Alice Cooper Guitarist Nita Strauss Gives Her Solo Album a ‘Kickstart’
Nita Strauss is one of this era's bona fide guitar heroes: for the past few years, she's been playing guitar in Alice Cooper's band (following in the footsteps of a number of six-string legends from Michael Bruce and Glen Buxton to Steve Hunter to Orianthi Panagaris), she's become the first female artist to get a signature Ibanez guitar, she recently graced the cover of Guitar Player, and she now has a regular column in the magazine. She's also going to put down the guitar — briefly — this weekend to cover Wrestlemania for Loudwire (look for her recaps this Monday and Tuesday).
She recently announced her upcoming solo album — all instrumental, a la Joe Satriani and Steve Vai — on Kickstarter, where she met her fundraising goal of $20,000 in just a couple of hours. Currently, she's more than doubled the goal; clearly her fans are seriously looking forward to hearing what she can do on her own. We spoke to her a bit about what the album will be like... and what she's looking forward to this weekend.
Tell us a bit about your upcoming album. You mention in your Kickstarter video that it’s going to be all-instrumental: did you ever want to be a singer?
I’ve been a fan of instrumental guitar music since I first started playing guitar, so making an instrumental album always seemed like it was a natural path for me. I think to be a great singer, you have to either be naturally gifted or really want it enough to work hard for it, and I am neither of those things. I just want to play guitar! I’m willing to work hard on that!
What are your favorite instrumental albums?
I’m such an instrumental guitar nerd.. of course I love the classics like Steve Vai's Passion & Warfare and Joe Satriani's Surfing with the Alien! I also love Vinnie Moore's Mind’s Eye, Jeff Loomis' Plains of Oblivion, and everything Marty Friedman and Jason Becker and Tony MacAlpine and Yngwie Malmsteen have done... the list goes on!!
Talk about your reaction to the success of your Kickstarter campaign.
I’m absolutely blown away. I’ve done a lot of touring and worked with a lot of bands, but this is the first time I’ve branched out and done something like this on my own, and the response and support has been incredible. I am so thankful, and excited to get to work on this record... after Wrestlemania weekend!
If you do a tour, would you have a singer in the band (as Jeff Beck occasionally does), so you can perform some non-instrumental songs? Or would you ever take the mic as a lead singer?
I definitely wouldn’t sing, I wouldn’t want people to leave! I think my solo tour will be all instrumental; I’ll save the music with vocals for when I tour with my original band We Start Wars or my cover band The Starbreakers.
What have you learned about songwriting after years of playing Alice Cooper and Iron Maiden songs [in the cover band The Iron Maidens]?
One thing that really sticks in my mind is how important it is to write songs that people can sing along to. Even if it’s an instrumental track, it still needs a strong melody!
Tell us about your love of pro wrestling. How long have you been a fan? What are you most looking forward to this weekend?
My boyfriend Josh is actually the one responsible for my love of pro wrestling! I grew up in a house without a tv, so he got me into it when we first started dating. This will be my first Wrestlemania, and it will be an especially exciting one for me... I can’t wait! I think Styles/ Nakamura is going to be the match to watch.
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