work with David Lee Roth and Whitesnake – a throwback to a time when heavy rock and roll was extroverted, superficial, and filled with manic screams, pinch harmonics, whammy abuse, volume swells, and other Vai earmarks.
Rockin’ ditties like “In The Wind,” “Busted,” and “She Saved My Life Tonight” sound like demos for David Lee Roth, while “Danger Zone” and “New Generation” showcase Vai’s short, but sweet six-string pentatonic aggression. Sombrotto was a charismatic hard-rock vocalist in the DLR mold; while his life and career were cut short, Vai/Gash is a heartfelt document of what could have been.
This article originally appeared in VG’s April 2023 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.