Whitesnake revives greatest hits at Rose

By Allyson B. Crawford

Whitesnake, the iconic band fronted by British singer David Coverdale, will once again roll through the Miami Valley, stopping for a gig at Rose Music Center in Huber Heights on Wednesday, June 15. The band played Rose last year during its Purple tour. This year, it’s all about the greatest hits. This means if you’re a fan of “Is This Love” and “Still Of The Night,” you’d better get a ticket.

“The setlist is different this year,” Whitesnake guitarist Joel Hoekstra promises the Dayton City Paper. “This year is really what people are used to hearing from Whitesnake. It’s as advertised. The band was like, ‘Seriously? We get to play this set!’ It’s far and away the best set of music I’ve ever been able to play. Hopefully, people will come out just based on that alone.”

The eight times platinum 1987 release Whitesnake was massive the world over, especially here in America where MTV made the already established band a household name to teens and housewives alike.

For Hoekstra, being a member of Whitesnake is still a fairly new gig. Not that he’s new to the scene. He was a longtime member of Night Ranger and has played with Foreigner, too. But Whitesnake is home, at least for now.

“The lineup is a great combination of guys who are new to the band and then guys like [drummer] Tommy Aldridge and [guitarist] Reb Beach who have been here awhile so there’s a great blend of enthusiasm and poise,” Hoekstra continues. “For me, it’s an honor to work with David Coverdale. He’s a living legend. The guy worked with Jimmy Page and Ritchie Blackmore! It’s a great education for me.”

Obviously, Hoekstra didn’t start at the top playing for stadium crowds. He built his career just like the rest of us: pebble by pebble, job by job. He wasn’t afraid of hard work and taking risks.

“This is always my speech to any young musician out there: treat it like a job. You have to be out-working everyone you see around you,” he says. “Too much is made of that whole ‘getting lucky, being in the right place at the right time’ concept. I think that definitely hard work creates good luck. It’s amazing how many people can’t get with that program. Just simple things like showing up on time.”

At this point, Hoesktra proudly recounts his first job. He was a 16-year-old register attendant at a gas station. That job, while having nothing to do with music, helped teach him discipline.

“I remember thinking, ‘I’m going to be the best cashier in here!’ I had a desire to outdo everyone else at it. To be the fastest and the best. I think it’s the kind of attitude that brings people ahead in life.”

It’s that attitude that helped Hoekstra land his job with Whitesnake, and a multi-year run with the Broadway production of Rock of Ages, while also launching his own band, 13. Hoekstra landed the Broadway gig through a friend who was a pit guitarist on the Great White Way.

“I don’t think any guitar player as a kid sets out and says, ‘Someday I’m gonna be in a Broadway show!’” Hoesktra says. “Honestly, for me, it was huge. It gave me an opportunity when I needed to take off to tour, but when I was home from tour, I had a gig ready to go, eight shows a week. Playing with great musicians, playing music I like with big audiences. That run of having a gig every day for about seven years took me from struggling musician to guy who is doing all right. The stage time is invaluable. To have that much stage time really helped me to feel comfortable and to be a better entertainer and to learn what works.”

Hoekstra says he’s still learning what works while on stage, largely by watching legendary guitarists play live. Whitesnake is touring the U.S. this summer with Whitford/St. Holmes. That would be guitarist Brad Whitford of Aerosmith and singer and guitarist Derek St. Holmes, best known for his time and hits with Ted Nugent. The legendary duo released an album back in 1981, played some gigs and broke up. Decades later, the pair have reunited to record new music and hit the road.

“I have no inside information on how Whitford/St. Holmes got on the tour, but I can tell you everyone is thrilled about it,” Hoekstra admits. “I got two more legends to pick their brain and learn from them. I know Brad came to a Whitesnake show last year in Beverly Hills. He was on the side of the stage, listening to our mix. That was a thrill for me. Yes, I’m an established professional guitar player. I’ve never achieved anything close to what he’s done. For me to play my guitar for him, it’s an honor. For him to be on this tour, it’s a thrill. It makes for a cool, classy evening of classic rock.”

Whitesnake with special guests Whitford/St. Holmes will perform on Wednesday, June 15 at Rose Music Center, 6800 Executive Blvd. in Huber Heights. Doors open at 6 p.m.; the show begins at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $20 and are available at ticketmaster or whitesnake.com.

Allyson B. Crawford lives in Kettering and writes about ’80s metal bands on her daily blog bringbackglam.com. You can usually find her at all sorts of metal shows around Ohio and across the country. Allyson can be reached at AllysonCrawford@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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About Allyson B. Crawford

View all posts by Allyson B. Crawford
Allyson B. Crawford lives in Kettering and writes about ’80s metal bands on her daily blog bringbackglam.com. You can usually find her at all sorts of metal shows around Ohio and across the country. Allyson can be reached at AllysonCrawford@DaytonCityPaper.com

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