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NITA STRAUSS - What's Next in 2019? Interview By Nina McCarthy

Nita Strauss - What's Next in 2019?

Interview By Nina McCarthy, Sr. Music Journalist

Boston Rock Radio 

 

 

Los Angeles born guitarist Nita Strauss has become a force to be reckoned with in the music world, dazzling audiences across the US, UK, Europe, South America, Asia, Australia and Africa. Most fans will recognize Nita as Alice Cooper’s touring guitarist of the past 5 years, but she has also played with R&B star Jermaine Jackson, early MTV darlings Femme Fatale, video game supergroup Critical Hit and popular tribute band The Iron Maidens. Her skill, exuberant stage presence and love for all things about her instrument have earned her a stellar reputation in the music industry and endorsements including Ibanez Guitars, Marshall Amplification, DiMarzio pickups, Monster Energy and more.

In January of 2018 Nita was officially announced as the first ever female Ibanez signature artist with her own model guitar, the Ibanez JIVA10. She also released her signature pickups, the DiMarzio Pandemonium. April saw Nita playing WWE Superstar Shinsuke Nakamura’s entrance music at Wrestlemania in New Orleans in front of an audience of 78,000 fans and millions streaming worldwide, and in the same month she launched a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign for her debut solo record Controlled Chaos. The campaign reached its goal in two hours, doubled it by the end of the day, tripled the following day and ended up over 800% funded. Nita produced the record herself and did the majority of the engineering, as well as playing all the guitars and bass on the record. --Quoted from Nita's Bio

 

 

BRR: You’re about to head out on your second US solo tour and will be back in New Bedford, MA on June 4th at The Vault at the Greasy Luck. After reading your bio, there were so many things I could ask about, but I try to limit my interviews to under 20 minutes, so I tried to narrow things down. First of all, how did you get your start as being a hired musician?

NS: Growing up in L.A., the one thing that there is never a shortage of is bands looking for musicians. I’ve been playing shows around my hometown of Los Angeles and Hollywood since I was a little kid and I just sort of fell into playing with other bands. All I ever wanted to do is play guitar so the more I possibly could play it was all I wanted to do, whether it be playing small shows to bigger shows, to bigger tours, to finally where I am today.

 

BRR: How did you land your position as Alice Cooper’s touring guitarist and tell me about working with him?

NS: Working with Alice is a dream come true. It really, really is. It was actually Kip Winger that recommended me for the position. We played with Winger on the Monsters of Rock Cruise when I was with Femme Fatale. Lorraine (Lewis) actually just played at Greasy Luck with Vixen, so it’s cool that I will get to be there right after her. Did you go?

 

BRR: No, I was at M3, but I did meet her there in an interview. 

NS: She’s the best. So we played MORC and I met Kip on there. We got to talking and he recommended me when Alice was looking for a new guitar player, for which I’m very, very grateful, and it’s been a dream ever since. That was five years ago and Alice is definitely not slowing down.

 

BRR: That’s great! Most people think that once you are able to tour means you’ve become successful. But tell me about the hardships of your first tour and how you defeated them.

NS: Everyone’s first tour is a little rough. Your first tour, when you are a teenager is actually a test to how badly you want it. For us, we were hungry and tired and thirsty, and hot during the day and cold at night. We were four girls out on the road by ourselves with no crew or parents and some of us still in High School and it was that test of, “Do you want this or not? If you want it, here’s how hard you have to work.” Thankfully, we all wanted it that badly.

 

BRR: I’m glad you stuck it out. In November you released your first instrumental solo album called Controlled Chaos and it reached #1 on the Billboards and Top New Artists. Where you surprised by that?  

NS: For an instrumental record, it was a dream come true to be debuted they way we did. It’s really a testament to show that if you work hard and have a consistent fan base and show people that you are going to give them a really quality product, that people will care and listen and actually support you, which is amazing. There are all these people saying that rock is dead, but we proved them wrong with my album, and with the tour, and with the Alice Cooper tour that we are doing.

 

BRR: I know you are busy touring this year, but do you plan on another solo album in the future?  

NS: Absolutely. There is no stopping this train now! But Controlled Chaos isn’t even six months old, so I’m not in a rush to do the next one, but I’m definitely going to make another one in the future.

 

BRR: What can we expect to hear from you on this upcoming solo tour?

NS: I’m going to be playing most of the Controlled Chaos album. I love playing my songs, so I’ll be playing almost all the songs on the record on my upcoming tour, and of course some staples from some other bands that I have been in. It’s not one of my shows without hearing some Maiden and some Alice Cooper, so you can definitely expect to hear some more familiar songs as well.

 

BRR: Let’s talk about your signature Ibanez JIVA. Last year you were the first ever female Ibanez signature artist with your own model. What is unique about the JIVA?

