Vinita Sandhya Strauss (born December 7, 1986) is an American rock musician. She is currently a touring guitarist for Demi Lovato and Alice Cooper and has a successful career as a solo artist.[2][3] Strauss was the first female signature artist with Ibanez guitars and is regularly featured on the covers of worldwide print magazines including Guitar World and Guitar Player. She was ranked No. 1 on Guitar World's list of "10 Female Guitar Players You Should Know".[4]

Nita Strauss
Strauss with Alice Cooper at Wacken Open Air 2017
Strauss with Alice Cooper at Wacken Open Air 2017
Background information
Birth nameVinita Sandhya Strauss
Also known asMega Murray, Hurricane Nita, The Hurricane
Born (1986-12-07) December 7, 1986 (age 36)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.[1]
GenresHeavy metal, hard rock, tribute music, instrumental metal, deathcore
Years active2003–present
LabelsSumerian, Powerslave
Member ofAlice Cooper, We Start Wars, The Starbreakers
Formerly ofThe Iron Maidens, Femme Fatale, Consume the Fire

Career Edit

Strauss started touring with her own band Lia-Fail as a teenager, leaving high school in her junior year to pursue music full time; the band included future world champion boxer Mikaela Mayer.[5] Although initially known for her work with Iron Maiden all-female tribute band The Iron Maidens, Strauss' career has included performing with several rock ensembles including Consume the Fire, Femme Fatale, and the video-game supergroup Critical Hit.[6][7]

In 2014, Strauss was the official in-house guitarist for the Los Angeles Kiss (LA KISS), the arena football team owned by Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons of KISS. The house band played the national anthem and provided additional music during the games.[8]

In June 2014, Strauss was hired to replace Orianthi as Alice Cooper's touring guitarist for the remaining 2014 tour dates.[9][10] She toured with Alice Cooper until July 2022, when she announced her departure from the touring band.[11] A few days later, Strauss announced that she had joined Demi Lovato's backing band as a touring guitarist. On March 3rd, 2023, Alice Cooper announced that Strauss would return for the 2023 tour.[12]

Strauss performing with Alice Cooper in 2022

Strauss is featured as the main guitarist for seven songs on Docker's Guild album called The Heisenberg Diaries – Book A: Sounds of Future Past, released on January 21, 2016.[13]

Strauss appeared in the 2017 Netflix documentary Hired Gun.[14][15]

Solo artist Edit

In April 2018, Strauss launched a Kickstarter campaign for her debut solo record Controlled Chaos. The campaign was successfully funded in two hours and eventually raised eight times its initial goal. Strauss produced the record herself, including the majority of the engineering work, and played all of the guitars and bass on the record.[16]

After the record was completed, Strauss signed with Sumerian Records to release and distribute the album worldwide. The first single, "Our Most Desperate Hour", was released in September 2018 along with pre-orders for the record on both CD and vinyl, with the vinyl completely selling out before release. Controlled Chaos debuted on the Billboard charts at No. 1 Top New Artist, No. 3 Label Independent, No. 4 Top Hard Music, No. 8 Top Rock, No. 8 Top Internet, No. 20 Top albums, and No. 7 on the iTunes Rock chart.[17] The album's second single, "Mariana Trench", was chosen by WWE as the official theme for NXT TakeOver: WarGames (2018).

Special appearances Edit

Strauss performed the Star Spangled Banner at the 2017 Rock on the Range in Columbus, Ohio.[18] She also performed the Star Spangled Banner for the 2022 WISE Power 400 at Auto Club Speedway.[19]

Strauss was introduced to World Wrestling Entertainment by her boyfriend Josh Villalta. She initially started watching because it was important to him, but quickly became a fan herself.[20][21] Strauss started performing live at WWE pay-per-view events in 2018.[22] In April 2018, Strauss played Shinsuke Nakamura's entrance music at WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans in front of an audience of 78,000 fans and millions more who watched the worldwide streaming event.[23] On October 28, Strauss performed with Lzzy Hale at WWE Evolution.[24] Her original song "Mariana Trench" was chosen by Triple H as the official theme for NXT TakeOver: WarGames.[25][26]

Recognition Edit

Strauss in West Palm Beach, Florida in 2023

In January 2018, Strauss became the first ever female Ibanez signature artist with her own model guitar, the Ibanez JIVA10.[27] DiMarzio later released their Pandemonium humbuckers, signature pickups that were developed especially for her JIVA Ibanez guitar.[28][29]

