Joel Hoekstra and Michael Sweet join forces in new band Iconic, announce debut album, Second Skin

Joel Hoekstra (left) and Michael Sweet
(Image credit: Manny Carabel / Larry Marano/Getty Images)

Whitesnake electric guitar titan Joel Hoekstra has joined forces with Stryper’s Michael Sweet to head up a star-studded new supergroup called Iconic.

For the project, the pair will be linking up with a who’s who of hard rock A-listers, including former Black Star Riders bass guitar player Marco Mendoza, former Motörhead and Ozzy Osbourne drummer Tommy Aldridge and Inglorious vocalist Nathan James.

The newly formed quintet have also announced their debut album, Second Skin, which will be arriving on June 17. In tandem with the announcement, the band have dropped the upcoming LP’s heavy-riffing lead single, Nowhere To Run.

As would be expected from a track containing the aforementioned collection of musicians, Nowhere To Run is a melting pot of hard rock riffs and bruising electric guitar melodies, pairing Aldridge and Mendoza’s robust rhythms with the electrifying fretboard musings of Hoekstra and Sweet.

Check out the track in the video below.

Of his involvement in Iconic, Sweet said Second Skin would be a “throwback to the past," and will serve as a reminder of “how great the music of the past really is." “This was a very refreshing and unique experience,” he reflected. “Musically, very different from Stryper.”

Hoekstra, who reveals he wrote most of the riffs on the album, added, “I definitely have a great comfort level playing with Tommy Aldridge that’s developed over the last eight years or so with Whitesnake. I’ve also co-written with Nathan, Michael, and Alessandro [Del Vecchio] in the past, so everything felt very natural despite this being a ‘new’ band.”

James, meanwhile, who currently fronts UK-based hard rock outfit Inglorious, labeled the Iconic experiment as an opportunity for him to work “with so many of my heroes," and commented on the quintet’s effortless studio chemistry.

Iconic band

(Image credit: Press)

“I was lucky enough to be involved in the writing of a couple of songs, but genuinely everything I hear from the guys, I knew I could do it justice,” James recalled. “I also feel that the guys wrote stuff that suited my voice perfectly. These are not only great musicians, they are great songwriters.”

Multi-instrumentalist Alessandro Del Vecchio provided additional instrumental support, and shared production duties with Sweet. 

The tracklist for Second Skin can be found below.

  • Second Skin is available to preorder now ahead of its release on June 17.
  1. Run (As Fast As You Can)
  2. Ready For Your Love
  3. Second Skin
  4. All I Need
  5. Nowhere To Run
  6. Worlds Apart
  7. All About
  8. This Way
  9. Let You Go
  10. It Ain't Over
  11. Enough Of Your Love

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.