WHITESNAKE guitarist Joel Hoekstra spoke to the "Ouch You're On My Hair" podcast about the decision to push back the projected release date of the band's new album, "Flesh & Blood", to next year. "A lot of it just has to do with how long it takes after you turn something in these days," he said. "We got set back by some issues with the board in [the studio] and then with actually the hard drive itself. Everything is cool, but it just set us back. So between that, and David [Coverdale, WHITESNAKE founder and frontman] having the nasty flu he had back when we shot the [first] video, we've had two kind of delays that are just enough to have us miss the turn-in dates."
He continued: "It takes the label [Frontiers Music Srl] four months to manufacture vinyl after you turn [the album] in, so you figure, from whenever you turn it in, and the mixes were really far along, we were pretty close, and still are. And then you go, 'Well, are we gonna put it out when we're not on tour or when we're right about to go on tour?' So I think, obviously, the choice would be when you're right about to go on tour.
"It's funny — speculation runs wild with all of it — but it's really just minor technical stuff that set us back a little bit, and everything's cool," Joel added. "But, obviously, to coordinate it with live dates, I think David thought probably it would be best if we wait until we're gearing out for the actual 'Flesh & Blood' tour next year. It is what it is. Trust me — all of us probably would have preferred to have it come out, but it's not unusual to have things go wrong, I guess, from time to time and set you back. So here we are."
Asked if he would agree with Coverdale's recent comment that "Flesh & Blood" is WHITESNAKE's best album ever, Joel said: "Honestly, I'd be insane to say something like that, because it's the first original album I've done with the band. Hey, man, we're just trying to make the best album we possibly can. I know David's really enthused about it; I think that's great that his enthusiasm is strong. But then again, I don't necessarily wanna put the ball on the tee for everybody to tear us apart if they have a favorite album over this current one. So it'll be what it'll be. A lot of it comes down to what songs David is gonna choose for it, 'cause we recorded, I think, 18 songs. I think, even with bonus tracks, we're probably only at 13 or 14 or something in terms of what will get released."
Regarding the musical direction of the new WHITESNAKE material, Joel said: "There's a little something there for all the WHITESNAKE fans. I mean, some of the stuff is kind of like the early era — a little more blues-based, with David singing kind of bluesy stuff. And there's the obligatory Geffen-era-sounding stuff, the kind of 'Slide It In'/'87 era, even a little bit of the 'Slip Of The Tongue' vibe. And then some of the stuff is kind of a little more along the lines of what was done on 'Good To Be Bad' or 'Forevermore'. And then some of it is just totally new territory. So it's a big mix of all the stuff, but all the classic WHITESNAKE elements are there. And hopefully everybody will dig it."
Hoekstra joined WHITESNAKE in 2014 following the departure of Doug Aldrich.
The Chicago native's résumé includes a long stint in NIGHT RANGER, as well as a gig as the touring guitarist for TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA.
Coverdale recently told SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation" that "Flesh & Blood" "has all the necessary WHITESNAKE elements that I need to call it WHITESNAKE, but with a vibrant, fresh coat of paint." The record will mark the first time he has written with WHITESNAKE guitarists Reb Beach and Hoekstra. "The longest-standing member of WHITESNAKE, Reb Beach, [he and I had] never written together until this project," he said. "So it's a family affair. It really is cool. I'm very excited for people to hear it."
WHITESNAKE filmed a music video for a new song called "Shut Up & Kiss Me" on March 10. "It's a kick-ass song; you're gonna love it," Coverdale told "Trunk Nation". "But there's gonna some real fun elements paying respect and nod to WHITESNAKE's past, but certainly not as dark and as gritty as [WHITESNAKE's] 'Burn' video [from 'The Purple Album']."
WHITESNAKE will embark on the "Juke Box Heroes Tour" this summer with FOREIGNER and Jason Bonham.