David Coverdale and Whitesnake, two things that go together as well as peanut butter and jelly. The recently inducted Hall of Famer comes into the area for a greatest hits tour at the end of the month showcasing his 30-plus years of his second band Whitesnake which, like his first band Deep Purple, will one day be inducted as well. For now, he continues to tour and perform the songs that have made Whitesnake an elite in the upper echelon of bands, all while getting the best musicians to collaborate with him. One of those musicians, guitarist Joel Hoekstra, took a moment to speak with me about the current Whitesnake Greatest Hits tour. Hoekstra, who spent just over seven years in Night Ranger before joining Whitesnake, also worked with Paul O’Neill in Trans Siberian Orchestra, Jeff Scott Soto, and Nelson. He also has his own band, 13, which we got to talk about as well.
Shockwave Magazine: How has the tour been so far?
Joel Hoekstra: It’s been great. The set list is really far and away the best set of music I’ve ever had the opportunity to play. Every song is recognizable and killer. I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to do this and we have a great line up out on stage. I mean, David Coverdale is basically rock royalty, Tommy Aldridge on drums is a living legend himself, so for me to get the chance to play with these guys out here is a blast. I got nothing bad to say about the experience.
Can you give me a hint about the set list and what you will be playing?
It’s a greatest hits thing. Mainly people in the states know all the Geffen releases like Slide It In and the self-titled release so the focus is pretty much there. It may change a bit when we go to Europe because the hits are defined a little differently over there. So we will see. It’s all up to David what we play where (laughing.)
Are there any plans after the tour to go in the studio?
I don’t really know as of yet. That’s David’s call and I don’t know if he even knows, to be honest with you, in this stage of the game. He has definitely been toying with the idea of retirement and also toying with the idea of recording. It’s all up to him where he wants to head with everything, and I don’t know if he even honestly knows yet. He’s out here enjoying playing and enthused with this lineup of musicians out here. We all get along great and play well. David is really happy. We are all going to make it difficult for him to hang it up.
That was my next question. How is he? How are his pipes? He does turn 65 this year.
So far it’s like he has taken a big swim in the fountain of youth with the time off from the Purple tour to now so and he’s singing great. He’s a great guy to work for and great to me personally.
Between all of the guitarists in the past of Whitesnake, in your opinion, who’s stuff has been the most fun to play if there is one? Vai? Vandenberg?
I don’t necessarily look at it that way. I look it at that I am very fortunate to be doing any of the playing (laughing.) I mean, in my mind, I just want to play the music as best I can, whether its simple rhythm guitar or the lead. It’s just about making sure the music is played as best you can and putting on a show in the process. I like to play a high energy show. I want to give a show to the fans who pay to come out to see us because they deserve it.
How is it playing with Reb (Beach)?
Reb is great. A lot of people don’t know how good he really is. The most fun is playing these rhythms with him. I really get off locking these riffs with Reb and its great. I have a blast with him.
Will there be anymore 13 albums or maybe a show in the future when the Whitesnake tour is over?
To get that lineup that is on the album obviously takes money and availability to play because those guys are all busy with their bands or what not. I am trying to hook up right now the first live performance of 13 on the Monsters of Rock Cruise in February of 2017 which seems a long way away, but it will come up quick enough in its own way. There also has been some preliminary discussions with Frontiers (Records) about a follow-up album but we will see how that unfolds in the near future.
Now I assume you just heard about the shootings in Orlando, correct?
In your opinion, when you get up and play on stage, especially in this day and age, is something like the Orlando or Paris incidents in the back of your head? Because unfortunately when I go to shows now, I personally look around the room now. I want to safe.
It’s not on my mind at all. I mean, last year we played Brussels right after it was locked down because of threats, but never when I am on stage. Its not my mind set. It can’t be. I wouldn’t be giving it my best out there if I did. And to be honest, if I had to go out (laughs) there are worse ways to go out other than rocking out on stage. I don’t think about it much. Yes, those were very tragic things and lives were lost but the odds of it happening to you, at least the math part of it, you can’t let that get to you when you are on stage.
Coverdale, Hoekstra, and crew play The Fillmore in Silver Spring, Maryland on June 29, with the recently reunited Whitford/St.Holmes (Aerosmith and Ted Nugent respectfully) opening the show. This will be the only show in the area for Whitesnake, so get out and see a legend. It might be your last chance.
For remaining Whitesnake Greatest Hits Tour 2016 dates, click here.