Nita Strauss is known as a guitar virtuoso, but she didn’t take her first guitar lesson until after she joined Alice Cooper‘s band.

In an interview with Guitar Player, Strauss shares that she decided to take lessons after a conversation she had with longtime Cooper producer Bob Ezrin when she first joined the band in 2014.

“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?"” Strauss recalls. “I said, ‘Absolutely. I know I can do it."”

“This was two weeks before the start of the Alice Cooper-Mötley Crüe tour,” she continues. “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.”

While that conversation didn’t necessarily boost Strauss’ confidence, it did lead her to search for a guitar teacher.

“I was like, ‘I need to figure out what he means — a ‘rock guitar player,”” Strauss says. “I called around and found a great teacher. I came in and showed him my audition videos. I said, ‘What the f*** does he mean?"”

“My teacher was the first person to really teach me how to incorporate blues licks into my playing, like adding the blues note into the minor pentatonic scale — these little licks and things,” Strauss explains. “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.”

Alice Cooper is currently on tour with Rob Zombie. The “School’s Out” rocker released a new album, Road, in August.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.