Tag: Tommy Kessler

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.


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!