Nita Strauss Opens Up Meeting Slash for the First Time, Recalls What She Regrets About It

While visiting the Appetite for Distortion podcast, guitarist Nita Strauss reflected on meeting Guns N’ Roses legend Slash for the first time. And, as she explained, she’s worried that she “played it too cool” in some way.

As Nita recalls, she first met Slash some years ago at an event at Alice Cooper’s Phoenix, Arizona-based Solid Rock Teen Centre. What’s more, right then and there, she got the chance to jam with the legend himself. Nita recalled (transcript via Rock Celebrities):

“So, we did a charity event, and I got to perform with Slash that day. It was an amazing experience — he obviously is such an incredible player — getting to sort of stand next to him on stage and trade some solos together.

“Then, at the end, we’re getting off stage, and I just gave him a quick one-arm hug, and I said, ‘Hey, Slash! Thank you very much. That was great.’

However, as Nita added, she was saying something completely different in her head. But that’s what happens when you’re playing with one of your heroes. She continued:

“In my brain, I was thinking, ‘I was a young guitar player, and you were a big influence, and you know, I spent so many years trying to figure out your licks!’

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

“Instead, all I said was like, ‘Hey! It was great. Thanks.’ And he was like, ‘Yeah, play great things.’ I was like, ‘No big deal!’ So, it’s like those moments – I played it cool. Maybe, a bit too cool.

Discussing this further, Nita mentioned that she’ll probably act differently and stay true to her inner fangirl, explaining:

“If I have the chance again, maybe I’ll tell him the same thing that everybody else tells him, which is what an influence he was and how much he changed the face of music as we know it and all that good stuff.”

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

However, this probably isn’t the best idea, at least not when you’re talking to Slash. As the Guns N’ Roses lead guitarist said in an interview, he actually prefers when people keep their cool. Therefore, Nita actually acted the way she was supposed to. Asked about what it was like for him to meet his heroes, Slash replied:

“Let’s see… I’ve met a bunch of them over the years. And, you know, I get probably as starstruck, if not more starstruck, than the average person. [laughs] And you just have to be cool.

“You have to keep your cool and try not to make anybody uncomfortable by telling them what a big influence they are on you right away. Because I think that’s unnerving. It is for me because I don’t know how to react.

Slash ft.Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators - Anastasia | Live in Sydney

“I think one of my first guitar heroes that I met was really… Well actually, it was Lemmy. He wasn’t, obviously, a guitar player, but might as well [be]. His sound is so otherworldly, it’s not guitar or bass. It’s just Lemmy.

“He was like the first sort of real guitar hero that I met. And then the next one would have to be Joe Perry when we were doing the opening for Aerosmith back in the late ’80s. And both guys were really, really cool. And I’ve gone on to be really good friends with them ever since.

“But I’ll tell you one story, meeting some guitar heroes and just what an impact it has. I was doing a show at Hammersmith in… I guess it was 2005 with Velvet Revolver. And Jimmy Page and Brian May, who I’ve not met before, showed up at the gig. And that was… Talk about just being really uncomfortable. [laughs]

Velvet Revolver - 2005-06-05 Rock am Ring, Germany

“But they’re lovely guys really, really down to earth. And I was really happy to meet them and also to find that they were so, sort of, human. But I’ll never forget that as being one of the most intimidating shows I ever did.

Of course, meeting Jimmy Page and Brian May is an experience of a lifetime. Asked whether the two legends came up to meet them afterward, Slash replied:

“Jimmy came up to… I was asleep on the bus. And our tour manager directed him over to the bus and he actually came to the bus door. And that it was how we first met. And then and then Brian, I saw backstage afterward, right before we went on. And then those guys both sit on the side and stage while we play. And I saw them afterward. So it was an entire day. [laughs]

Jimmy Page Grades other Guitarists out of 10.

In early March this year, Nita Strauss officially announced that she’s getting back into Alice Cooper’s band. In 2022, the rock news outlets were flooded with news of Nita leaving to join Demi Lovato’s tour band. After one guest appearance during Alice’s live show late last year, Nita is now officially back. Alice Cooper’s statement read:

“She’s Back! Nita asked for a leave of absence to work with someone else, something I always encourage my band members to do. I like them to challenge themselves and try new things.”

While Nita was out of the group, she was replaced by Alice’s guitar player from the 1980s, Kane Roberts. Alice added:

“I’m thankful to my old friend Kane Roberts for stepping up and filling in for her, but she’ll be back with us for the new tour that starts up in late April. It’s going to be great to have her back.”

Angus Young and Slash together...

Nita’s statement read:

“From the studio to the stage, it’s always an immense honor to make music with Alice Cooper!! I’m very excited to be rejoining the band on the road for the 2023 dates, and so I’ll see you on the road in April. Let the nightmare return!”

Photos: Frank Schwichtenberg (Nita Strauss – Wacken Open Air 2017 26), Kreepin Deth (Slash live in London 2022)

Author

  • 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.