NS: The JIVA is hand designed by me from top to bottom - the combination of wood, the color, the electronics, the pickups, inlays; everything about the guitar is designed to my specific specifications. I feel like it’s a really unique guitar because there isn’t one like it in the world. The combination of wood and the design is definitely a one of a kind guitar and it is a dream come true for me to get to bring my vision to life and see it in music stores.

 

BRR: That must be so surreal! Who are some of your personal favorite shredders?

NS: Steve Vai is my hero. He’s the reason I started playing guitar. From Vai, Satriani, Paul Gilbert, and Marty Friedman. I’ve always been drawn to the virtuoso guitar players, the ones that make guitar playing sound fun. It’s not just, “Oh God, that’s so fast,” but they actually make it sound fun and make you want to play like that, or ME want to play like that.

 

BRR: Through social media, you inspire and educate people about maintaining a healthy lifestyle while on tour. What’s your biggest secret to staying healthy while traveling? And apparently, I need this secret as I’m struggling through laryngitis after M3 doing this interview. (We both laugh.)

NS: It’s always hard not to stay on track when you are not home. The biggest secret I can give is being prepared, setting yourself up for success. I bring all my gym stuff with me and workout bands, so if there’s no gym  I can still get a workout in. I have all my meals delivered by a company called Trifecta Nutrition. They send a whole week's worth of food out to me every Friday on tour, so I’m staying healthy and not just eating pizza and pigging out. I don’t drink, which has made a big difference. I used to drink a lot and cutting that out has made a huge difference in my overall health and mental well being. I actually have something coming out tomorrow (May 8th) that has a lot of my tips, tricks, and secrets to fitness and health and mindset, so I’m really excited about that. (See more on Nita’s social media links.)

 

BRR: That sounds great. I’ll have to take a peak. You are certainly inspirational and empowering to many young artists, both male and female. You started playing guitar at 13. What advice would you give to today’s young artists as far as growing up and trying to break in the music industry?

NS: I think my biggest piece of advice would to be to just not get discouraged, especially in today’s day and age, people want that instant gratification. They work on things a couple of weeks and if they aren’t successful, they get bored. Success in the music industry takes more than a couple of weeks. It takes years and years of persistence, practice, and hard work, but the payoff is so worth it in the end. So my biggest piece of advice would be to keep working, don’t get discouraged. It will be difficult and frustrating, but the end result is so, so worth it.

 

BRR: And I always hear the obvious too...practice, practice, practice!

NS: For sure! The importance of practice can not be overstated.

 

BRR: Last year was certainly a stellar year for you with so many achievements. What goals do you have for 2019?

NS: It will be very hard to top 2018. It literally felt like every month, something I had dreamed about my whole life happened. My boyfriend, Josh, who is also my manager, worked really, really hard to make all these things happen last year. This year we are really focusing in on hitting new territories with my solo album. I will be touring with Alice from July through basically the rest of the year and just keep on growing the brand. I have some very exciting new projects coming up. I mentioned the one on the 8th and there is another one coming out later this year. If anyone wants to know what is going on with me, you can always go to my social media. I am ‘Hurricanenita’ on Instagram and Twitter, and I am ‘Nita Strauss’ on Facebook and I am posting all the time.

 

BRR: Congratulations on all these achievements. It certainly shows that hard work does pay off and your excitement is contagious. Do you have any concluding comments for our readers?

NS: Just how excited I am to be heading out on this tour. We are starting out on the 14th in Charlotte. All the dates can be found on my website. Of course, I do a meet and greet before the show, so if anyone wants to come and hang out and take a picture and say hi, my VIP Meet & Greet is always very fun and it lasts for an hour. We do an Q&A, and a little mini master class (if anyone wants to bring their guitars and learn some licks). It’s not just for guitar players though, it’s for everybody and it’s always a lot of fun. If you want to come to that, you can go to nitastruassvip.com and check that out. I look forward to seeing a lot of you out there in Boston and beyond.

 

BRR: That’s really nice, I heard your Meet and Greet is fantastic. It’s so disappointing when they are a quick picture and see you later.

NS: Yeah, I know how that is. This is a full hour.

 

BRR: Well, thank you so much for your time, Nita, and I really look forward to seeing you in June in New Bedford, MA. I missed your last show there so I will make sure to be at this one.

NS: I’ll see you there. Thank you!

 

 

Also, check out Nita’s Body Shred! 

Signups are open until Monday, May 20 at www.nitastrauss.com/bodyshred

Body Shred is a 90 day fitness challenge aimed at getting the music community more involved in health and fitness. The winner will be chosen by whoever makes the biggest transformation during the challenge- not just the number on the scale, but overall change! Participants also get my e-book before it’s available to the public, weekly challenge emails, and access to a private Facebook group for support and accountability.

 

For all things Nita: www.nitastruass.com



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