WHITESNAKE guitarist Joel Hoekstra spoke to "The Pure Rock Shop" on WNJR 91.7 FM about the band's upcoming album, "Flesh & Blood", which is now scheduled to arrive early next year. "It's exciting," he said. "First album of original music from the [current lineup of the] band. Obviously, when I joined, [our initial release] was 'The Purple Album', which was playing stuff that David [Coverdale, WHITESNAKE frontman] wrote with DEEP PURPLE. This is super cool. I got to do some writing on it. And we're very excited about getting it out there. It's got all the elements that WHITESNAKE has had over the years. It's just a matter of what songs David is gonna select for the album, actually, 'cause we had too much material — I think 18 songs we wrote. So we'll see which ones he picks out and sequences. But we're all very excited about it."
Hoekstra previously told the "Ouch You're On My Hair" podcast that "minor technical stuff" led to the decision to push back the projected release date of "Flesh & Blood" to 2019. "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," he said. "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."
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 recently embarked on the "Juke Box Heroes Tour" with FOREIGNER and Jason Bonham.