We had the chance to talk to New York guitar virtuoso and Sustainer artist Joel Hoekstra who currently plays for Night Ranger, the Broadway hit 'Rock of Ages' and Trans Siberian Orchestra. Joel is currently touring with Night Ranger and be can heard on their new cd 'Somewhere in California'. Recently, he had the pleasure of filling in for Mick Jones of Foreigner. Joel's cd's 'undefined', 'The Moon is Falling' and '13 acoustic songs' have found a strong cult following and critical acclaim.
1. How did you first hear of Fernandes guitars and the Sustainer?
I had always seen the ads in Guitar Player, but the first time I played with one was on a Phil Collen model Jackson.
2. How has the Fernandes Sustainer changed your playing and music?
Well, it provides me with a confidence to go for a note and know that it is going to sing just the way the way I want it to. That, in turn, frees me up to perform a bit more.
3. Do you use it live and in the studio? Why?
Well, I love using it live because I'm often playing on big stages and I'm not always near my cabinet or a side-fill to get feedback. I can be ANYWHERE on the stage with the Sustainer and get a note to ring out. In the studio it allows me the ability to get sustain even if I'm using a software program or any type of direct unit. It's really tailor made for todays recording environment.
4. How many Sustainer-equipped guitars do you own? Any favorites?
My favorite is my Atomic "Rock in America" guitar with NIGHT RANGER and I'm currently having my guitars for this year's TRANS SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA tour outfitted with them as well.
5. Tell us the story behind the "Rock in America" guitar and it's features.
I wanted to spice things up for this year's big Night Ranger/Foreigner/Journey tour. I came up with the idea of playing an American flag Les Paul style guitar and Harry & Tim @ Atomic really hit it out of the park. They built in a Nady wireless transmitter, the Fernandes 401 Sustainer, some really cool Hipshot tuners and the paint job is just insane.
Here's a video clip of how the guitar was made: youtube.com/watch?v=-DYUGMflzPU
6. How's the Night Ranger/Foreigner/Journey tour going? Any future plans?
Man, this tour has been really amazing. We're playing to 15-20 thousand a night. For me, it's an honor to tour with such experienced musicians who I grew up studying/emulating. These guys are my heroes. There was also a very special period where I got to fill in for Mick Jones of Foreigner. As far as future plans, this tour raps up 10/21 and then 10/25 I'm off to the TSO Winter tour. I'll play about 65 arena shows with them in about 2 months and then I go back home to Rock of Ages in NYC. For those that are not familiar with Rock of Ages, it's a hit Broadway show that I play in. It's a fun show AND all hit songs from the 80's. I am not a theater guy, so believe me when I tell you, this might be the first musical you'll ACTUALLY enjoy. There is also a movie version of Rock of Ages that comes out June, 2012 that I am a part of.
Thanks to anyone that has come out to see me in Night Ranger, Rock of Ages or Trans Siberian Orchestra these past few years!....or has bought any of my solo albums for that matter! I appreciate the support! Rock on!!!!!
Check out Joel's website for news, music and more: joelhoekstra.com