This is part review but really this is more of a thank you I suppose. I was contacted a while back via Twitter by a guitarist named James “JVV” Vasquenza Jr. who said his band was reissuing a 25th Anniversary edition of their debut album from 1989. I said I’d listen to it and review it. My assumption at the time was that these guys were some old band who had been slogging around for years.
As it turned out, this was a band that released an album when they were in their teens. “Admit One” was an indie release in 1989 which wasn’t done back then. The remix of it was done by the band’s drummer Don Gunn, who is a well respected producer and engineer in Seattle. The album sounded great. But what happened? One album 25 years ago and then POOF, they vanished.
I found out that they had been jamming together, so I asked if there would be new music. “Letters from the Skipper” is that first bit of music from Gaillion in 25 plus years. The follow single is “Backslide,” which is also great. But I need to talk about “Letters from the Skipper.”
At the end of the year, I pick my best albums of the year but I also pick my 5 favorite songs of the year. You can write down this song on that list. Why? Every time I hear it, I get goosebumps and that’s no bullshit. Musically, I hear 3 friends magically reconnecting like no time had passed. Don, JVV and the great vocalist and bassist Todd Howard sound like no one else but them. And it’s fucking beautiful.
Lyrically, part of this song deals with JVV being in those Twin Towers on 9/11. And yes it is more than that but guilt is one of the heaviest emotions. Why did you survive? Why did you leave someone behind? We’ve all felt that crippling guilt and this song has such power in conveying it eloquently. “I will pilot until my dying day.” We don’t change and maybe we shouldn’t.
I want to thank Don, Todd and my boy JVV for creating music again. I know you make it for yourselves like any great musician should. That’s why it resonates with others. That’s the truth and the belief that people gravitate to. Keep making music, guys. The world needs more bands like Gaillion to come back from the dead.