Jay Nanda of San Antonio Metal Music Examiner conducted an interview with THE IRON MAIDENS guitarist Nita Strauss, who recently joined Alice Cooper’s touring band. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
San Antonio Metal Music Examiner: How much of an influence was [Alice Cooper] on you growing up, musically?
Nita: Alice Cooper, I think, transcends anybody’s influence. The cool thing about him is that, even today, there’s not that many artists from that generation that are still so relevant and touring so much. Alice now tours with IRON MAIDEN and MARILYN MANSON and ROB ZOMBIE. He’s touring with these artists that are a little bit newer. And definitely, also, Steve Hunter was, of course, a huge influence on me as a guitarist as well. I think their influences are more far-reaching than any of us really know.
San Antonio Metal Music Examiner: Having been in all-female bands THE IRON MAIDENS and with the revamped FEMME FATALE, your talent speaks for itself. But do you find yourself sometimes battling within some circles of the music industry to get people to focus on your guitar playing and musicianship. Or is it a case of, “Hey, the sex appeal doesn’t hurt the cause”?
Nita: I think it’s always going to be a give-and-take with the image thing. I had an interesting conversation yesterday about dressing to avoid people talking about your image and only focus on the guitar playing versus dressing to use your image as an asset. And I don’t really see myself as doing either/or. Because first of all, I’m not going to dress myself; other people dress… [laughs] I’m a total tomboy at heart. If I don’t have to be on stage or doing anything that day, I’m always in band t-shirt and yoga pants and sneakers. But at the end of the day, I’m a girl. I’m from Santa Monica. I’m going to look how I want to look and play how I want to play, and if people don’t like it, then they don’t like it. The awesome thing about this great country of America that we live in is that they’re absolutely free to not like it. But I like it. If I go on stage and I think I look cool and I think I’m playing well, that’s what it’s all about, I think.
San Antonio Metal Music Examiner: You recently did an interview for Playboy Radio, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask — did they offer you a pictorial?
Nita: They joked about it a lot. They didn’t put an official offer on the table. But they definitely threw it out there. My joking response was, “Maybe with a strategically placed guitar.” [laughs] I don’t think it’s actually in the future, but it’s fun to joke about.
San Antonio Metal Music Examiner: Well, if you did something like that — with a strategically placed guitar — that wouldn’t be too different from the Revolver [magazine] “Hottest Chicks” type of thing, would it?
Nita: Yeah. You know, for photos, we talk about the word “objectify.” And, you know, it’s subjective. If you want to look at the photos in Revolver and think, “This girl’s trying to get attention because she looks the way she does,” then that’s fine. I’m still going to do my same practice regimen, and I’m still going to get on stage and do all my guitar set-ups and swap out my own pickups. I’m still going to do all that stuff too. People are always going to talk.
Read the entire interview at San Antonio Metal Music Examiner.