Steve Vai’s latest album, Vai/Gash, is slated for CD and digital release on January 27 via Favored Nations/Mascot Label Group. A vinyl LP will follow on February 24.
In the runup, Vai has put out a trio of singles beginning with “In the Wind,” followed by “Busted” and now “She Saved My Life Tonight.”
Written and recorded in 1991 with Vai’s late friend, singer Johnny “Gash” Sombrotto, the guitarist states his intention was to make an album of rock music that he related to biker culture.
Upon meeting vocalist Gash, Vai says they “hit it off instantly,” becoming good friends while bonding over motorcycles.
“At first sight, many people could be taken by his bald head, scarred neck and burnt-off ear,” recalls the maestro. “Looking as he did and riding a Harley it was easy to assume he was perhaps a tough, menacing biker with a nefarious attitude.”
However, Vai remembers Gash with nothing but admiration and affection: “He endeared people with his wit, warmth, and sparkle.”
When Vai began working in the studio with Gash he was immediately taken aback by what he heard.
“Something in me wanted to get him in the studio and see how he would belt over these biker type songs I had demoed,” he recollects, “but nothing could have prepared me for the voice that came out of his mouth… I was stunned.”
Although Vai maintains Gash was the “greatest rock lead singer you would ever want to know,” tragedy struck in 1998 when the vocalist was killed in a bike accident.
Dishearted, Vai shelved the recordings, though he would return to them yearly upon the anniversary of Gash’s passing.
But then something compelled him to put the Vai/Gash record out.
“I wish you would have had a chance to get to know John,” says Vai. “I believe you would have loved him just as we all did.”
Order Steve Vai's Vai/Gash here.
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Rod Brakes is a music journalist with an expertise in guitars. Having spent many years at the coalface as a guitar dealer and tech, Rod's more recent work as a writer covering artists, industry pros and gear includes contributions for leading publications and websites such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Guitar World, Guitar Player and MusicRadar in addition to specialist music books, blogs and social media. He is also a lifelong musician.