Nita Strauss Opens Up on How She Decided to Join Demi Lovato’s Band, Explains How She Approaches Writing Solos

Recently, Guitar World published a new interview with Nita Strauss. Discussing her work and career, Nita looked back on how she ended up joining Demi Lovato’s band as a hired gun last year. To those who may not know or not remember, Nita ended up leaving Alice Cooper’s band to join Lovato on a tour in support of her new album. And, in March this year, she finally came back to Alice.

During the new interview, Nita was asked how the whole Demi Lovato gig came to be. She replied:

“There was no big moment where I threw my guitar in the air, stormed out, and quit. It was more, ‘Hey, I have this opportunity with Demi. She’s working a lot this year, and Alice isn’t. What do you think if I go and do this?’ And Alice said, ‘Go do it; I love it. Go off; have fun. We support you completely.‘ Demi was working a lot, and Alice wasn’t. I go where the work is.”

As far as her future plans go, Nita sees herself handling both Cooper and Lovato. She added:

“I definitely plan on doing Demi and Alice. I’ve always been a hired gun. You have to be willing to be versatile, take risks, and try different things instead of staying in the same place, even if it’s a safe place.”

When asked whether she handles other singers, including those on her solo pieces, differently compared to Alice Cooper, she said:

“I’ve been working with him for many years, so I understand what he likes and doesn’t like to sing over. Having probably played on over 50 Alice Cooper songs at this point, I think we’ve got it dialed in. Besides that, collaborating with so many different singers has been incredible.

NITA STRAUSS - Winner Takes All (feat ALICE COOPER)

“But I never imagined myself as the type of musician with songs like this; I used to think of myself as a solo guitarist who would only stay in that world. So, to be able to do this has been a fascinating process.”

Further pressed whether this “opened up or altered” her approach, she replied:

“I think, as an instrumental guitar player, I was a selfish musician. I don’t mean that in a bad way, but from a musical perspective, I was only thinking about myself. I wasn’t thinking about what rhymes with what or what the song’s key was for the singer to along with. And I was not thinking about radio or what works within a three-minute format to fit into a playlist, either.

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

“I was only writing for the sake of my art. But once I started working with different vocalists, I had to approach things from a more sensible standpoint of what makes sense for the song. I had to think about what might draw in the average listener who likes this type of music and what might open them up to new things.”

Of course, Nita is predominantly known as a lead player. So when asked about whether she approaches writing solos differently to her solo instrumental tracks compared to vocal-based material, she said:

“I think a guitar solo is a way for the guitarist to tell a little chapter of the story if that makes sense. But obviously, you’re not using words; you’re using your choices and emotions to contribute to the song’s story.”

NITA STRAUSS - Our Most Desperate Hour (Official Music Video)

“Even when I’ve done guest solos on other people’s stuff, when I play live, I always try to get a sense of what the song is about. That dictates how I choose my notes and approach to serve the story, rather than, ‘Here’s a bunch of cool notes. Let me just play these and be done with it.'”

When asked more about leaving Alice’s band and whether things were left “open-ended,” she replied:

“It was very open-ended. There wasn’t this big departure, which is how everything was construed by people that weren’t there. I had a conversation with Alice and his manager, and what I put out on my social media was, ‘I’m stepping away from the fall tour.

“‘m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had, and I’m not sure what will happen next.’ Honestly, that was the entirety of what was going on.”

Of course, some of the rock and metal fans out there weren’t exactly thrilled about Nita’s decision to join a band of a mainstream pop singer. So the general consensus was that the reactions to her decision were “mixed.” Asked whether she expected this to happen, she replied:

“I was expecting a mixed reaction, but I definitely wasn’t prepared for how strong of a reaction the news received. But the only thing that really got under my skin was how inaccurate a lot of the stuff people were saying was. I saw people saying, ‘She walked out of the tour without giving Alice notice,’ and none of that was true.

“Everything was in the works for months; everybody knew, Kane Roberts knew about it, and everything was planned for a long time before it was announced. So, reading things online where people said, ‘Nita left Alice in the lurch and didn’t give them time to find somebody new,’ was completely inaccurate.”

Alice Cooper Detroit Stories Tour Full Set Live 29.06.2022@Alcatraz - Milano

Asked whether Demi’s music was challenging to play, she said:

“I have to say… it wasn’t all that different. If I had stepped into Demi Lovato’s world in 2016, it would have been a very different show. But Demi’s new record [Holy Fvck] is heavy rock. So, once I joined, we went out and did a heavy rock show with her every night.

“If they had been looking for a more traditional pop touring band, they wouldn’t have had the band they did or had me be a part of it. I guess the big takeaway is that as a guitar player, I need to be versatile.

“I will say that one cool takeaway from the Demi tour was that she completely changed her style. If you listen to her old music, it sounds nothing like the music that got her to the level of stardom she has today.

“To me, that’s the most rock ‘n’ roll thing you can do. And who knows? Maybe some of those girls will see Demi playing an Ibanez X series – a Chuck Schuldiner[-style] guitar – and they’ll go out and learn to play, not because of me but because of her.”

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 and brands like Sam Ash.

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