WHITESNAKE guitarist Joel Hoekstra recently spoke with Cameron Buchholtz of the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma radio station 100.5 The KATT. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the band's rigorous touring schedule:
Joel: "That's something that David Coverdale still likes. He still enjoys production rehearsals and heading out with our own gear, and he still loves to make new music... All that stuff really comes from the same point of love with him, because financially, he's set for life – he could retire today — but he just loves the process and loves getting out there with us."
On the extent of his involvement with the group's forthcoming album, "Flesh & Blood":
Joel: "Obviously, for David to have me in as a co-writer on a lot of the songs was an honor, and to be brought in as co-producer for the big picture kind of stuff, I just think they figured out I had more to say than, 'Turn my guitar up,' and they trusted me a little bit more along the way. It's the next step for me in WHITESNAKE... It's my job coming in here to make him want to come in to work, make him want to keep going and do the best I can with that."
On whether it was "intimidating" to write with Coverdale:
Joel: "Thankfully, the relationship has been there for a few years now, so I feel like there's a good friendship. The lines of communication are really clear with us, so that was really... I guess not that intimidating in a way. The only thing that's intimidating is [that] he moves quick. He'll have an idea and say where we can go with this, and the first thing you come up with has to be good. You can't really meander and say, 'Give me a minute — let me find something.' He likes to write quick. Intimidating might be the wrong word, but you've got to be on the ball. He's had a history of great musicians in WHITESNAKE, so having the opportunity to join in that is an honor. It just comes down to doing your best every time out with whatever it is you're doing. In this business, you have to — otherwise, you're not going to make it."
On why he left NIGHT RANGER:
Joel: "WHITESNAKE is a bigger band than NIGHT RANGER — definitely internationally... The catalog for WHITESNAKE was probably a big thing — just how many great songs there are in the catalog. The opportunity to work with David Coverdale and Tommy Aldridge and Reb Beach — legendary players in the business, and [to] get out internationally and get showcased more on guitar. There's a history of great players, and David's really great about showcasing his players, so that's a big factor in it as well."
On his other musical endeavors:
Joel: "I still do TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA in November [and] December, and I've been touring with Cher as well in all the gaps, basically. She's had me in as her guitar player for a couple years now... It's one of those things in your career that you never would have seen coming. It's not like I picked up a guitar as a kid and went, 'Some day, I'm going to be in Cher's band.' Nobody in our genre really thought of that, but it's also been a blessing. All the players are great players, and they're really fun people to work with. Her shows are really big — she's been doing an arena tour, and it's 18,000-20,000 people a show, so it's also got me a whole lot of new fans, which is cool. I'm having a good time."
"Flesh & Blood" will be released on May 10 via Frontiers Music Srl. The disc follows the 2011 critically acclaimed studio album "Forevermore" and 2015's "The Purple Album", a reimagining of DEEP PURPLE classics from Coverdale's time in that band.
Joining Coverdale on "Flesh & Blood" is the powerhouse band comprised of Hoekstra and Beach on guitar, Michael Devin on bass, Aldridge on drums and Michele Luppi on keyboards.