NITA STRAUSS: 'I Was A Really Functioning Alcoholic'

NITA STRAUSS: 'I Was A Really Functioning Alcoholic'

Nita Strauss, the Los Angeles-based guitar shredder for the ALICE COOPER band, was recently interviewed by Forrest of the Boise, Idaho radio station 96.9 The Eagle. The full conversation can be heard below. A couple of excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On whether she knew that her THE STARBREAKERS bandmate Jill Janus was struggling with anything prior to her suicide this past August:

Nita: "Yes. Jill Janus was one of my best friends. So, yeah, I knew everything. We got sober around the same time, and Jill, she was very open about her struggle with depression and with mental illness, and she didn't hide it from fans, she didn't hide it from the world. And, actually, she really used it as a force to help a lot of people, by being open with her struggles and what she went through in her life. So it was really more sad… I don't know if there ever is a 'more sad' than anyone else, but it was really, really sad to see it overcome her in the end."

On whether it was ever tough to be playing with Alice Cooper, who has been sober for decades, and not be on the "sober train":

Nita: "Oh, no. The great thing about Alice is he's so inclusive. He doesn't judge anybody. We could drink a beer or have a cocktail in front of him — his wife Sheryl will have a glass of wine here and there at dinner — and he doesn't mind; he will never say a word. The only time that he would ever get on anyone — which, thankfully, never happened to me — is if it started to affect your job. If I was going on stage sloppy, wasted, falling down, missing notes, forgetting parts, I'm sure I would have had a talk from Alice. But I was a really functioning alcoholic. I liked to drink; I have always liked to drink. I've been touring since I was a young teenager, and the only way to fit in, I thought, at that time, the way to fit in with this older crowd, was to have a beer with them. And that just sort of became my crutch. That's how I survived being a young female in the world of rock and roll. I'd be, like, 'Hey, let's have a beer together,' and that's kind of the equalizer. And it wasn't until [later that] I realized it's actually not all that important. I have never met somebody since I got sober that offered me a drink and I said, 'No, thank you. I don't drink,' and they judged me for it. And I always thought that would happen. I always thought it would be some kind of weakness or something if I don't drink. And as soon as I got sober and I started saying, 'Oh, no, thank you. I don't drink,' it was never, like, 'What? Oh, that's crazy!' They [go], 'Oh, okay.' No big deal. And it's even more common for musicians to be sober than to be wild partiers now."

Nita's debut solo album, "Controlled Chaos", was released on November 16 via Sumerian Records. The disc was fueled by a Kickstarter campaign which generated over 600 percent of what Strauss was hoping to raise to help offset the costs around creating the record and touring it.

Earlier this year, Strauss became the first female to have a signature series guitar with Ibanez. Nita is also the first female to have signature DiMarzio pickups.

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