Known for his work with Whitesnake and The Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Joel Hoekstra now brings his laser sharp soloing to bear on his own solo project Joel Hoekstra’s 13 with a new album ‘Running Games’.
Joel spoke with MetalTalk TV’s Kahmel Farahani and we find out more about this project and delve back through his impressive career to date.
The second album from Koel Hoekstra’s 13 side project, ‘Running Games’, sees Hoekstra take the lead for all manner of guitar wizardry over eleven original tracks, and he has assembled one impressive group of musicians to back him.
With Blue Murder’s Tony Franklin, Dio legend Vinny Appice, as well as Symphony X and TSO vocalist Russell Allen out front, the result is a powerful but not overly polished Hard Rock sound, with a touch of Power Metal here and there.
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The new album ‘Running Games’
“I can trace most of these songs back to being on the road. I will usually do it in two writing blocks, because I will write the guitar riffs and a chorus. I will have a lyric for it and probably a melody for all of it. Vinny and Tony record to that, then I will write lyrics and pre-chorus.
“From there we are off and running. Then it is Russell Allen’s turn. I will lay down a guide vocal, then he will come in and sing it much better than me [laughs]”.
The Trans-Siberian Orchestra
“As far as the touring, I have been on board for about ten years now. I have had lots of fantastic times with them and are hoping for more.
“That was definitely the strangest part of this whole COVID-19 thing for me, not having the TSO tour!
“Because it is such a tradition.”
Joining Whitesnake and working on ‘The Purple Record’
“That was fun! They were already working on that, already had the tracks down. It was the perfect way for me to hop in, because those songs were all proven and cool. That was a very exciting time and that tour did really well.
“David Coverdale works very quickly and follows his instincts. Making ‘Flesh and Blood’ was fun too – DC is a great boss and a great bandmate and friend.”
On his, as yet, untitled supergroup project for Frontiers Records
“Michael Sweet and I had been talking about doing an album together for a while, then Frontiers presented the concept of doing it with Nathan James.
“I wrote some songs with him and we were friends through TSO. The Whitesnake rhythm section [Tommy Aldridge and Marco Mendoza] caught me by surprise! We will just see where it goes!”
Touring with Cher and ‘Rock Of Ages’ on Broadway
“The Cher gig came out of left field. It was supposed to be just a couple of shows, then it turned into something more full time for like three years.
“It was great fun being able to play all those different styles of music – the music spanned decades, so I was playing everything from disco to ‘I Got You Babe’ [laughs].
“The same thing with ‘Rock Of Ages’. I was not thinking at age eleven playing Black Sabbath songs, that someday I am going to be playing them on Broadway – you never know!
“It was a very positive influence on my life.
“Quite frankly the best thing was I could take off when I needed to play with Night Ranger and TSO. It was eight shows a week on Broadway and I basically did that for six years!”