“I remember thinking, ‘Wow… Bob Ezrin just told me I didn’t know how to play rock guitar’”: Nita Strauss recalls auditioning for Alice Cooper

“I was like, ‘I need to figure out what he means – a ‘rock guitar player.’”

Nita Strauss and Alice Cooper

Image: Katja Ogrin / Getty Images

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Nita Strauss recently revealed that her recruitment as the guitarist of Alice Cooper’s live band wasn’t as smooth sailing as one might imagine.

Strauss was speaking on the October issue of Guitar Player where she discussed how the audition process went down, saying, “It was kind of an education process. When I got the confirmation that I was going to be on the Alice Cooper tour, I wound up taking my first actual guitar lesson.”

The reason for that? “To learn, basically,” Strauss explains. “I talked to [longtime Alice Cooper producer] Bob Ezrin, who was a big part of my audition process, and he said, ‘Alice Cooper doesn’t need a shred guitar player. He needs a rock guitar player. Can you become a rock guitar player in time?’ I said, ‘Absolutely. I know I can do it.’”

With just two weeks left before the start of the Alice Cooper-Mötley Crüe tour, the virtuoso soon found a teacher to coach her on just what it means to be a “rock guitar player”.

“When I hung up the phone, I was in a daze. I remember looking at my phone and thinking, ‘Wow… Bob Ezrin just told me I don’t know how to play rock guitar,’” Strauss recalls. “I was like, “I need to figure out what he means – a ‘rock guitar player.’” I called around and found a great teacher. I came in and showed him my audition videos. I said, “What the fuck does he mean?”

“My teacher was the first person to really teach me how to incorporate blues licks into my playing,” she continues, “like adding the blues note into the minor pentatonic scale – these little licks and things. AC/DC riffs, Kiss riffs and licks. Ace Frehley’s stuff worked seamlessly with my style of playing, but they added that extra nuance that made it feel a bit more like a classic-rock vibe.”


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