Tag: Joel Hoekstra

Guitarist Joel Hoekstra Talks ‘Purple,’ Whitesnake’s New Deep Purple Tribute Album

Shortly after Deep Purple keyboardist Jon Lord died in 2012, Whitesnake vocalist—and former Deep Purple frontman—David Coverdale reached out to guitarist Ritchie Blackmore about the possibility of working on a project together in Lord’s honor.

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Although both musicians were on different pages creatively at the time and couldn’t come to an agreement, the two former Deep Purple members were able to find closure, bury the hatchet on past grievances and move on.

Then Coverdale’s wife, Cindy, suggested that David pay tribute to Lord with Whitesnake. Now Whitesnake is about to unveil Purple, a new studio album that puts insanely good spins on Mark 3 and 4 Deep Purple classics and tastefully pays tribute to one of the pioneers of progressive rock.

Purple, which will be released May 19, also marks the debut of Whitesnake’s new guitarist, Joel Hoekstra, who recently replaced Doug Aldrich. Hoekstra’s resume includes Night Ranger, Trans Siberian Orchestra and Broadway’s Rock of Ages.

These days, Whitesnake includes Coverdale (lead vocals), Reb Beach (guitar), Hoekstra (guitar), Michael Devin (bass) and Tommy Aldridge (drums).

I recently spoke to Hoekstra about Purple and what it’s like being a part of Whitesnake.

What’s it been like to work with David Coverdale?

Working with David has been great! He’s rock royalty with all of these great stories about working with Jimmy Page and Ritchie Blackmore. He really understands music and was very gracious in the studio in allowing us to play what we wanted to play. Now, we’re gearing up for the other aspect—playing these songs live. You talk about songs that lend themselves well to live performance? These songs were written in live performance. It’s going to be exciting.

How did the Purple project begin?

The project actually began before I was even in Whitesnake. Shortly after Jon Lord passed away in 2012, David reached out to Ritchie. He just wanted to touch base with Ritchie and thank him for helping to jump-start his career. The two of them then went into discussions about doing something together in memory of Jon, but [as I hear it] they were on different pages. It was David’s wife, Cindy who then suggested that David do it with Whitesnake. It was a great concept and a total honor for me to be a part of.

Let’s discuss a few tracks from Purple, starting with “Lady Double Dealer.”

That was actually my audition for Whitesnake. I remember when I went out to Reno to meet the guys, that was the song they pulled up. They asked me what I would do for a solo. So I laid down a solo and then in the next section they started taking about a harmony solo and asked me to come up with something. So I wrote the solo that actually ended up making the record. Afterwards, they pretty much said, “Well, dude, come jam with us! Let’s do this!”

You can read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview With Joel Hoekstra By Clicking Here!

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Guitarist Joel Hoekstra Discusses His New Gig with Whitesnake

JoelHoekstra2Whether he’s performing as part of the Broadway musical Rock of Ages, touring with Trans-Siberian Orchestra every fall or jetting around the country for sessions and shows, Joel Hoekstra is one of the hardest-working guitarists you’re ever likely to meet.

And now he’s taken on another challenge.

It was recently announced that Hoekstra would be leaving his gig with Night Ranger to become the new guitarist in Whitesnake, replacing departing guitarist Doug Aldrich.

Hoekstra’s seven-year tenure with Night Ranger included three critically acclaimed albums and tours, not to mention being part of a killer one-two punch with guitar great Brad Gillis.

With Whitesnake, Hoesktra finds himself in a band whose ranks over the years also were filled by guitar royalty: John Sykes, Adrian Vandenberg, Vivian Campbell, Steve Vai, Doug Aldrich and Reb Beach. Hoekstra will join a Whitesnake lineup that includes David Coverdale (vocals), Reb Beach (guitar), Michael Devin (bass) and Tommy Aldridge (drums).

I recently caught up with Hoekstra and asked him about the new Whitesnake gig and also got a sneak peak into the band’s next album. I also asked him what he’ll miss most about his time with Night Ranger.

GUITAR WORLD: How did you first hear about the Whitesnake opportunity?

Oddly enough, Doug [Aldrich] and I are friends and were texting the night before the news came online. He didn’t mention anything about it to me at the time. All he said was there was some news coming. The next day, I woke up to hear Doug would be leaving Whitesnake.

How did you wind up getting the gig with the band?

