Initially, Stinson began writing and recording songs at his home studio in the late 90's without the intention of making a record.Frank Black, of the Pixies, gave Stinson the use of his mobile recording studio and his studio space for free. For the album recording, Stinson brought in producer Philip Broussard to co-produce the album.
Stinson played most of the instruments on the album, with the exception of drums, but featured contributions by Guns N' Roses band mates Richard Fortus and Dizzy Reed, who contributed guitars and keyboards respectively, along with drummers Gersh, who played with Stinson in Perfect, and Josh Freese, who was also previously a member of Guns N' Roses, as well as Josh's brother Jason, who provided saxophone, and Dave Philips, also of Perfect, providing guitar and pedal steel.
For the tour supporting the album, Stinson enlisted Alien Crime Syndicate to not only be his support act during the tour, but also his backing band during the shows:
'I've been a fan of Joe's music since I met him almost ten years ago. I heard the demos as he was going in to make ACS a band. They can sing and they're a really good rock band and all that stuff. They were really into it and they have their own van and trailer, which made it all the more appealing. So far we haven't had a bad gig yet. Which has been totally awesome.'
Previously, rock group The Figgs supported Stinson, prior to the records release, however "it logistically wouldn't work out with The Figgs."
Initial critical response to Village Gorilla Head was mainly positive. Mark Deming, of Allmusic, gave the album 3.5 stars out of 5 stating "There's just enough good stuff on Village Gorilla Head to remind listeners of the scruffy kid with the flawless rock instincts they knew as Tommy Stinson, but at the same time there's a bunch of stuff suggesting that maturity and a more serious outlook are taking a toll upon him." John D. Luerssen, of Rolling Stone, gave the album 3 stars stating "Stinson's first real solo disc is a stunning achievement" and "No matter that Village took five years to build, these are concise, consistently great songs that suddenly find Stinson in the same league with players like Ryan Adams and Josh Rouse." RJ Smith, of Blender, described the album as "full of loud and introspective pop shaped into bittersweet songs that evoke Big Star and Cheap Trick."