Steve Vai and Favored Nations / Mascot Label Group release VAI / GASH digitally and on CD today. The vinyl album will follow on February 24. He shares, “Vai / Gash was written and recorded in somewhat of a stream of consciousness in 1991 within perhaps a 2-week period as an answer to my desire to have a particular kind of music to listen to when I was riding my Harley Davison Motorcycle with my friends. One of those friends was John ‘Gash’ Sombrotto, who is the powerful singer on this record. It’s reminiscent of a certain type of rock music I enjoyed as a teenager in the 1970’s. These recordings sat on the shelf for over 30 years and are being released now in 2023.” The three songs presented in to the release are “She Saved My Life Tonight” “In The Wind,” (https://youtu.be/AkbnEj2yDw0) and “Busted”
John “Gash” Sombrotto was born in Queens, New York and as a youth was an avid motorcycle enthusiast. In 1977 at the age of 21, he endured a serious accident that caused his body to catch fire while plunging 30 feet onto a barbed wire fence. Vai wrote in the liner notes, “The doctors told his family that he had third degree burns over 60% of his body, and that if he even survived, there was a strong possibility that he would lose his right arm and left leg. While in the Burn Unit, he endured excruciating pain, especially when given the intense daily cycle of hot baths for his burns. He soldiered on, and after a month he was finally discharged from the hospital. Luckily, no limbs were amputated. He was, however, left with a partial left ear and layers of skin grafts over his neck, arms, legs, and entire chest. The stories he told about his recovery and the excruciating pain involved were crushingly gut wrenching. But he survived, and eventually thrived again. He made his way out to Los Angeles in 1982 and got right back up on his motorcycle.”
Vai met John through a mutual friend, Mark Cimino. They bonded over biker culture, and he choose the name “Gash” as a nickname. Vai wrote, “…I’ve observed many people interacting with him on our numerous motorcycle road trips and other adventures. At first sight, many people could be taken by his bald head, scarred neck and burnt-off ear. Looking as he did and riding a Harley it was easy to assume he was perhaps a tough, menacing biker with a nefarious attitude, but after engaging with him for even a minute, his charm and magnetic charisma had them laughing in their shoes and completely enjoying his uplifting presence. He endeared people with his wit, warmth, and sparkle. John hit it off instantly with the most unlikely of people of every age, color, size, political or sexual persuasions. He was non superficial and never judged people. This allowed his engaging personality and intoxicating charm to draw you in. Under all those scars was a bold and fearlessly warm heart that can be seen in his disarming and big soft blue eyes.”
Steve Vai will resume the Inviolate World Tour in Europe this March. On the 24th, he’ll commence the tour in Lisbon, Portugal and wrap that run on May 7 in Helsinki, Finland.
“In the Wind” official video here: