By the Way

Alice Cooper kicks off summer tour at the Beau Rivage

By JEFF CLARK

jclark@sunherald.com

Guitarist Nita Strauss says Alice Cooper and his band are excited about their solo tour.
Guitarist Nita Strauss says Alice Cooper and his band are excited about their solo tour.

The hottest ticket on the Coast Friday night is the Alice Cooper show at the Beau Rivage. And on the chance you were thinking about rolling up tonight without planning ahead, it is sold out.

Nita Strauss is a guitar virtuoso -- and though I shouldn’t use superlatives, she’s amazing.

The Beau show is the first show of Cooper’s solo tour, as he and his band were on the road with Motley Crue for almost three years.

“I’m so excited about the tours,” Strauss said during an interview with the Sun Herald. “Being on the road with Motley Crue was an amazing experience as a musicians and as a music fan, but it’s going to be really cool to be back in front of our own fan base doing a longer set of our own material -- getting to do what we do we best, which is an Alice Cooper show.”

Strauss, Cooper and the rest of the band have been in Biloxi since Sunday, using the theater at the Beau Rivage as a rehearsal space.

“We’ve been in production rehearsals, there are a lot of moving pieces, in our show and we’ve been here at the Beau Rivage,” she said. “A lot of bands take a month to put a tour together, but we’ve done it in five days, so we’ve been on the stage almost nonstop working on arrangements and parts.”

She said the band will be debuting a new set list at Friday’s show in Biloxi.

“It’s nice to get to play for more than an hour-and-a-half, so there’s more space to add songs than when you're playing a 45 minute set as an opening act,” she said. “By the time you get ‘Eighteen,’ ‘School’s Out’ and ‘Billion Dollar Babies’ in there, you're almost done, so this lets us stretch our wings a little bit and play some more songs.”

My buddy David told me about Strauss a few years ago -- that she was “Yngwie Malmsteen-good” and that she was in an Iron Maiden cover band. I was sold. And as a music fan and guitar nerd, I turned our conversation on the terrace of the Beau Rivage to the recent death of Prince.

“It’s a huge loss to the music community,” she said. “It is devastating to see the loss of so many great artists so close together -- it’s big blow to the guitar community. I hear from a lot of people that Prince was an ‘underrated guitar player,’ but as a guitar player, all I ever really heard about was his guitar skills.”

Jeff Clark is a staff writer for the Sun Herald.

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