How did you get word that Alice was looking for a new guitarist and how did they contact you?
I actually got a call from Kip Winger asking me if I was open for the rest of the year. He then told me he submitted me for the gig when he got word that they were looking for someone. I met Kip when I played at M3 and on the Monsters of Rock cruise a while back. He used to play with Alice. I'm assuming that I wasn't the only one they were looking at. There was an audition process but not an open call.
How did your audition go?
First I met with Bob Ezrin and Shep Gordon (Alice’s producer and manager respectively) in LA and then they gave me two songs to learn for the audition. After I played I went through a two week audition process with them before I received an email with the dates before I got a call from Alice's bassist Chuck Garrick who's been playing with Alice for 12 years welcoming me into the band. Chuck is the longest standing member of Alice's band.
How much time did you have to learn the material after you got the gig before your first rehearsal?
I had 3 weeks from the time I found out I had the gig to learn 28 songs then we did three days of rehearsals in Michigan with production before the first show.
How is it working with Alice?
Alice is a living legend for a really good reason. He’s so great to work with and a total pro. His wife Cheryl is on the tour with us and is a joy to work with. Alice is in amazing shape and is a great performer has amazing stamina every night and a great inspiration. The guys in the band and crew are like a big family and everyone treats each other with respect.
Take us through a typical day for you on the Alice tour…
By the time I get up Alice is already gone playing golf, I usually go work out first then take care of biz stuff. We get to the venue around 5pm and play at 7:40 pm every night. If we're in town for only one night then we usually catch a few songs of the Motley Crue set before we get on the bus to go to the next town and I'm usually in bed by eleven. If we're in town for more than one night we try to catch more of the Motley show. Everyone thinks this is the party tour of the summer but it's actually a pretty healthy clean tour for the most part. We definitely have our fun… We're out with Motley until December 2014.
What it like being on stage with Alice with all that production? Can you could die if you're in the wrong place?
You can't die… Alice is the only one that dies… lol… The fire curtain that we walk through is pretty hot. It's not deadly but it can be uncomfortable. You'll see sometimes we can't use it outdoors because of the wind will blow the sparks everywhere. I'm pretty accustomed to having a lot of stuff going on while I'm on stage this is just slightly bigger now. Playing with Jermaine Jackson with all his dancers was good training.
What gear are you using for the current Alice tour?
I'm using my usual Ibanez guitars. I switched to Blackstar from Bogner because I needed an amp that was punchy and had that classic rock sound and that was versatile with midi switching capabilities. I use a Rocktron Prophesy and a Shure wireless system. My tech Brian keeps everything running great and usually knows what I need before I do… I'm pretty hard on my guitars.
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Alice Cooper's New Guitar Girl:
An Interview With Nita Strauss