Nita Strauss Names One Thing Alice Cooper and Demi Lovato Have in Common, Opens Up on What Being ’Hired Gun’ Guitarist Is Like

In a recent interview with Guitar World, guitarist Nita Strauss looked back on her career as a touring musician for big singers. Strauss, who got her name out there as a member of Alice Cooper’s live band, is currently working with Demi Lovato as a part of her touring lineup. Although Nita also works on her solo music, she’s predominantly known as a “hired gun” kind of guitar player. When asked by Guitar World what “being someone’s guitar player” requires, she replied:

“Playing with the artists that I do, I’m not technically a band member. Being a hired gun, it’s really ‘step in and fill this role,’ whether it’s playing Alice Cooper songs or reimagining rockers from Demi Lovato songs.”

“What I bring to each of those different gigs is that sense of professionalism I’ve learned across so many years, and how to step into each role, fill it nicely and tightly, and help bring that artist’s vision to life while still bringing my own personality and energy to the show.”

But, of course, Nita’s career is also about constant learning and she got the chance to find out more about the craft while working both with Alice and Lovato. As she explains, there are some common professional and creative practices that both of these singers share. Nita continued:

“I have learned so much from Alice and Demi. One of the things they both do really well is they take the forefront, but they give each band member an introduction and time to shine. They don’t take the entire spotlight for themselves. That’s something I try to do with my solo band as well, to make sure it’s a collaborative effort and everybody knows it.”

During the interview, she also spoke about what working on someone else’s material does to improve her playing skills, explaining:

“First of all, any time you’re playing guitar, you’re improving, no matter what it is. Whether you’re playing power chords or technical metal, if you’re playing guitar, you’re getting incrementally better each day.”

NITA STRAUSS - Dead Inside (ft. David Draiman of Disturbed)

“Playing straightforward rock songs has given me a much better sensibility of song structure, and not playing too much, or adding too much, and all these things guitar players do just because we like to show off and have fun! It has taught me a lot about letting the song breathe.”

“Simplicity is key in a lot of Demi’s songs, especially the older ones, which were originally pretty straightforward pop songs that have been reimagined in this heavy-rock way. The simple, catchy chords are still there, and it’s finding things that work around the melodies, because melody is king in pop and rock songs.”

“It’s about finding that simplicity and embracing it, rather than saying, ‘This is only four chords. I have to play a bunch of notes over it.'”

In summer of 2022, Nita Strauss made a new career-changing move by deciding to leave Alice Cooper’s band. Speculations started flying around the Internet and various sources began sharing rumors that she was joining Demi Lovato’s touring band. This proved to be true as Nita soon shared the news through her official social media channels.

NITA STRAUSS - The Wolf You Feed ft. Alissa White-Gluz (Official Music Video)

During a last year’s interview, Strauss also opened up on what it was like to break the news to Alice Cooper, saying:

“I just went into Coop’s room — I went to his hotel room and I talked with him and his wife. And I said, ‘Look, I have this opportunity.’ He asked, ‘Would it conflict with anything on this tour?’ I said, ‘No, but it would conflict with the fall dates, so I’d have to step back from the fall tour.’ And he said, ‘Go and do it.'”

“He gave his blessing. He gave me a big hug and said, ‘Go and have fun. Shine your light, and let us know what next year looks like and we’ll work it out.'”

“So it was a lovely and loving conversation — no big blowup; no drama; no one got fired; no one stormed out. And I took a step back and I’m trying something different. And we’ll see what happens in the future.”

Photo: Raph_PH (AliceCooperO2 250522 (97 of 133) (52100039972)), marcen27 (Demi Lovato 5 (40988741730))

David Slavkovic

David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.

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