That Metal Gear: Joel Hoekstra From Night Ranger + Trans-Siberian Orchestra!

by (@BHSmithNYC)

What’s your favorite song to play live and why?

With Night Ranger, it’s so cliché, but “Sister Christian.” I don’t even get to rip or play a solo on it. It’s Brad Gillis’ solo, but you know, there’s something about playing a hit song live where everybody’s singing along. When you have 15 or 20 thousand people singing that song you get goose bumps. It makes you realize having a really great rock moment doesn’t always have to be about being flash or playing something amazing. It can just be playing a simple song but when you’re connecting with that many people, it’s just something special.

What is the one guitar, or piece of equipment you wish you owned?

It is possible to say one piece of everything from Gibson? (laughter) I like everything Gibson makes in all honesty. And I don’t own a ES-335, I have a Howard Roberts and I have 5 Les Pauls now but I would love to own one of everything. I don’t own a Gibson Explorer. And I’d love a Firebird. I’m just a huge fan of what Gibson does. Their guitars sound like rock n’ roll. You plug them in and there’s the sound. And I think that’s something a lot of people don’t know. They think it’s all about the amps and how easy the guitar plays. A lot of Gibsons you have to fight. My Goldtop has a neck like a baseball bat but it has the sound.

Who was the last guitar player that blew you away?

Oh man, there’s so many. I started out strictly with the metal dudes and eventually branched into the guys who were hard rockers but melodic. Neil Schon (from Journey) was a big influence and Trevor Rabin from Yes and Tom Scholz from Boston. Guys that weren’t about just ripping and chops but great hooks. As far as rippers I love all the classic shredders. I love Yngwie. I love Steve Vai. I love Joe Satriani. It takes all types in the guitar world. I think it’s awesome some guys can play a million miles an hour and I also love simple song based players. I love (U2’s)The Edge. Tommy Emmanuel blows my mind. Every time I hear him he makes me want to spend 5 years not playing gigs. I’m very envious of thrash guys with those serious right hands. I was privileged to have dinner with (Megadeth’s) Dave Mustaine recently and I was like “Hey man, you have no idea how bad I wish I could do chugga-chugga-chug.” I never had that. I’m a left handed dude but I play right handed. I’ve never been able to get that James Hetfiled / Dave Mustaine killer rhythm thing.

Finally, we’d like you to play the game F**k-Marry-Kill with us with Don, Jim and Ed.

Oh for f**k’s sake(laughter). OK, I’ll f**k Don because he’s one sexy beast. I’ll marry Jim because he seems like he’d be a tidy little housewife and I’ll kill Eddie because as Dio sang “Kill The King.”

Joel Hoekstra shredding on his favorite Gibson Les Paul Goldtop. [Photo: Getty Images]

Joel Hoekstra shredding on his favorite Gibson Les Paul Goldtop. [Photo: Getty Images]