Steve Vai On How Fooling Around With Nikki Sixx Led To A Collaboration

After releasing his latest album ‘Vai/Gash,’ Steve Vai talked about its background in an interview with Louder. The guitarist explained why he waited so long to share the album with the public and how one of the songs in the album was created thanks to Nikki Sixx.

Steve Vai wrote and recorded the album with Johnny ‘Gash’ Sombrotto in 1991, seven years before the latter lost his life due to a motorcycle accident. That incident caused the album, which included a collaboration with Nikki Sixx, to be shelved and remain unreleased until January 2023.

In a recent interview, Vai recalled why he kept the album hidden for decades and expressed that he was broken by Gash’s death, as the two were close friends. He also stated that the album would be lost in the 90s as ‘rock music was getting devoured.’ So, he ‘sat on it’ and waited until he and the industry were ready.

The musician narrated his feelings about the album and his friend’s loss as follows:

“When John was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1998, I was just so disheartened. I put the project on the shelf. I created a blank about the whole period. Also, it was getting into the nineties, and rock music was getting devoured. It would’ve been like throwing it to the wolves. So I just sat on it. But I kept listening to it, just enjoying the simplicity, the melodies, his voice. I thought: ‘Well, now’s a good time.‘”

Vai added to his story by depicting how one of the songs on the album, ‘New Generation,’ was created. He told Louder that he and Nikki Sixx came together years ago and ‘fooled around,‘ which resulted in a song. Later, Vai recorded the song as a demo with Gash on vocals and included it in ‘Vai/Gash.’

The guitarist’s words on the matter read:

“Myself and John’s brother and girlfriend got together and pulled this thing out of the weeds. Before he died, I only had eight tracks. One of them, New Generation, I wrote with Nikki Sixx. We got together once, many years ago, fooled around, wrote a song. I demoed it and put Gash on vocals, and I ended up putting that on the record too.”

‘Vai/Gash’ remained hidden until Steve Vai was ready to share the work of Johnny ‘Gash’ Sombrotto and himself with the public. The eight-track album included a collaboration with Nikki Sixx and a picture of Gash on the cover to honor his memory and contribution.