On January 26, 2019, Strauss was honored at the 7th Annual She Rocks Awards with the "Inspire Award", presented to her by Nick Bowcott and her personal hero, Steve Vai. [30]

On January 9, 2022, Strauss became the first female rock solo artist in 32 years to hit number one on Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart with her song "Dead Inside".[31]

Teacher and mentor Edit

Strauss teaches guitar playing, and has gone on teaching tours offering master classes in the US, Canada, UK, Europe, South America, and Asia. She has written articles and recorded companion videos for Guitar World and Premier Guitar magazines.[32][33]

Strauss and fellow musicians Rabea Massaad and Plini were selected as celebrity judges to choose the "2019 Young Guitarist of the Year" at the UK Guitar Show.[34][35]

Personal life Edit

Strauss says she is a descendant of Austrian composer Johann Strauss through her father.[36] Her sister, Varsha Strauss, is married to Panji Adhikumoro, grandson of Suharto, 2nd President of Indonesia from his son, Bambang Trihatmodjo.[37]

Strauss is an avid fan of the Los Angeles Rams, she frequently appears at Rams games at Sofi Stadium, performing interludes or playing riffs out to the stadium to start crowd chants.[38] Strauss was honored to play "America the Beautiful" at the Rams' Salute to Service game in November 2018. Following the Rams' victory in Super Bowl LVI, Strauss was awarded with a Super Bowl ring as an honorary part of the organization.[39]

Health and fitness Edit

Strauss is a fitness enthusiast, practicing strength training, Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and posts blogs about fitness issues on social media. She has been featured in Muscle & Fitness and[40][41] In 2019, Strauss launched the Nita Strauss: Body Shred fitness challenge, with a companion e-book titled Body Shred: Your Guide to Feeling and Looking like a Rock Star.[42]

Discography Edit

Strauss has recorded with Alice Cooper, Jamie Christopherson, Critical Hit, Docker's Guild, FB1964, Metal Allegiance, Kane Roberts and We Start Wars. She has been featured on albums by Maxxxwell Carlisle, Tina Guo and Angel Vivaldi, as well as the all-female compilation album She Rocks. She has played on dozens of albums, trailers and soundtracks, including Heroes of the Storm and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. Strauss released her first instrumental solo album, Controlled Chaos, on November 16, 2018.[43]

Year Artist Album Tracks Credits
2009 Kill Slowly
  • Louder Than Words
  • Let Go
  • Empty Promises
2013 Consume the Fire
  • Empowered
  • Dead Man Walking
  • Everlasting Sky
  • Death of an Icon
  • There's Only Today
Maxxxwell Carlisle Full Metal Thunder
  • The Power of Metal Compels Me (feat. Nita Strauss)
Jamie Christopherson Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
  • The Stains Of Time (Maniac Agenda Mix)
Critical Hit Volume One Guitar
2015 Glenn Stafford and Jason Hayes Heroes of the Storm Soundtrack Guitar
Maxxxwell Carlisle Visions of Speed and Thunder
  • The Power of Metal Compels Me (feat. Nita Strauss)
Tina Guo Cello Metal Lead guitar
Docker's Guild The Heisenberg Diaries, Book A: Sounds Of Future Past Guitar
2017 We Start Wars
  • The Animal Inside
She Rocks Volume 1: A Collection Of Kick-Ass Guitar Goddesses
  • Pandemonium
Alice Cooper Paranormal Guitar, backing vocals
FB1964 Störtebeker
  • Hexenkessel
Guitar solo
Angel Vivaldi Synapse
  • Serotonin (feat. Nita Strauss)
2018 Alice Cooper The Sound of A Guitar, backing vocals
A Paranormal Evening With Alice Cooper at the Olympia Paris
Metal Allegiance Volume II: Power Drunk Majesty
  • King with a Paper Crown
Nita Strauss Controlled Chaos
  • Prepare For War
  • Alegria
  • Our Most Desperate Hour
  • Mariana Trench
  • Here With You
  • The Stillness at the End
  • The Quest
  • Hope Grows
  • Lion Among Wolves
  • Pandemonium 2.0
  • The Show Must Go On (Queen)
Guitar, bass
2019 Kane Roberts The New Normal
  • King of the World
2022 Docker's Guild The Mystic Technocracy - Season 2: The Age of Entropy S.O.S. Spazio 1999 (bonus track) Guitar
2023 Nita Strauss The Call of the Void
  1. Summer Storm
  2. The Wolf You Feed (feat. Alissa White-Gluz)
  3. Digital Bullets (feat. Chris Motionless)
  4. Through the Noise (feat. Lzzy Hale)
  5. Consume the Fire
  6. Dead Inside (feat. David Draiman)
  7. Victorious (feat. Dorothy)
  8. Scorched
  9. Momentum
  10. The Golden Trail (feat. Anders Friden)
  11. Winner Takes All (feat. Alice Cooper)
  12. Monster (feat. Lilith Czar)
  13. Kintsugi
  14. Surfacing (feat. Marty Friedman)
Guitar, Bass
2023 Demi Lovato Revamped La La Land (Rock Version) Guitar

