Nita Strauss: “If Stairway to Heaven came out today, people would be complaining and whining”

Nita Strauss takes on online haters
(Image credit: Daniel Knighton/FilmMagic)

These days, Nita Strauss receives a lot more love than hate – Guitar World even name her one of the 20 Best Guitarists of the Decade – but the Alice Cooper electric guitar player still has a few words of advice to offer about dealing with criticism. 

In a new interview with Rob’s School of Music, she was asked if she had any tips for young female musicians working in the male-dominated music world.

She responded (via Blabbermouth): "Honestly, my advice for girls is the same as my advice for young dudes. And it holds true for both. So I'm just gonna give it for both, but it really, really applies for both. And that's there are always gonna be people that doubt you, no matter who you are, no matter where you live, no matter how great you are.

"I was just having this conversation this morning with [Strauss’ boyfriend and manager] Josh [Villalta]. We were just talking about Metallica, the biggest metal band that has ever existed in the history of metal bands, and they put out something new, and people trash-talk it all over it.

"If Stairway to Heaven came out today, people would be just complaining and whining on YouTube and in the Blabbermouth comments and all this stuff. You can't please everybody, not in this day and age. 

"So you need to not focus too much on pleasing everybody and not focus too much on the naysayers and the negativity that's out there, and focus on working as hard as you can, performing as best as you can. Always be early. Show up ready to play. Don't be asking a lot of questions when you get there. Show up super prepared. Always be 15 minutes early. Always be the most professional, the easiest to deal with. 

"And being easy to deal with is kind of important for a girl. 'Cause maybe that's one place where I see there's still a little bit of a stigma. You don't wanna have people going around [saying], 'She's on her period,' or something."

Strauss went on to stress the importance of being on time and professional when it comes to getting – and keeping – a gig.

"For guys and girls, showing up on time — I keep saying 'on time,' because on time is so important," she said. "Being early is [so important], and being super, super professional. 

"And also, on the flipside, not letting the negativity get to your head, but also not letting the accolades get to your head. Because once you start getting some notoriety and you start getting good and getting your name out there, there's gonna be people saying some crazy stuff: 'You're the best guitar player in the world. No one has ever been better than you.' And if you start believing that, nothing good can happen. Nothing good comes from believing that you're the best and you can never improve and you can never get better and you can never grow as an artist.

“So equally as important to shutting out the naysayers is shutting out people that will just tell you that you don't need to progress, and you're already good enough. You always have to get better. You always have to progress. You always have to be better in any way you possibly can.”

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.