Nita Strauss, the guitar shredder for the ALICE COOPER band, was the featured guest on BBC‘s “The Rock Show With Johnnie Walker” during the “Rock God” segment. Nita picked Steve Vai and stated about her choice: “Steve Vai has been my favorite guitar player since I first started playing guitar and always been my biggest inspiration because of not just his technique but the joy and passion in his guitar playing. That’s something that I try to emulate in my own playing every day, and I think all guitar players could benefit from that as well. So, Steve Vai, you are my rock god.”

In a 2018 interview with Sweetwater, Nita talked about how she was inspired as a teenager by Vai‘s performance in the 1980s film “Crossroads”. She said: “When I watched that movie, I was super into gymnastics. I was an alternate on the Junior Olympic team — that’s how serious I was about doing gymnastics. The next day after watching that, I walked into the gym where I had been going as a child. Let’s say that practice started at 5 o’clock. I walked in [at] probably 5:10, 5:15. My coach looked at me like, [taps wrist], and I said, ‘I know. Yeah, yeah, I know.’ And I got my stuff out of my locker and I left, and I never went back. All I did from that moment forward was play the guitar. I never even thought about doing anything else. I loved it. I was that kid that was practicing every hour of the day. You could not take the guitar out of my hands. At the dinner table, under the cover with the lights out after bedtime, I was always playing. Taking the guitar to school, practicing at lunch… I didn’t start out being any good at this instrument. Everybody starts out at exactly the same level, and that’s something I love about music. No one can do your push-up for you. No one can practice for you. No one can run those hours of scales for you. No one starts out any better than anyone else.”

Nita also cited Vai as the inspiration for her debut solo single “Pandemonium”, saying: “Steve is actually the reason I did ‘Pandemonium’. I was so focused on launching WE START WARS, my original band, and I always wanted to do a solo record. All my heroes are instrumental guitar players, but I sort of had that ‘I’m not ready’ feeling — I was like, ‘I don’t feel like I’m the guitar player that I want to be when I put this out.’ That’s just called fear. Fear has no place in what we do here. The first time I met Vai was at ‘Generation Axe’ [his 2016 tour with Zakk Wylde, Yngwie Malmsteen, Nuno Bettencourt and Tosin Abasi]. Steve said, ‘I’m putting together this compilation of female guitar players. Would you be willing to contribute a song to it?’ I said, ‘Oh yeah, absolutely. I definitely have something.’ [My boyfriend/manager] and I were walking to the car, and he goes, ‘So, do you have something?’ I said, ‘No. Not a clue.’ [Laughs] ‘I have nothing. I don’t even have an idea.’ But I went home, and in the next few days, I formulated what would become ‘Pandemonium’, and I had so much fun doing it.”

Earlier in the month, Nita shared “Dead Inside”, her first new music since the release of her critically acclaimed debut solo album “Controlled Chaos” in 2018. The track is her first-ever solo collaboration with a vocalist, David Draiman, frontman of Grammy-nominated rock icons DISTURBED.