From standing in in FOREIGNER to standing tall with WHITESNAKE now, it’s surprising that Joel Hoekstra‘s not a household name within a classic rock community but a musicians’ musician – yet the situation’s been rapidly changing lately. The final milestone for the guitarist to upturn is to be let out in October, when Hoekstra’s new project, 13, will release their debut album, and it’s not an instrumental one, as its predecessors were, with lead voices provided by Jeff Scott Soto and Russell Allen and rhythm section comprised of Tony Franklin and Vinny Appice, while keyboards are handled by guesting Derek Sherinian. Although the song list is kept under wraps currently, Joel opened up a bit about it all.
When DME asked Hoekstra whether it was his stint with WHITESNAKE that made him go for a full-song approach, the guitarist says:
“This was something that was in the works before I even joined WHITESNAKE. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while. It’s taken a bit of time due to all of the musicians’ schedules, but now there’s a light at the end of the tunnel!”
How did he select the players and singers this time? Was there a temptation to invite David Coverdale, too?
“I had worked with Tony Franklin on the VHF project and was blown away by his playing and professionalism. So I talked to him first and he recommended getting Vinny Appice on drums, who I’ve always been a fan of. Then I began searching for the right singer and, lo and behold, TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA, who I toured with, hired Russell Allen. I checked him out on YouTube and was blown away. After having Jeff Scott Soto sing background to Russell’s tracks, I thought it would be great to flip the script and have Jeff sing lead on some as well. Then Derek Sherinian came on board and played all the right parts for the songs.”
Apparently, Joel’s not superstitious, but why “13”? That’s where he becomes slyly ambiguous:
“That’s really something that’s best left open to interpretation. It can mean whatever the listener wants it to mean.”