Sonic Perspectives recently conducted an interview with WHITESNAKE guitarist Joel Hoekstra. You can listen to the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the writing process for WHITESNAKE's upcoming studio album, "Flesh & Blood":
Joel: "Most of the songs would start with an idea from David [Coverdale, vocals]. Then he would either ask Reb [Beach, guitar] or myself or sometimes both of us where we would build it out too. Some of the ideas began with Reb's riffs or my riffs and we would build it up from there. It was sort of a mix of the three of us putting our creative heads together and we got a really cool mix, I think, that represents this era of WHITESNAKE really well."
On what era of WHITESNAKE he used as a songwriting template:
Joel: "It's whether or not David says yes or no to ideas. Whatever he thinks is right for WHITESNAKE, basically. If you play him something and it's not right — he's real quick and real honest, and we have a great relationship in that way. It's so much better than going down a road with something someone really doesn't care about or they know it's not going to make an album. It's very direct, very quick and very amicable and great and just creative and David's a really creative guy. He writes really quickly and it's an honor to be a part of it."
On joining the band before the recording of 2015's "The Purple Album", a reimagining of DEEP PURPLE classics from Coverdale's time in that band:
Joel: "David said what they were doing and what they were working on. I thought it was a great opportunity to join the band, make an album and go on tour and support it. I wasn't too hung up on whether or not I was going to write it or anything like that. It was still a creative endeavor. Reb had basically played the one guitar part that was on most of the DEEP PURPLE songs. I had to work it out as many keyboards — I had to think about 'What would a second guitar part be?' a lot of times. People don't really understand how much some of those songs were reimagined from the originals. It was more creative than people give it credit for."
On splitting the guitar duties with Beach:
Joel: "We know each other pretty well now. We've been playing together about four or five years. As far as solos go, usually Reb will pick out what he wants to play over and he's got things that he prefers to jam over than others. Honestly, I kind of don't. I'm just happy to play on anything. That's the way that works. As far as like rhythms go, we just try to have each of us play on each of the songs so it sounds like a Les Paul or a Super Strat essentially playing on every song and yeah, that's basically the way it works. Even live, Reb picks out what solos he wants to do and I do the rest. It's great. We got a good working relationship. He's real easy to work with."
On whether he ever thinks about the lineage of WHITESNAKE guitar players that includes Doug Aldrich, Vivian Campbell, Adrian Vandenberg, Mel Galley and John Sykes:
Joel: "It's just an honor to be a part of that. When it comes to the day-to-day end of it, it's more about doing the best you can do. That's the bottom line. I don't wake up every day thinking about all the guitar players that have been through the band. I just wake up every day trying to make sure I work hard and I'm true to myself in terms of just giving my best effort and that's for the fans and for David and for myself."
On the lessons learned from being in a band with Coverdale:
Joel: "It's hard to pinpoint anything. David's really great at focusing on positive energy and being a positive guy. That's something that you can really start to notice if you're bringing a negative energy with you. You kind of learn to spot that in yourself and go, 'Okay. Don't do that. There's no reason to be…' He's very positive-minded and I've definitely learned from him in that department."
"Flesh & Blood" will be released on May 10 via Frontiers Music Srl. The disc follows the 2011 critically acclaimed studio album "Forevermore" and "The Purple Album".
Joining Coverdale on "Flesh & Blood" is the powerhouse band comprised of Hoekstra and Beach on guitar, Michael Devin on bass, Tommy Aldridge on drums and Michele Luppi on keyboards.