IN MAGAZINE

Return to Girl In A Coma

 

Girl in a Coma campaign in support of their upcoming album.

by Courtney McKinnon

With the anticipation of the largest voter turnout in decades for the 2008 presidential election, the members of Girl in a Coma—vocalist/guitarist Nina Diaz, bassist Jenn Alva and drummer Phanie Diaz—were able to focus on their U.S. tour knowing they had overnighted their absentee ballots a few days prior. The historic day found the San Antonio-based rock group somewhere between Columbus, Ohio, where they co-headlined the previous night with Bitch, and Detroit, where they took the stage as the polls were closing on the West Coast. The Buckeye State and the Wolverine State weren’t alone in siding with Barack Obama, as he became the 44th president of the United States and the first African-American commander in chief.

Just as the political landscape of the United States has dramatically changed in the span of the past four years, so has the life of this up-and-coming band. When President George W. Bush was re-elected in 2004, the girls had just come off of their first tour and were, for the most part, still playing local shows. That first tour not only increased the band’s fan base throughout the South, Midwest and West Coast, it also turned the heads of a few bigwigs and landed the group in a London recording studio with Morrissey’s musical director, Boz Boorer. The sessions with Boorer resulted in a well-received demo, and the girls continued to do what they do best—tour.

It was during a hometown show that GIAC was invited to be part of a documentary TV series following fledgling Latino bands. Three weeks of filming culminated with a show at the Knitting Factory in New York, where the trio’s idol, Joan Jett, and her partner, Kenny Laguna, immediately signed them to Blackheart Records. Songs, old and new, intertwined to create the debut album, Both Before I’m Gone, which was released in 2007.

Fast-forward to the present, and even the most fickle fans of Morrissey—the inspiration behind the band’s moniker—have come to love the melodic alt-rock sound of the Diaz sisters and their childhood friend Alva. Loyal Moz fans to the core, it was a dream come true for the girls when they were invited to tour with Morrissey both in the United States and abroad. According to Alva, they were able to push their fan status aside and handle it like pros. “We’re big fans, but we just kind of went into work mode,” she explains. “Once it was all done with overseas, we could look back and say, ‘That was pretty crazy.’”

Morrissey wasn’t the only one to take notice of their music, however, as fan favorite “Clumsy Sky” earned an Independent Music Award in 2007 and Both Before I’m Gone rose to respectable positions on iTunes and Billboard’s Heatseeker charts. After recently coming off a national tour with Tegan and Sara, the girls can cross the Canadians off their wish list and add them to the long lineup of infamous performers they’ve played with, including Social Distortion, Cyndi Lauper, the B-52s, Frank Black and the Catholics and the Pogues.

With the laundry list of accomplishments garnered over their eight-year existence, Girl in a Coma has no intention of quelling their ambitious nature. GIAC’s sophomore album, due out on Blackheart Records this spring, is in the mixing stage, and Alva assures us that while Both Before I’m Gone was a strong representation of the band’s sound, the forthcoming untitled release will showcase their growth. “Honestly,” she says, “I think it’s going to be a little better. We’ve been touring a lot, and Nina’s gotten better at songwriting and guitar. Everybody’s progressing, so this album will show that.”

This December, the girls’ tour van will hit Long Beach, Hollywood and San Diego, and word is their set list will intersperse the haunting tracks of their first effort with some of the much-anticipated new material.