Guitarist Nita Strauss Talks Touring with Alice Cooper, Gear and Three-Guitar Attacks

by James Wood
Posted Jun 23, 2014 at 5:01pm

Following the April premiere of Alice Cooper’s film, Super Duper Alice Cooper, at the Tribeca Film Festival and its subsequent on DVD, rock's greatest showman is hitting the road as a "very special guest" during Mötley Crüe’s final "All Bad Things Must Come To An End" North American tour, which starts in July.

But the tour also will mark the debut of Cooper's new guitarist, Nita Strauss, who recently was listed as one of GuitarWorld.com's "10 Female Guitar Players You Should Know." Strauss takes the place of Orianthi, who had toured with Cooper for the past several years.

Strauss — whose influences include Steve Vai, Marty Friedman, Paul Gilbert and Shawn Lane — has already made her mark with the Iron Maidens and Femme Fatale. She’ll now join Cooper’s three-guitar attack, joining fellow six-stringers Ryan Roxie and Tommy Henriksen.

I recently spoke to Strauss about the upcoming tour, her gear and how she got her start.

GUITAR WORLD: Tell me how you got involved with this project.

Kip Winger was the one who actually connected the dots. We met each other on the Monsters of Rock Cruise, where he saw me play. He later heard through the grapevine that Alice was looking for someone, so he sent them a few links and videos of me performing. I was then introduced to Shep Gordon [manager] and Bob Ezrin [producer] who sent me over a few tracks to learn and from there. Everything just seemed to fall into place. I'm so honored and excited to be a part of this project. It's hard to put into words.

What was it like when you first met Alice?

I first met Alice in LA when he was recording some material for his new album. Ezrin called and asked me if I’d like to come down to the studio and meet him. So I went down and got to sit in the studio for Alice’s recording session. He’s such a cool guy. The whole experience was pretty incredible.

What can you tell me about the tour?

Alice has his new film out, Super Duper Alice Cooper, which is a fantastic, super-fun movie. For the tour, we'll be doing 72 cities beginning with a few warmup shows in Michigan and then joining up with the Crüe on July 2. We have a little break in September and then go back out until mid-November.

Do you feel added pressure being in a three-guitar band situation?

I come from a band that played Iron Maiden songs, so the multi-guitar-player thing isn't something that’s really new to me. By the same token, these are iconic songs and I really want to make sure that I do them justice.

What's your live setup going to be like for this tour?

I'll be using Blackstar Series One EL34 heads. I picked those because they have a really classic sound. I also have a TC Electronic G-Force, which is going to run most of the effects, a Voodoo Lab Ground Control, Cry Baby Wah and a Whammy pedal. Simple and effective is the way to do it.

Can you tell me a little about your musical upbringing?

My dad is a musician and I come from a whole line of musicians going back to the composer Johann Strauss. I've always been around music in my house and one day my dad bought me a guitar. But it wasn’t until I saw the ending scene in the movie Crossroads — Steve Vai vs. Ralph Macchio — when it was like, That's what I want to do!" [laughs]. From then on, it was full-speed ahead, and I've never looked back. Just seeing how cool Steve Vai looked and the way he made the guitar sing was so inspirational. To this day, he's still my favorite guitar player.

Do you have advice for female guitar players?

The paramount thing is to always compare yourself to the guitarists you're influenced by. Don’t just limit yourself to female musicians. Compare yourself to the best of the best. If you strive to be the best, that's what you’re going to become.

At what point do you think the feeling of being on a tour of this magnitude will really sink in?

I think it will be that first show and first note — the surreal moment when I see myself standing on stage with Alice Cooper. He's got this larger-than-life persona and wants the same out of the band members. When I'm there playing to him, I think that's when it’s really going to hit me the most.

For more about Strauss, follow her on Facebook. To keep up with Alice Cooper, visit alicecooper.com.

James Wood is a writer, musician and self-proclaimed metalhead who maintains his own website, GoJimmyGo.net. His articles and interviews are written on a variety of topics with passion and humor. You can follow him on Twitter @JimEWood.


Add a Comment
0 Comments

Similar Guitar News

Guitarist Dick Wagner Dead at 71; Worked with Alice Cooper, Lou Reed (7/31/2014)
Guitarist Dick Wagner, who was best known for his work with Alice Cooper and Lou Reed, died today in Scottsdale, Arizona. He was 71. Wagner had contracted a lung infection after heart surgery and died following respiratory failure, Billboard rep...
Alice Cooper Guitarist Nita Strauss on Appearing in Playboy: "They Definitely Threw it Out There" (7/14/2014)
Last month, we announced that guitarist Nita Strauss has joined Alice Cooper's band. Since then, she's been gracing the homepages of a seemingly endless number of websites around the world. In a recent interview with the Examiner (via Ultimate C...
Music legend Alice Cooper on 12 career-defining records (11/11/2013)
Read more about Music legend Alice Cooper on 12 career-defining records at MusicRadar.com
Alice Cooper Guitarist Dick Wagner to Publish Memoir, 'Not Only Women Bleed' (8/14/2012)
Guitarist and songwriter Dick Wagner, a long-time Alice Cooper collaborator, will publish his memoir, Not Only Women Bleed: Vignettes from the Heart of a Rock Musician, in September. The memoir, which is already available as a Kindle book, feat...
Interview: drummer Glen Sobel on Alice Cooper, neck injury, tips for getting hired (7/7/2012)
"My drummer's got to be flashy," said Alice Cooper of the man who got the gig, Glen Sobel (above). It's a late summer afternoon, and Glen Sobel is kicking back at his home in Los Angeles. Only problem is, he wasn't planning on being here. Until ...
Video: Alice Cooper Covers Lady Gaga at Bonnaroo (6/11/2012)
At this past weekend's Bonnaroo festival in Manchester, Tennessee, veteran shock rocker Alice Cooper threw fans a curveball by covering "Born This Way" by pop songstress Lady Gaga. You can watch video footage of the performance below. It should ...
Video: Alice Cooper, Steven Tyler, Joe Perry and Johnny Depp Jam on "Whole Lotta Love" and "Brown Sugar" (5/9/2012)
The Dark Shadows premiere party took place Monday night, May 7, at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles. Among the festivities was a star-studded jam session featuring the film's star, Johnny Depp, with Alice Cooper (who has a small part in...