Adam’s interview with ECHOBATS’ Joel Hoekstra.
The name may be unfamiliar, but you definitely know his sound. New York guitarist Joel Hoekstra currently plays for Whitesnake and Trans Siberian Orchestra. Joel is also well known for his work with Night Ranger, the Broadway show Rock of Ages, his fill in work with Foreigner and annual sets on the Monsters of Rock Cruise.
Before the Pandemic shutdown every musician’s tour, Hoekstra was playing guitar for Cher on her Here We Go Again Tour. He also served as Cher’s guitarist during her Las Vegas residency at the Monte Carlo. Hoekstra also performed at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards as the guitarist for Cher during her performances of “Believe” and “If I Could Turn Back Time” as she received the Icon Award.
Hoekstra is also a frequent columnist for Guitar World Magazine. In 2015, Joel released the debut album from his side project Joel Hoekstra’s 13 and a follow-up is in the works! He has also released 3 solo albums that YOU should own!
On a personal level, how are you adjusting to our “new normal” during the Pandemic. Is there any part of your daily routine that helps you maintain a sense of normalcy?
Yes, having the ability to write, record and teach has kept me connected to my sense of musical purpose. While, the situation is not ideal, I am incredibly blessed to have the back-up plan that I do.
Several musicians have expressed recently that they’ve been hit hard mentally by their tours being cancelled. I can’t imagine how it must be to not be able to tour or interact with your fans. What toll have the tour and show cancellations taken on the band as a whole?
Yes, well it takes away my primary source of income. Between Whitesnake, Trans Siberian Orchestra and Cher I was on the road for 285 days in 2019. So, it’s quite a change.
How have you adjusted to not being able to tour or play live shows with regards to promoting your music? Have you become more active on social media? Will you be playing more live stream shows now?
I’m always active on social media. I’ve definitely been a part of several “quarantine” musical situations and they’re great fun to be a part of.
Are you using this downtime to write or record new music? Do you think the pandemic will change or alter the focus on your lyrics?
Yes, as stated earlier, I have been writing, recording and teaching an incredible amount. Lyrically, I haven’t gone there yet.
Its been speculated that 90% of the venues in our country won’t survive to reopen in 2021 when touring will hopefully resume. Do you expect any major hurdles with scheduling or rescheduling upcoming tours? At what point will the band not be hesitant to tour?
That’s a question that has more to do with how things develop. Currently there are too many unknowns to give you a solid answer.
What are your thoughts on the “drive in theatre” tours that are currently being scheduled? Would you consider touring in this way?
I’m open minded to anything. As long as there’s a market for it and it helps me continue to do what I love for a living.
Will the old school meet and greets become a thing of the past for the band? How will the band’s in-person fan interactions evolve after touring resumes?
Again, there are too many unknowns to give you an answer on this. Thanks so much for the interview!