Nita Strauss pays tribute to her guitar idols

Nita Strauss
Nita Strauss (Image credit: Getty)

Nita Strauss has paid tribute to her guitar idols, Steve Vai and Jason Becker.

The Alice Cooper guitarist describes how playing Vai’s solo in Feed My Frankenstein inspires her on stage – and how her appreciation for Becker has grown as she’s developed her craft over the years.

She tells K9 Magazine: “I’m inspired by Steve Vai and there’s a song in the Alice Cooper catalogue, which not a lot of people know, but Steve Vai plays one of the guitar solos on it and the song is called Feed My Frankenstein. Every time we play that song on stage I get to play Steve Vai’s solo and it’s a little bit of a moment for me to pay tribute to my hero.

“I learnt the solo note for note how he recorded it, and so each time I play it I get to think about how he inspired me so much while playing his notes.

“It’s interesting that as you learn guitar, you start to think that all of these things that seemed insurmountable as a young guitar player, but with practice, you realise how they’re done and you have a whole new appreciation for that person who inspired you in the first place.”

Speaking of Becker, who suffers from motor neurone disease ALS, Strauss says: “As a young guitar player, I would listen to Jason Becker and go, ‘How’s he doing that?’ because what he was playing sounded amazing. Now I can actually play one of Jason’s pieces but have a whole new appreciation for how technical and difficult it is.

“Jason has overcome such amazing adversity in his life. He retains such an incredible passion for music, I think that’s what most inspires me now about someone like him is that he has such commitment to what he does and to music.”

She also compares her bandmates Cooper and guitarists Ryan Roxie and Tommy Henriksen to different kinds of dogs.

Strauss adds: “Tommy would be a little ragamuffin mutt running around New York causing trouble, for sure. He’d be like the dog from Lady And The Tramp running around.

“Ryan would be a Pomeranian. He’s got his accessories and very stylish, he’s very put together and I think Pomeranians are the most put together of all breeds.”

She then likens Cooper to her Pomeranian/Chihuahua mix, Bentley, adding: “She laid back, likes her routine and she likes to nap!”

Strauss recently confirmed the Alice Cooper band will launch their own album without the frontman.

Alice Cooper remaining tour dates 2016

Oct 13: Lethbridge ENMAZ Centre, AB
Oct 15: Calgary Winsport Arena, AB
Oct 16: Penticton South Okanagan Event Center, BC
Oct 18: Victoria The Q Centre, BC
Oct 19: Vancouver Queen Elizabeth Theatre, BC
Oct 20: Tacoma Emerald Queen Casino, WA
Oct 22: Portland Keller Auditorium, OR
Oct 25: Reno Grand Sierra Resort, NV
Oct 26: San Francisco The Warfield, CA
Oct 28: San Diego Harrah’s Resort SoCal, CA
Oct 29: Indio Fantasy Springs Casino Resort, CA
Oct 30: Hollywood Pantages Theatre, CA

Nita Strauss' 5 Essential Guitar Albums

Former TeamRock news desk member Christina joined our team in late 2015, and although her time working on online rock news was fairly brief, she made a huge impact by contributing close to 1500 stories. Christina also interviewed artists including Deftones frontman Chino Moreno and worked at the Download festival. In late 2016, Christina left rock journalism to pursue a career in current affairs. In 2021, she was named Local Weekly Feature Writer of the Year at the Scottish Press Awards.