Nita Strauss, the Los Angeles-based guitar shredder for the Alice Cooper band, was asked during a recent appearance on Guitar Player magazine's "No Guitar Is Safe"podcast what it has been like spending time with Cooper for the past year and a half since she joined the group as the replacement for Orianthi. She responded: "I feel very privileged to have [Alice's] advice available to me at any time that I want it."
She continued: "A lot of people are, like, 'Well, how do you guys travel? How do you do this and that?' And a lot of people are surprised to find out we travel on a bus all together. We're a regular band. Alice doesn't have his own bus. It's not like he's here and we're there. We're a family. We live together, we fight [and] we play. I'm in a band with five big brothers and our cool dad and mom. Alice and his wife, Sheryl, are so cool to be around, and they really do give great advice, great insight into the music world.
"Alice has seen it all, he's bene through it all. He's been a megastar for upwards of forty years, and to have that nearby when I say, 'I'm getting overwhelmed with this,' or, 'I'm getting frustrated with this.' Or, 'Somebody was mean me at the meet-and-greet. Somebody was wearing an Orianthi t-shirt at the meet-and-greet and they said mean stuff to me.'"
Nita went on to say: "People say mean stuff to me all the time, 'cause Orianthi fans hate me. She is lovely, and a great player, but we have such disparate styles that the fanbase doesn't cross over. A lot of it does, and a lot of it doesn't.
"Man, fans say weird stuff. It always blows my mind. It's such a weird world that we live in now, especially when you think about the Internet. People go on these web sites, [post] comments and say… Some of the stuff… I don't read it anymore, 'cause some of the stuff people say… It would never occur to me to go up to a professional musician in a band I like and say some of these things. It just would never even occur to me. It's such a strange concept.
"Usually [the Internet trolls hide behind things], but I've had the… I would say… It is kind of funny to encounter the troll outside of [its] natural habitat of under the bridge. They come out from under the bridge and they come to shows, and sometimes they come to a meet-and-greet.
"When I first got in the Alice band, [people would say things like], 'I don't think this guitar player knows anything about real rock and roll. All she wants to do is show off.' It's, like, yeah, it is all I wanna do. So what? That's who I am; I'm a big show-off."
Strauss added: "But it's great having Alice and having this sort of grounding influence. You can learn a lot from watching him. I've seen him be interrupted at dinner with his wife, or when he's at the mall shopping, and he's always so gracious and so cool and so humble and never once acts like somebody is bothering him. When he's eating dinner with his beautiful wife, the last thing, you'd think, he probably wants to hear about is the first time somebody bought 'Billion Dollar Babies' and the first time they heard this and that. But he will never turn somebody away. Even when it would be easier to say, 'Hey, can I finish my food and then I'll come over and talk to you?', he will take time out of his day, whatever he's doing, to talk to anybody about their experience with his music, and it's so inspirational. You see people, like, 'Well, I'm eating now. I'm busy now. And this is my personal time.' He doesn't have any concept of that. Shep Gordon, his manager, said to me… I was talking to him about this, and he said, 'Well, the time you'll have a problem is when they stop coming up to you.' And I was, like, 'Good point.'"
Strauss is a longtime Ibanez signature series endorsee who made her name with THE IRON MAIDENS, FEMME FATALE and LA Kiss.