WHITESNAKE has recruited Joel Hoekstra (NIGHT RANGER) as its new guitarist following the departure of Doug Aldrich.
Says WHITESNAKE mainman David Coverdale: "One of the first, if not the first, guitarists to put his name forward after hearing that Doug Aldrich had left the band was an exceptionally talented musician whom we had met briefly last year when his band opened for WHITESNAKE in Arizona.
"Everyone was very impressed by him, not only for his ability to play amazing guitar, but, also his very agreeable personality and he was definitely foremost in our minds when we began to search for Doug's replacement in WHITESNAKE.
"We jammed together and were mutually impressed enough to ask him to join WHITESNAKE on the spot. This was May 30th. 2014.
"Joel is currently fulfilling his remaining tour dates with NIGHT RANGER.
"We sincerely thank you all for your patience and understanding… and so, without further ado, we ask you to welcome, as we have done, our exceptionally gifted new SNAKE brother... Joel Hoekstra... guitarist extraordinaire."
"We couldn't be happier for Joel," NIGHT RANGER said in a Facebook post announcing Hoekstra's departure from the band. "The last eight-plus years have been a blast, and we wish him nothing but the best."
Hoekstra appeared on two NIGHT RANGER studio efforts, 2011's "Somewhere In California" and the recently released "High Road", as well as on 2012's 30th-anniversary acoustic concert set "24 Strings & A Drummer".
Aldrich left WHITESNAKE on May 7, explaining in a statement that he "had several recording and live commitments, so [he] needed a more flexible schedule to conclude these before going full force as normal." He added: "Unfortunately, my schedule was not workable."
Coverdale recently revealed that WHITESNAKE was "deep into the pre-production of the new WHITESNAKE project, which is so exciting to me, it's beyond words."
Aldrich played on the last two WHITESNAKE studio albums, 2008's "Good To Be Bad" and 2011's "Forevermore", and appeared on several live releases, including last year's "Made In Japan" and "Made In Britain/The World Records".
Dutch guitarist Adrian Vandenberg, who was a member of WHITESNAKE during the band's successful late 1980s period, recently told the classic rock program "Radio Fireball" about the possibility of rejoining WHITESNAKE: "Never say never. David and I will always do something in the future, whether it's with the two of us acoustically or whether it's a blues album or a rock album or a tour. We are too good friends not to do it and we have too much fun working together. But it has to be next to [Adrian's current project] VANDENBERG'S MOONKINGS, not instead of."