Alice Cooper guitarist Nita Strauss plays the Gothic Theater in Denver

Discussing his latest solo album, call of the voidGuitarist Nita Strauss casually mentioned how her boss was so kind as to take some time off from his regular work and make an appearance on the song “Winner Takes All”, one of the few heavy hit cameos on the record. ,

“I had the opportunity to work with some incredible guest artists, like Layzie Hale (of Halestorm); Chris Motionless (Motion in White); Alissa White-Gluz (of The Arch Enemy); My boss, Alice Cooper; And one of my childhood guitar heroes, Marty Friedman (formerly of Megadeth),” she says.

She says it so quickly, so matter-of-factly, that it takes a minute to understand what Strauss is referring to. Alice Cooper – the progenitor of shock-rock known for wearing boa constrictors and biting his own head on stage – as their boss. Since 2014, Strauss has been a member of Cooper’s touring band, so he is technically his boss. But as a hired gun guitarist she sees her work that way: as a professional.

She explains, “I think the mark of a really good hired-gun guitarist is that you can move easily from one gig to the next without losing your identity as a guitar player. Can play it in a way that is appropriate for that program.” who you are.”

With a distinctive style and sound, Strauss has had the opportunity to play with an illustrious list of composers throughout his career, as evidenced by this. call of the void, In addition to her day job with Cooper, she is also a member of pop star Demi Lovato’s live band and the official guitarist for the Los Angeles Rams, as well as a solo artist. So how does she keep it all straight from one show to the next, riff to riff?

“You can’t really compartmentalize it,” she says from her tour bus parked behind a venue in Columbus, Ohio. “As much as I’d like to say, ‘Well, I’m in Alice mode, and I don’t want to think about solo sets,’ last time I only had six days between tours, and three of the six” were production days. And it was the day of a journey.”

Strauss is getting ready to do sound check, and apologizes for the constant stream of text messages that are bugging the band’s group chat. But this is life on the road, where there’s no rest for the wicked, and Strauss handles interviews between cities and sound checks. She is currently promoting and performing the new record with Wolfgang Van Halen’s rock group Mammoth WVH. The tour will stop at the Gothic Theater in Denver on Tuesday, November 28.

“If I had just started practicing solo sets on those two days that I had free, I wouldn’t have been prepared for this tour,” she adds, adding that it’s all about “being easy and going with the flow.” Is in.

“I went from playing a club show with my band to playing in a football stadium of 70,000 people, then playing to 300 people with my band the next day, playing to 1,500 people with Alice the next week, then back to a packed football stadium. I’ll go play, Strauss explains.

She laughs at the logistics and roller-coaster schedule. “It keeps you humble, that’s for sure,” she says.

But this has been her life ever since she was a guitar-playing teenager who dropped out of high school during her junior year and started a band to pursue a music career. Nowadays many people may know him for his work with other artists, but Strauss’s successful solo career is a culmination of those early days.

“I think that early in my career, even though I’m better known for playing for other people, I’ve developed my own style and impact. I feel really proud that I have been able to hone it and maintain it,” she says. “I think little Neeta will really understand what I’m doing now. “It’s not much different from what I was trying to do back in the day.”

some riffs that made it call of the void These were initially written by Strauss as a teenager. But unlike their instrumental debut in 2018, controlled chaosIn what she calls “the album’s temper tantrum”, the sophomore record includes vocals – a new songwriting dimension for Strauss, but a natural next step.

,controlled chaos It was the culmination of spending so many years playing other people’s songs,” she says, “whether it was cover songs or tribute bands or touring in other artists’ bands… like, let me just do my thing, do it my way. Two.

“When we got to the next record, I was able to take a step back and take a more mature approach to it,” she says, adding that coming up with the collaboration “felt like sending a message to friends” more than anything. . She would “sit down and produce some really good songs, work with really good people and make sure I make this record as strong as it can be, ‘It’s my way or the highway.’

“It’s definitely challenging, but it’s not like digging a ditch,” she concludes. “I play guitar. “I realize every day how lucky I am.”

Nita Strauss, 7:30 pm Tuesday, November 28, Gothic Theatre, 3263 South Broadway. Tickets are $35.50.

(Tags to translate) Nita Strauss (T) Denver Concerts (T) Gothic Theater Concerts (T) Mammoth WVH (T) The Call of the Void (T) Controlled Chaos (T) Alice Cooper (T) Demi Lovato

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