Whitesnake’s Joel Hoekstra sat down with Project Backstage Interviews, and talked about his career as a guitarist, both inside and outside of Whitesnake. When it was asked to Joel how it feels to work with the bassist Tanya O’Callaghan because she’s the only woman member, he pointed out that Tanya is there solely because of her talent:
“It’s the concept of having somebody that has a cool image for White Snake. I mean, David likes players that can kind of be stars in their own right to a degree and in that regard, she’s an absolute perfect fit. The only question was this is going to be the first female member of Whitesnake and does that work, does the fan base embrace it, but all you got to do is really listen to her play, and then like watch her play one gig and it’s like ‘oh she’s a star.'”
Hoekstra continued praising Tanya and explained that the frontman David Coverdale wouldn’t have worked with O’Callaghan in the first place if it wasn’t for her skills:
“To me she’s amazing. the first time I saw her play I was like ‘That girl’s a star.’ I saw her play somewhere else and I went right up to her after and told her. I said ‘You’re a star’ and she was always in my head and somewhere along the line, work with her on something. I just didn’t realize it would be Whitesnake but consequently, she definitely made the list of the possible solutions. we needed a bass player but David wouldn’t have hired her if she couldn’t play, man. so anybody thinks she’s just in there because she’s got great looks is wrong, dead wrong.”
David Coverdale formed Whitesnake 3 years after his departure from Deep Purple. Throughout the years, the group broke up and got back together with David being the constant member. In 2014, Joel joined the band and in 2015, he played in ‘The Purple Album,’ and in 2021, David announced that Tanya is officially a member. In the statement, he said:
“Well, Well, Well…Ladies & Gentlemen…Boys & Girls…We Are Very Proud To Announce & To Introduce You All To Our Newest Snake…Or Should I Say…Snakette!!!
Please Give a loud Whitesnake Choir Welcome To The Iris Tornado!!!
A Whirling Dervish Of A Performer Whom We Feel Will Bring A Fresh, New, Exciting Musicality & Welcome Energy To The Band, Both In The Studio & Onstage…Here She Is…Irish Born & Bred…The One & Only…
After the announcement, O’Callaghan expressed her feelings in a separate interview with the following words:
“Immediately after the Whitesnake announcement, my inbox just exploded with parents being, like, ‘Oh my God. I can’t wait to bring my daughter to the gig and show her that she can do anything’ or whatever, and I think that’s amazing and sweet. But I think at the end of the day for me, it all comes back down to just normalizing it — not making a big deal out of it. Because people do tend to wanna focus in on, ‘What’s it like to be a female bass player?’ It’s very much the same as a male bass player.”
You can watch the whole interview below.