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Last week, rock guitar virtuoso Nita Strauss (perhaps best known as a touring guitarist with Alice Cooper), became the first female solo artist with a top 10 hit in the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart in almost 26 years.  Say what?  Wow!  Strauss’ single “Dead Inside”, featuring Disturbed front man David Draiman on vocals, landed at number 10 to end the chart drought.  “Dead Inside” was released in October as the first single from Strauss’ upcoming second solo album. It’s a killer tune with wide commercial rock appeal, certainly deserving of its chart success.  Strauss has teased that her upcoming album will include other special guest vocalists as well.  We can only wait in anticipation!

Taking advantage of a break in the busy Alice Cooper tour schedule, Strauss has embarked on a 28--city Winter Wasteland Fall solo act tour.  “Hurricane” Nita and band stopped into Brick by Brick in San Diego the night before Thanksgiving, and I was ready to feast on healthy portions of loud crunchy metal-inspired Strauss guitar licks.  The lively show was primarily an instrumental performance of songs from Nita’s 2018 debut album, Controlled Chaos.  Strauss’ backing band provided the roaring engine required for Strauss to overlay a flurry of tasty and frenzied guitar wizardry.  Bassist Christopher Dean and drummer Josh Villalta were a perfect monster metal rhythm section while Katt Scarlett banged the keyboards.  Watching a smiling energetic Strauss kick major ass, with her long blonde hair flying all over the place, was simply awesome.  You can see and feel her intensity and passion as her fingers fly away on her Ibanez shredding off riffs and leads in pure metal delight.  Although it seems ages ago, this show was not the first time I’d seen Nita perform.  I caught her many years ago when she was with the impressive all-female Iron Maiden tribute band, The Iron Maidens.  It’s been a joy following Strauss over the years as her career continuous to flourish. 

A few show highlights:  Opening band Black Satellite’s lead singer Larissa Vale came out to join Strauss and sang Alice Cooper’s “Feed My Frankenstein”.  Vale provided the appropriate gritty vocals as Strauss jammed next to the guest vocalist while also screaming out the catchy chorus.  Later Strauss performed an impressive instrumental cover of Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”.  Tastefully done, not overplayed, a nice slower tempo choice showcasing finesse that provided a nice balance to the show.  Late in the set Strauss performed her current chart drought-busting hit “Dead Inside” utilizing pre-recorded Draiman vocals track.  Hey, you can’t expect the Disturbed singer to show up at every Strauss show like he did in L.A. recently!

I can say with utmost confidence that with a few more hits like “Dead Inside”, Nita Strauss is destined for breakthrough superstardom. She’s got the guitar chops, the stage presence, the rock goddess looks, work ethic, passion, and proven ability to package it all together.  Check out Nita Strauss on tour now and be on the lookout for her soon to be released second solo album.

Rock on and be well!  - Greg Vitalich


Greg Vitalich

Photojournalist - San Diego

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