Singles Edit

Title Year Peak chart positions Album

"Dead Inside"
(featuring David Draiman)
2021 1 The Call of the Void
"Victorious"(featuring Dorothy) 2023 16

Live band Edit

  • Josh Villalta - drums[45]
  • Johnny Young - rhythm guitar
  • Christopher Dean - bass
  • Katt Scarlett - keyboards
  • Kasey Karlsen - vocals (2023-present)

Filmography Edit

Year Title Role Notes
2021 Paradise City Val Wolf TV spinoff of American Satan

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. ^,%2C%20Asia%2C%20Australia%20and%20Africa.
  2. ^ Reesman, Bryan (June 3, 2019). "Guitarist Nita Strauss on the Evolution of Rock: 'Now It's Totally Normal to Have Girls in a Band'". Billboard. Retrieved September 18, 2019.
  3. ^ Full Metal Jackie (June 10, 2019). "Nita Strauss: 'There Are No Apologies for Being Female in Heavy Metal'". Loudwire. Retrieved September 18, 2019.
  4. ^ Whitmore, Laura B.; Blumenthal, Anna (July 23, 2011). "Exposed: 10 Female Guitarists You Should Know". Guitar World. Retrieved September 20, 2019.
  5. ^ "Inside the music: The story of the fast rise and quick fall of Mikaela Mayer's teenage metal band". June 16, 2021.
  6. ^ Besim (October 6, 2012). "Interview with Nita Strauss Iron Maidens and Consume The Fire". Live4Guitar. Retrieved September 20, 2019.
  7. ^ Erikson, Anne (June 18, 2019). "Beyond the Boys' Club: Guitar Virtuoso Nita Strauss". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved September 18, 2019.
  8. ^ Mosqueda, Ruben (October 22, 2018). "Hurricane Nita: An Exclusive Interview With Guitarist Nita Strauss". KNAC. Retrieved September 20, 2019.
  9. ^ "Alice Copper Parts Ways with Guitarist Orianthi, Taps the Iron Maidens' Nita Strauss". Blabbermouth. June 12, 2014. Retrieved June 14, 2014.
  10. ^ Roche, Jason (July 21, 2014). "Alice Cooper's Words of Warning to Guitarist Nita Strauss". LA Weekly. Retrieved September 18, 2019.
  11. ^ Rolli, Bryan (July 11, 2022). "Alice Cooper Guitarist Nita Strauss Announces Exit From Band". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved July 11, 2022.
  12. ^ "Nita Strauss will return to Alice Cooper's lineup for 2023 tour". March 6, 2023.
  13. ^ "Docker's Guild – The Heisenberg Diaries – Book A". Docker's Guild Official Website. Archived from the original on February 16, 2016. Retrieved January 31, 2016.
  14. ^ Hired Gun at IMDb
  15. ^ Konow, David (June 22, 2017). "Documentary Hired Gun Puts the World's Best Backing Musicians in the Spotlight". LA Weekly. Retrieved September 20, 2019.
  16. ^ Ives, Brian (April 6, 2018). "Alice Cooper's Guitarist Gives Her Solo Album a 'Kickstart'". Loudwire. Retrieved September 18, 2019.
  17. ^ Tolinski, Brad (December 11, 2018). "Nita Strauss Steps into the Spotlight with Her New Solo Album, 'Controlled Chaos'". Guitar World. Retrieved September 18, 2019.
  18. ^ Nita Strauss US National Anthem May 20, 2017, Rock on the Range 17 Columbus, OH on YouTube
  19. ^ "Nita Strauss to Perform National Anthem at WISE Power 400 at Auto Club Speedway".
  20. ^ "How Alice Cooper's guitarist came to perform Nakamura's WrestleMania theme". WWE. April 8, 2018. Retrieved September 20, 2019 – via YouTube.
  21. ^ Nita Strauss and Beck Lynch: Stay the Course, Part 1 on YouTube | Nita Strauss and Beck Lynch: Stay the Course, Part 2 on YouTube
