Last night Alice Cooper’s guitar player extraordinaire, Nita Strauss, put on a Guitar Center Clinic, presented by D’Addoario, Marshall and Boss in Pittsburgh. The clinics Nita puts on are free to the public and happen on Nita‘s off days during the massive tour with Alice Cooper, highlighting just another way that Nita truly never stops. In addition to touring with Cooper, she has her debut solo album, Controlled Chaos, due out November 16th via Sumerian Records.
Nita was beyond friendly and gracious to the standing room only, packed to the rafters,
Guitar Center in the Robinson area of Pittsburgh. Her interaction was genuine and the farthest from guitar god rockstar stereotype that you can imagine. Clad in a Star Wars tee and zip up hoodie with workout tights, Strauss gave off a laid-back vibe as she hammered out some lightning level licks to get her sound dialed in. Despite some technical difficulties, which she easily took in stride, Nita performed with computer backing tracks including some of her own songs, played an amazing cover of “Aces High” by Iron Maiden, talked about gear, and of course, answered tons of questions.
Some of the most endearing stories included how she began playing after watching the classic movie “Crossroads” with Steve Vai playing the devil in the guitar version of the Charlie Daniels tale of “Devil Went Down to Georgia”. This inspiration, by her now friend Vai, eventually led to being in a side stage band traveling with Warped Tour. Nita told self-deprecating stories about that road trip and how it was the best tour ever despite some pretty miserable situations. Through these stories you could see the true musicians love for the music and not the fame.
Her advice to get out there and play rather than worry about YouTube views of Instagram likes so that you get true stage experience was well received and sage knowledge, “If you take away one thing from this clinic, play in front of people”. Strauss also went into depth about the exposure to touring and live performance she gained while playing in the Iron Maidens and asked audience members about their own cover bands and what they were called.
Strauss also went very much into her rig since the audience was full of guitar gearheads.
She is the first woman to have a signature Ibanez guitar which she designed herself. Most of the crowd knew the name of the guitar, Jiva, which actually took Nita aback. The Ibanez Jiva is a pretty killer guitar considering it’s amazing balance, six and a half pound weight, luminescent dot inlay with “beaten path” inlay as well, and an Edge Zero tremolo bridge. She also went into depth about the coloring, the headstock, and the specific pickups. Not once did it feel like a sales pitch, Nita was just giving the audience what they craved.
Strauss continued to answer questions, play a bit more, tell more stories, and interact with fans. We do not want to spoil the experience for Grand Rapids, MI who will have the pleasure on Oct. 30, so we will leave it at that. To sum the evening up, it was an incredible experience to be close up and truly personal with a major talent. Do not let Nita’s beauty fool you, she’s a true guitar hero in every sense of the word, go check her new album out Nov. 16 (see the video for “Our Most Desperate Hour” below . On the upcoming album, Nita shares “From bright and fun to aggressive and dark, from peaceful to chaotic, this album is a way for me to give the listener a glimpse into my personality and what goes on inside my mind.” Controlled Chaos is available for pre-order at http://www.nitastrauss.com/. (More pix of the event below: AWelding photo©2018)