STEVE VAI - Vai/Gash

February 15, 2023, 9 months ago

(Favored Nations / Mascot)

Greg Prato

Rating: 7.0

review hard rock steve vai

STEVE VAI - Vai/Gash

Throughout the course of rock history, there have been various albums which were completed or nearly completed, and for whatever reason, were ultimately shelved…before eventually, seeing the light of day. Case in point, Beach Boys’ Smile, Neil Young’s Homegrown, Prince’s Black Album, etcetera. But in the cases of those aforementioned releases, there was at least some knowledge of its existence over the years – which turned out not to be the case with the surprise vault release from Steve Vai, entitled Vai/Gash.

The story goes that in the early ‘90s, Vai – who is a motorcycle enthusiast – befriended and began riding with a group of bikers, including a gentleman by the name of Johnny ‘Gash’ Sombrotto. Having a hunch that Sombrotto (who nearly died years earlier when most of his body was severely burned in an accident) would be able to sing rock music, he enlisted him to vocalize on a set of tunes Vai had penned to recreate the kind of feel-good/carefree rock music he enjoyed as a teenager. 

However, Vai ultimately chose to put the project on the backburner, and after Sombrotto passed away in 1998 (from a motorcycle accident), it appeared to be permanently shelved. However, sometime in 2022, the guitarist had a change of heart, and seemingly out of nowhere, the tunes were compiled for the new release, Vai/Gash (the latter of whom is solely featured on the album’s cover). Stylistically and vibe-wise, the tunes on the album reflect the then-still thriving hair metal genre – particularly on such party hearty selections as “In The Wind” and “Danger Zone.” And elsewhere, you’ll find the surprisingly blues rock-y “Woman Fever,” and a tune that musically sounds more a kin to the material featured on the 1990 Vai classic, Passion And Warfare – “Flowers Of Fire.”

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