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Girl in a Coma hopes new CD is better than last
By Scott Iwasaki

Deseret News

Published: Thursday, July 2, 2009 6:34 p.m. MDT
Girl in a Coma is coming back to Utah. And the three-woman band — bassist Jenn Alva, guitarist/vocalist Nina Diaz and drummer Phanie Diaz — is looking forward to the show.

"We always have a fun time in Salt Lake," said Alva during a phone call from the road somewhere out of Indianapolis, Ind. "We're playing Burt's again."

GIAC, as the band is known by its fans, have released a new CD, "Trio B.C." on Blackheart Records, the follow-up to its 2007 debut "Both Before I'm Gone."

Alva said all the band wanted to do was make sure the new CD was better than the last.

"We want to continue growing as musicians," she said. "And make sure the album sounds good."

The band once again recruited producer Gabriel Gonzalez, who, along with former Sparta bandmate Erick Sanger, produced "Both Before I'm Gone."

"Working with Gabe again was fun," Alva said. "We learned some things in the last session and it helped this session flow better."

Additional production was done by GIAC's label owner Joan Jett and partner Kenny Laguna.

"They have been great to work with," said Alva about Jett and Laguna. "We are so lucky to be on this label and have them as mentors."

Since the band's inception when Alva and Phanie Diaz were in art class in high school, the band has always had high goals.

One of them was to play South by Southwest.

"We played there as an unregistered band," Alva said. "But in the past few years, it was nice that the organizers asked us to play as a registered band. I mean, we've always attended the festival, because it's only an hour away from our homes. But it's great to be part of the festival."

A couple of years ago, Girl in a Coma played the summer punk-rock extravaganza, the Van's Warped Tour.

"That was a great experience for us," Alva said. "Although Warped really isn't us. But it was fun."

These days the band is happy to be headlining shows and making CDs.

"We do have ideas for our future," Alva said. "Anything musical is game for us. We've been thinking of doing a musical and even a film. That's just who we are."

Guitarist Morgan Slade said he and his band Miss Derringer is having a blast touring with Girl in a Coma.

"They've been great and the shows have been high energy," Slade said during a phone call from a gas station in Michigan. "Our set is about 45 minutes long and that's just right for us."

Slade, vocalist Liz McGrath (who is also Slade's wife), bassist Sylvain de Muizon and drummer Cody James comprise Miss Derringer, whose influences range from Johnny Cash to the Clash to Blondie and the Shangri-Las.

"We had ideas of what music we wanted to play because we had all these influences," Slade said. "We put it all together and what came out was our style."

The idea of naming the band Miss Derringer came from Slade's interest in gangsters and the Mafia.

"We came up with this character called Miss Derringer that fit with the sound of music we play," he said. "We're kind of like outlaw country punk. And the more we toyed with the idea, the more things started to surface. So we put the character, which is our band, into these little musical adventures."

The band's recent album "Winter Hill," which is the band's third studio CD overall, was inspired by another mob-related theme, Slade said.

"When we were getting ready to work on the new CD, I surfed the Web and landed in Wikipedia."

The Winter Hill Gang, founded by James "Buddy" McLean in the 1950s, was composed of Irish-American and Italian-Irish organized crime figures based in Boston, Mass.

"We decided to write songs loosely based on the Winter Hill concept," Slade said. "But at the same time, not make it a concept album per se.

"We started writing songs as soon as we finished the last CD ("Lullaby") and demoed the songs and released an EP. And then went back into the studio and did the new CD.

"This time we knew what we were doing, and it turned out pretty nicely."