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Whitesnake and Joel Hoekstra at Birmingham's Genting Arena – Preview and Album Review

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by Andy Coleman (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Birmingham. I like Classic Rock, 70s pop music, football and interviewing celebrities. Follow me on Twitter: @andycoleman9
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Guitarist releases album before UK tour with David Coverdale
Hard Rock heroes Whitesnake slither into Birmingham for a gig at the Genting Arena on December 12 – but before then their lead guitarist Joel Hoekstra has his own album to promote.

Dying to Live by the axeman's side project, Joel Hoekstra's 13, features a range of guest musicians, including keyboardist Derek Sherinian from Dream Theater and Black Country Communion, and vocalists Jeff Scott Soto (Journey, Yngwie Malmsteen) and Russell Allen (Adrenaline Mob and Symphony X). Also in the mix are legendary rock drummer Vinny Appice and bassist Tony Franklin.

Joel Hoekstra, Dying To Live, Whitesnake, David Coverdale, Genting Arena Birmingham
Dying to Live: Joel Hoekstra

Whitesnake mainman David Coverdale gave the album his full blessing.

"David wants his players to spread their wings and fly and of course be ready to rock when Whitesnake needs them, which obviously won't be an issue," says Joel.

"Years ago, I released three solo albums that were mainly instrumental guitar music. I wanted to put something out that showcased my production, writing and playing in the genre that I'm known for, which is melodic, hard rock.''

Joel Hoekstra, Dying to Live, Whitesnake, David Coverdale, Genting Arena Birmingham
Hard rock: Joel Hoekstra

A number of influences can be heard on the album which was released on October 16. Unsurprisingly, one of them is the fist-pumping anthems of Coverdale and Whitesnake.

Tracks like Until I Left You and Long For The Days would be at home on a 'Snake album.

Long For The Days was the third single from the album.

''It's a song about reflection and regret over a relationship gone badly," explains Joel.

"It's a good old-fashioned, classic-rock style track that captures elements of some of my favourite bands. Vinny Appice and Tony Franklin lay it down while Derek Sherinian provides the right sounds and parts with tasteful perfection. Russell Allen delivers one of my favourite vocal performances ever and Jeff Scott Soto sings some amazing backgrounds to support them.''

Joel Hoekstra, Dying to Live, Whitesnake, David Coverdale, Genting Arena Birmingham
Melodic: Joel Hoekstra

Harder rockin' tracks like album opener Say Goodbye To The Sun and Scream recall the music of the much missed Ronnie James Dio.

''Say Goodbye to the Sun represents the heavier side of Dying To Live," Joel says. "It's the monstrous voice inside us all that tells us to abandon hope. There is thunderous support from drums and bass to the guitar riffs, while vocalist Russell Allen just flat out rips this one to shreds.''

The monstrous The Only Way To Go also has a Dio vibe, although this one recalls his time with Richie Blackmore in Rainbow thanks to the Richie-style guitar breaks and chorus.

Then there is the title track which sounds like it was written after a session of listening to Black Sabbath. Again, there are hints of Dio, this time from his time in Sabbath, but you can also hear the darker Ozzy years creeping through.

Joel Hoekstra, Dying to Live, Whitesnake, David Coverdale, Genting Arena Birmingham
Monstrous: Joel Hoekstra

At the other end of the scale, Sherinian's keyboards give tracks like Anymore, Changes and Start Again a Pomp Rock Foreigner feel.

"I hope everyone will give it a listen,'' Joel says of the record. ''The line-up of musicians is stellar. Life is good!"

Joel Hoekstra, Dying to Live, Whitesnake, David Coverdale, Genting Arena Birmingham

Whitesnake/ Def Leppard 2015 UK tour dates:

Dec 7: Odyssey Arena, Belfast;
Dec 9: Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle;
Dec 10: Hydro Arena, Glasgow;
Dec 12: Genting Arena, Birmingham;
Dec 13: Capital FM Arena, Nottingham;
Dec 15: Manchester Arena
Dec 16: Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff;
Dec 18: Wembley Arena, London;
Dec 19: Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield.

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Why? Take a listen to Whitesnake guitarist Joel Hoekstra's new album before he performs in Birmingham
When: December 12, 2015
Phone: 0844 338 8000
Where: Genting Arena, Birmingham
Cost: £51.33 plus fees
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