  22. ^ Childers, Chad (January 15, 2019). "Nita Strauss Plays Favorite Riff, Talks Wrestlemania + Triple H". Loudwire. Retrieved September 18, 2019.
  23. ^ Kielty, Martin (April 9, 2018). "Watch Nita Strauss Play Shinsuke Nakamura's Theme at WrestleMania". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
  24. ^ Benigno, Anthony (October 28, 2018). "Lzzy Hale and Nita Strauss opened WWE Evolution with a musical performance". WWE. Retrieved September 20, 2019.
  25. ^ "Nita Strauss' "Controlled Chaos," featuring TakeOver theme song "Mariana Trench," available now". WWE. November 16, 2018. Retrieved September 20, 2019.
  26. ^ Rees, Adam (September 24, 2018). "How Nita Strauss became a 21st century guitar hero". Metal Hammer. Future Publishing Limited Quay House. Retrieved September 18, 2019.
  27. ^ Sharma, Amit (February 25, 2019). "Nita Strauss: "To be the first female Ibanez signature artist – that's what I've dreamed of since the very beginning"". MusicRadar. Future Publishing Limited Quay House. Retrieved September 18, 2019.
  28. ^ "Nita Strauss Demos DiMarzio's Pandemonium Pickups". Larry DiMarzio. July 2, 2018. Retrieved September 20, 2019 – via YouTube.
  29. ^ Bohlinger, John (July 31, 2019). "Rig Rundown: Nita Strauss". Premier Guitar. Retrieved September 18, 2019.
  30. ^ "Nita Strauss Makes History as First Active Rock Solo Female Chart-Topper". Loudwire. January 10, 2022.
  31. ^ Breathnach, Cillian (January 13, 2022). "Nita Strauss Becomes First Solo Woman To Top Billboard Mainstream Rock Airplay Chart In Over Three Decades". Guitar. Retrieved February 22, 2022.
  32. ^ "Articles by Nita Strauss". Guitar World. Retrieved September 20, 2019.
  33. ^ Strauss, Nita (May 3, 2013). "Drop Dead Shred: Sweep City". Premier Guitar. Retrieved September 20, 2019.
  34. ^ "Young Guitarist of the Year judge Nita Strauss: "Relax, show us your best and have fun!"". MusicRadar. May 31, 2019. Retrieved September 20, 2019.
  35. ^ Parker, Matt (August 8, 2019). "Young Guitarist of the Year 2019 finalists revealed!". MusicRadar. Retrieved September 20, 2019.
  36. ^ Bienstock, Richard (October 27, 2015). "Nita Strauss Proves Shred Guitar's Not Dead". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 18, 2019.
  37. ^ "Fakta Menarik Varsha Strauss, Bule Austria yang Dipinang Cucu Soeharto". August 9, 2018. Retrieved July 26, 2020.
  38. ^ "Nita Strauss details how she became the in house guitarist for the Los Angeles Rams football team". February 9, 2021.
  39. ^ "The rocker gets her ring: Rams reward Nita Strauss with Super Bowl bling". October 22, 2022.
  40. ^ McNulty, Rose (October 25, 2018). "Badass Guitarist Nita Strauss Talks On-the-Go Fitness, Sobriety, and Her Upcoming Album". Muscle and Fitness. Retrieved September 18, 2019.
  41. ^ Schmaltz, Jim (January 9, 2019). "Meet Music's Most Shredded Ax Player". Retrieved September 20, 2019.
  42. ^ "Introducing Nita Strauss: Body Shred!". Nita Strauss. May 8, 2019. Retrieved September 20, 2019 – via YouTube.
  43. ^ "Nita Strauss: 'Controlled Chaos' Solo Album Details Announced". September 28, 2018. Retrieved August 17, 2019.
  44. ^ "Nita Strauss Chart History". Billboard. June 27, 2023. Retrieved June 27, 2023.
  45. ^ "Guitarist Nita Strauss on the Evolution of Rock: 'Now It's Totally Normal to Have Girls in a Band'". Billboard.

External links Edit