Interview with Joel Hoekstra of Whitesnake By Thomas Amoriello Jr.
Posted by NinaBRR on January 07 2020 17:00:35

Number One Hired Gun

Interview with Joel Hoekstra of Whitesnake

By Thomas Amoriello Jr.

Boston Rock Radio



New York based guitarist extraordinaire Joel Hoekstra first came to light as the main six stringer in the Broadway musical Rock of Ages.  Later stints as a member of Night Ranger and sub work with Foreigner led to a gig with Whitesnake while juggling spots with Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Cher.  When does this guy sleep?  Anyone who has ever witnessed any of these groups with Joel on the stage can attest to his sheer brilliance.  Boston Rock Radio would like to thank Joel Hoektra for this exclusive interview.  


You have successfully auditioned for TSO, Whitesnake, Night Ranger, the Rock of Ages Broadway musical and Cher.   What is the common denominator in your preparation for these coveted positions which are now a part of your resume?

All gigs are different.  I do my best to treat everyone with the respect they deserve, show up on time and play the best that I can and quite possible the most important part of that includes preparing as hard as possible in advance.

Though you are not short in the musical skills department, you manage to work well with the musical directors in your gigs such as Reb Beach, Chris Caffery, Brad Gillis, or Oliver Marland.  What have you learned from these talented musicians?

Reb Beach is the band leader of this line-up of Whitesnake, but Derek Wieland is the music director for TSO-EastNight Ranger didn’t really have a music director and Oliver Marland is the music director for Cher these days.  It’s really hard to pin-point things, but I always learn from the people I work with.  I’m definitely blessed to work with people whose talents exceed mine and that always keeps me humble and driven. 

You obviously like to teach as you have been an instructor for Rock and Roll Fantasy Camps and also contributing education columns to Guitar World Magazine.  Do you have any advice for guitar instructors out there that you have a strong opinion about?

Well, guitar is like anything else in life.  The more you do it, the better you’re going to get.  I try not to be so specific about how the instrument is supposed to be played.  There have been countless successful approaches over the years, but the one thing all the greats! have in common is that they've put in the time.

You have appeared on some recording with some top notch players, who are a few musicians that you would like to work with in a live and or studio session in the future?

I like to work with talented, positive minded people.  That basically translates into people who make me better as a player and as a person.

Your parents were both classical music choir directors and organists in the church and at University.  Respectfully, were they fond of your interest and dedication to being a rock musician?
JH: On a level, yes. They didn’t always understand my tastes, but were definitely supportive and would show up to my gigs, etc.  I think like most parents, they probably hoped that I would keep music as a hobby, because they didn’t want to see me struggle, as music is obviously a very difficult way to make a living. 

You attend Musicians Institute in Hollywood.  Who were a few of your favorite instructors there and what was that experience like for you in the musical growth department.

I had previously taken private lessons with someone that had taught me a good deal of the MI curriculum.  I basically spent the year playing an incredible amount of guitar.  Some of it was just recording on my 4-track and practicing with friends from school and not actually being at the school.  The experience of leaving suburban Chicago to live in Hollywood, CA for a year was life changing though.  A great adventure.


Boston Rock Radio Guest Contributor Thomas Amoriello Jr. is a heavy metal guitarist, children's picture book author, educator and recording artist who resides in Lambertville, New Jersey, USA. You can learn more about Tom at