Nita Strauss has been doing what she can to keep herself busy during the COVID-19 pandemic. When the Alice Cooper guitarist realized her entire year of touring is more or less scrapped, she decided to make a positive out of all of this uncertainty. Strauss has been spending this time working on her sophomore solo effort and has recently launched Rock Guitar Fundamentals, a 3 module online guitar teaching program. We caught up with the guitarist to discuss the program, learn a bit more of her Body Shred Challenge, an update on her new album, and more.
You’ve been a huge inspiration and role model to many and now is definitely the time to keep spirits up and you’ve been doing such a great job connecting with your fans even during these times. What keeps you motivated?
I find it really easy to be motivated when you like what you do, and I love what I do so much that it’s been pretty easy to keep spirits high. I mean it’s definitely a scary time. It was very scary getting the email that my entire year of work was canceled, but thankfully we’re able to do stuff like live streams. I’m working on my next record. I just released my instructional course, Rock Guitar Fundamentals. So it’s actually been really cool to get a chance to connect with people on a different level than just being on stage and looking at them from far away.
About your Rock Guitar Fundamentals, I’m somebody who actually quit playing the guitar years ago due to losing patience now here I am behind the scenes. And with that being said, your Rock Guitar Fundamentals is for people of all different levels of experience. How does that work exactly?
So basically I was taking a look at what was out there. I knew I wanted to do an instructional course and I saw a lot of amazing materials out there, but what I didn’t see was something that approached picking up the guitar for the first time and taking them through the journey from a rock guitar player’s perspective. So I wanted to create something for maybe somebody that’s been a fan of music their whole life and gone to concerts and supported artists but never had the chance to pick up the instrument and learn how to play it themselves. So now we can use this downtime, use this time at home to just say, “Hey, I’ve always wanted to do this and I’m going to give it a try.”
What have been some challenges getting Rock Guitar Fundamentals together?
It was definitely a learning curve as far as like all the business side of it goes, how to create a website to offer this course on that a lot of it is subscription based, a lot of the options out there to do this, you have to pay $20 a month for as long as you want to have access to it or whatever. And I wanted to do something that would be accessible to people that they could do on their own time, on their own schedule. So finding a way to make a subscription type of course that people only pay once was a really big challenge. So for my courses you pay to get in and then you have lifetime access to all the materials. Anything that I add in the future you get that, you get all the tabs and downloads and all that stuff just for the one time signup fee. So finding just the infrastructure I ended up having to have the website rebuilt twice because the first one just didn’t look right, it was a little junkie looking and just all this behind the scenes stuff. But putting together the course was the easy part, it was just the challenges of learning a completely new business model I guess that was the most challenging.
I noticed you had another project right before this, the Body Shred Challenge. I saw some tremendous transformation photos and was curious how this works.
So Body Shred has actually been around for about a year now. The one that just finished was the second time that we did it. And really how that came about was I got into fitness myself when I got sober in 2015, and when I started making these positive changes in my life I wanted to find a way to pass that on to our community, the rock community that has given so much to me. Because when I got into fitness I was looking at these fit for Instagram and these workout influencers, and it just all seemed so out of my comfort zone. The people doing it I had nothing in common with, the people doing the workouts were like just polished and perfect and the pesto and working out to music that I didn’t relate to. And I thought, what if I just made something like this before our family for the rock family? So we did it. This is the second one that we’ve done and the challenge has gone amazing. This time we had over 700 people participating. The winner won an Ibanez JIVA, my signature guitar, and a Marshall Ant and all kinds of fun prizes. We had fitness sponsors as well, Trifecta Nutrition who provides healthy organic food, and RP Strength who are my nutritionist that keep me in shape on tour and off tour. So basically just bringing all these tools that I use myself in my own fitness to utilize to everybody that wants to get in better shape and have a fun community while doing it.
And it’s from getting sober to transitioning to a fitness expert, such an incredible change for you, I’m sure. And now with the pandemic there are a lot of people who are more tempted to consume alcohol than exercise because we’re facing some really dark times. What advice do you have for people who like to try to stay active even when we’re not feeling motivated to be active right now?
I find that, and this might be a weird thing to hear for somebody that still enjoys alcohol, but I find that the buzz that I get from being productive and getting stuff done and like seeing my body change, or learning a new skill is way more rewarding than the buzz and the later hangover that I used to get when I drank. So the endorphins from getting out and moving, like working out it’s not really fun while you’re doing it, but that feeling of accomplishment after it’s done, you’re like, yeah, I just had a great workout. Your body feels healthier, your mind feels sharp, maybe you’ve always wanted to learn a new language or maybe you’ve always wanted to learn an instrument, with something like my course. And that feeling of accomplishment is so important during these days because that temporary buzz of drinking or getting high or anything that you enjoy and indulge during this time it’s just temporary and it doesn’t have any lasting beneficial effects.
No, that’s very true. You mentioned you’re working on your second record. Is there any information you can reveal to us about the progress?
It’s going so well. I love doing it. It’s definitely challenging. My boyfriend and I live in a tiny one bedroom and we’re not used to me being home all the time. So it’s not without its challenges, but it is nice having a place to like just get up and work and write every day. Usually I’m writing on hotel desks and I’m digging my pro tools rig out of my suitcase to get work done. So this is actually nice to just be able to sit at the kitchen counter and work. And I’ve got the dogs here and a new little foster kitty, so it’s nice to just have the stability of being home and working on the records. We have seven songs pretty much done now. I’m probably going to write four more to complete it and then hopefully we can get into a studio to record drums and we’ll very likely put this up toward the end of 2020.
What advice do you have for new guitar players, those who want to get their foot into the door?
I think an important thing to remember especially if you’re starting out at a later age, everybody starts out as a beginner, there are no natural guitar players that just picked it up and were already good. I struggled at the beginning, I still struggle now, but especially with the basics it’s really easy to get discouraged because we live in such a time of instant gratification, like, oh I should already be good at this. And playing the basics is boring. But I think it’s important to remember that everybody started out at that place and if you can just push past the first couple of months of it being boring, then it gets really, really interesting.
Is there anything else that you want to say or add to your fans?
I think whatever you guys are doing at this time just do it with all of your heart. It’s very easy like we were talking about earlier to get distracted and binge watch TV shows or enjoy a bottle of wine at noon, and there’s nothing wrong with doing those things but also take some time to better yourself and educate yourself and maybe learn a new skill and maybe learn a new instrument, whatever it is, something you’ve always wanted to do, maybe it’s just organize your drawers or clean up the car. Just doing something that keeps you feeling productive I think is the key.