I think it was a combination of me putting out some feelers and some people recommending me for it that led to me going out to meet with David at the end of May to hang/audition. That went well, so the next step was to go back in August to play on material for the upcoming Whitesnake album and to make sure it was going to be a good fit for both sides. At that point, I started to realize this was really happening.

You can read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Joel Hoekstra by Clicking Here!

Guitarists Joel Hoekstra and Tommy Kessler Discuss Their Roles in ‘Rock of Ages’ Musical

RockofAgesFor Joel Hoekstra and Tommy Kessler, it might be like being inside of a time warp.

Not only do the guitarists for Broadway’s Rock of Ages musical get to perform in the fictional Eighties band Arsenal night after night, but separately, they play music from that same era, even when not performing on the Broadway stage.

Kessler’s other “day job” includes working alongside Debbie Harry in Blondie, while Hoekstra continues to record and tour with Night Ranger and is about to start his fourth winter tour with Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

I spoke to Hoekstra and Kessler about Rock of Ages and some of their other projects.

GUITAR WORLD: What are some of the differences between performing as part of Night Ranger and Blondie, as compared to Rock of Ages?

JOEL HOEKSTRA: With Night Ranger, it’s all about playing the classic songs/solos and entertaining the audience with an energetic performance. With Rock of Ages, people are there for a humorous, entertainment experience, not a serious rock show. My approach to that is campier because it’s more in the spirit of the show. People are just there to have a good time. In Night Ranger, I use EVH iii amps. With RoA, I play through a Fractal Axe-FX Ultra.

TOMMY KESSLER: The main difference performing-wise is that when Blondie plays a show, it’s six of us doing a rock show and it’s song after song. We’re all featured at any given moment. With Rock of Ages, there’s a story going on in front of the band. We are on stage the entire time because Arsenal is the house band of the Bourbon Room, but the story goes in and out of the Bourbon Room so there is a lot of time we are in the dark and not playing music.

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Read the rest of my Guitar World interview with
Joel Hoekstra and Tommy Kessler by Clicking Here

Guitarist Tommy Kessler Talks New Blondie Album, Networking and ‘Rock of Ages’

Debbie Harry & Tommy Kessler (Photo: Emma Blackband)
Debbie Harry & Tommy Kessler (Photo: Emma Blackband)

Guitarist Tommy Kessler is living proof that hard work pays off.

Not only does his work ethic allow Kessler to travel the world as part of Blondie, but there’s also the matter of his other “day job.” To date, Kessler (along with Night Ranger guitarist Joel Hoekstra) has performed considerably more than 1,000 shows as part of the Broadway musical Rock of Ages.

My recent discussion with Kessler included an update on the next Blondie album and info about his stints with Broadway’s Rock of Ages and Blue Man Group. Kessler also explained why networking is so important for professional guitarists.

GUITAR WORLD: What’s happening with the next Blondie album?

It’s called Ghosts of Download, and it will be released in November. The album is very electronic. Chris [Stein, guitarist] is influenced a lot by South American music, so a lot of the songs have that theme going on. The first single, “A Rose By Any Name,” has already been released. The artwork for the album is especially cool and there’s also something else on the album that fans will like (especially those who like to read everything and go on the Internet). There’s a little Easter egg on there that they’ll enjoy.

gw_logoRead the rest of my Guitar World interview with Tommy Kessler by Clicking Here!

Guitar World: Joel Hoekstra Update on New Night Ranger Album

Joel Hoekstra and Brad Gillis of Night Ranger
Joel Hoekstra and Brad Gillis of Night Ranger

Whether he’s performing as part of the hit Broadway musical Rock of Ages or jetting around the country for Night Ranger recording sessions and shows, Joel Hoekstra is easily one the hardest-working guitarists you’re likely to meet.

In addition to his aforementioned commitments, Hoekstra finds time to tour every fall with Trans Siberian Orchestra.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Night Ranger’s monster 1983 album, Midnight Madness, and Hoekstra and the rest of the band — Jack Blades, Brad Gillis, Kelly Keagy and Eric Levy — are excited to celebrate it by recording a new album and performing more headlining shows.

I recently caught up with Hoekstra, who told me how Night Ranger’s new album is coming along and his other musical projects.

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You can check out the rest of my Guitar World interview with Joel and watch videos of him working his magic by Clicking Here.