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“I feel honoured that they let me participate in that community”: Joel Hoekstra on being respected by modern shredders

“I don’t know that I fully belong in that community, but it’s nice that they let me in.”

Joel Hoekstra playing guitar on stage. He is under green lighting, is wearing a suit and has a big smile on his face.

Image: Manny Carabel / Getty

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Whitesnake guitarist Joel Hoekstra feels “honoured” that the modern online shred community respects him as an artist.

Last month, it was announced that Hoekstra will be joining German metal band Accept as a touring guitarist for their upcoming shows across Europe and South America. In an interview following the announcement, he spoke about his own shred icons, and his admiration for modern players with “ridiculous technical facility”.

Appearing on The Rock Experience with Mike Brunn, he says (via Ultimate Guitar): “There’s this whole new community happening online. When you scroll through Instagram or YouTube, the shred community… There’s a tremendous amount of players out there with ridiculous technical facility, and that are putting in a lot of hours. I come from a different world.”

He adds, “I suppose really the godfather of that whole shred movement [was] when Yngwie [Malmsteen] came out. I started guitar right when it was Eddie Van Halen transitioning over to Yngwie, so everybody was kind of just learning to shred and get their chops together.

“I think that my role has been a little bit different in that I’ve had to make a living playing guitar in a lot of different environments that haven’t always been about how fast I could play or what my chops were like.”

Despite the fact opinions on modern shred culture and the online guitar community remain divisive, Hoekstra is more than happy to be welcomed into the space.  “I actually feel honoured that they let me participate in that community,” he says.

“I think it’s cool. Most of those guys are younger than me and most of them have chops that probably outshine mine in terms of their actual ability to what they’re capable of technically. So, I think it’s fun to keep my toes in the water there, and at least be accepted in that world.

He continues, “And I’m honoured that they let me do that. Anything I can do as a guitarist to kind of be relevant or be respected works for me. I don’t know that I fully belong in that community, but it’s nice that they let me in.”

Watch the interview below:

View all of Accept’s upcoming live dates via their website.

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