By Jude Gold
Time travel back 13 years, and Nita Strauss wasn't quite old enough to drive.
She was, however, old enough to rock.
It was around this time, late on a school night, that Strauss played her first real rock and roll gig.
But on the evening in question, when it was Nita's band's turn to perform, the club was virtually empty. The audience had dwindled down to just her bandmate's girlfriend, someone's sister, a couple random stragglers...and Nita's father.
And, as if the situation wasn't tough enough, Nita's band was not allowed to take the stage until Mr. Strauss agreed, in classic L.A. pay-to-play fashion, to purchase $60 in unsold tickets.
Flash forward to the present, and ticket sales aren't a problem.
Nita Strauss now plays sold-out arena shows with Rock-and-Roll-Hall-of-Famer Alice Cooper, supporting Mötley Crüe on the iconic metal band's over-the-top farewell world tour.
How did Strauss ascend through the rock and roll ranks so quickly?
Listen to Episode 11 of Guitar Player's No Guitar Is Safe podcast and find out how this talented young guitar hero achieved the feat.
With her favorite Ibanez S-series guitar plugged into a fire-breathing Blackstar half-stack at Swinghouse Studios in Los Angeles, Strauss shares how she went from touring the country in a rusty pickup truck to playing with the Iron Maidens to rocking out at giant shows with Jermaine Jackson to playing on video game soundtracks to being a featured performer on That Metal Show to playing "Enormodome" stages with the guy who single-handedly invented shock rock.
To transport your ears into the room at Swinghouse studios where I interview and play guitar with Strauss for well over an hour, join us on our podcast interview on No Guitar Is Safe.
You can hear the Nita Strauss episode on iTunes by clicking the link below, or by searching for the show on Soundcloud or any other app or URL that hosts podcasts.