WHITESNAKE guitarist Joel Hoekstra spoke to That Just Happened about the band's upcoming album, "Flesh & Blood", which is now scheduled to arrive early next year. "I contributed riffs," he said. "Some of the songs, I wrote all of the riffs and others I just wrote sections of. Obviously, with David [Coverdale, WHITESNAKE frontman], when you're writing, lyrics and vocal melodies are gonna be his territory. So it's a little bit different than my writing on 'Dying To Live' [the debut album from Joel's side project JOEL HOEKSTRA'S 13], where I kind of wrote everything. This is contributing guitar stuff for him to sing over. So, yeah, like I said, some of it, all of the music behind it was mine, and then others, it's just sections. So I think I have about eight or nine co-writes, or something like that, out of all of it."
Asked how he manages to stay true to the WHITESNAKE sound while composing music for the band but still incorporating his own flavor into the guitar playing, Hoekstra said: "Well, that's gonna happen regardless, just 'cause people play like themselves. I've never really taken the attitude of trying to be anybody else, and David doesn't want us to — he just wants us to play like ourselves. He'll pull what he thinks fits best with WHITESNAKE out of you, and we're on the same page 95 percent of the time; I'll play a part idea or something, and David almost always will like it and say that's a good fit. On occasion, he'll just say, 'Nah, not for WHITESNAKE.' But for the most part, we're on the same page — almost all the time."
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."
WHITESNAKE filmed a music video for a new song called "Shut Up & Kiss Me" on March 10.
The band spent the summer on the road as part of the "Juke Box Heroes Tour" with FOREIGNER and Jason Bonham.
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.