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As Whitesnake’s guitarist, he ended up in Cher’s band

Joel Hoekstra built a career in hard rock and heavy metal, but worked as a pop singer for a few years — and enjoyed the experience

Joel Hoekstra He made his career mostly in hard rock. The guitarist joined the Whitesnake in 2014, but before that he worked with Trans-Siberian Orchestra (to which it remains linked), Night Rangerin addition to several projects with Jeff Scott Soto, Vinny Appice, Steven Adler, Nancy Wilson, between others. He had recently been linked to heavy metal legends Accept as a replacement guitarist, including a stint in Brazil in May.

This, however, did not stop him from working with artists from other genres. More specifically, a pop music giant: Cher. Between 2018 and 2020, Hoekstra was part of the singer’s band during the tour Here We Go Again. He also performed with her during her season as a resident of the Monte Carlo casino, in Las Vegas, and at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards.

In a podcast interview Denim and Leather (via Killer Guitar Rigs), the musician revealed what his professional involvement with Cher and his band. The relationship began in 2017, when the Whitesnake was unable to tour.

“I was a touring guitarist for Cher for about three years because David Coverdale (vocalist of Whitesnake) had knee surgery in 2017. Basically, we got the news that he wasn’t going to tour. So I reached out to a lot of friends in the industry and said, ‘Hey, I’m not really looking for a new job because the Whitesnake it still exists, but if anyone needs someone to replace me, I’m available.’ [Risos]”

The bridge between Joel It is Cher was made by a friend in the segment: Justin Derricosinger’s guitarist Pink and member of the program’s backing band The Voice American. Derrico also worked with the owner of the hit song “Believe”but he was busy with his other two jobs.

“Then, Justin ended up recommending me to him and said, ‘I know this is going to sound strange, but what do you think about Joel Hoekstra of Whitesnake? Because he can play a lot of different styles.’”

Joel Hoekstra’s line of thinking

Still during the interview, Joel Hoekstra revealed what his approach was when working with Cher. The guitarist’s idea was to perform the work without disturbing what was already established.

“That’s what happens when you come in to replace someone: I try not to interrupt the flow. As now, with the Accept. I’m not going to change the chemistry. I want the fans to feel like it’s just something exceptional. I’m going to go in and rock like Phil (Shouse, guitarist he replaces). That’s how I did it Cher: I played the same as David Barry (guitarist on several of the artist’s recordings) and I found my space. The more you play with people, the more you learn to make it your own and find little ways to add your personal touch.”

Although it is notorious for the technique as “shredder” (someone who plays very fast), Joel He was always aware that he would need to be versatile on the instrument — even to evolve. The period in which he became a professional in music helped a lot with this perception.

“When I started to be professional, all the fricking on the guitar died immediately. It was right when the 1990s started (the time of the grunge and alternative rock boom). If you were playing some fast solo, people would say, ‘No!’. And you wouldn’t get the job. So, to stand out and be able to work, I had to learn several different styles. That was really good, because it taught me how to be a good musician, not just show off on the guitar. Nuno Bettencourt (guitarist of Extreme) played with Rihanna and it’s also a great example of that.”

Source: Rollingstone

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