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Solo shows energize this Girl in a Coma
By Jim Beal Jr.

Published: 12:00 a.m., Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Nina Diaz, David Garza, 8:30 p.m. (doors at 8) Thursday, Casbeers at the Church, 1150 S. Alamo St., $12 at the door, 210-271-7791

When you catch Nina Diaz in action, wielding an electric guitar, spitting out inspired lyrics, sporting gallery-worthy tattoos and fronting Girl in a Coma, you'd think she was born to rock 'n' roll.

And you'd be right. Diaz, 22, has been in the rock whirl since she was 13. She and GIAC — her sister Phanie Diaz (drums) and Jenn Alva (bass) — had an excellent 2010. The trio toured like crazy, served up the well-received “Adventures in Coverland” covers CD and continued to build a grassroots following. But Diaz isn't taking anything for granted.

Thursday, she'll do a solo show at Casbeers at the Church on a bill with singer/songwriter/guitar slinger David (Dah-Veed) Garza.

“Doing solo shows enables me to get more confidence, confidence I can use even when I'm up there with the girls,” Diaz said. “And now it's more of an opportunity to work with other artists and to have some friends get up with me. And it's also a learning experience.”

Look, and listen, for Diaz to welcome to the Casbeers stage Hacienda drummer Jaime Villanueva (who's also Nina's boyfriend), drummer/singer/songwriter Carly Garza from Blue Means Go and Muldoon's Lawrence.

“Because it's so close to Christmas I'm going to play some Christmas songs,” Diaz said. “Christmas is my favorite time of year and I've always wanted to do a Christmas show. I'll also do a lot of covers of my favorite artists, a couple Girl in a Coma songs and some others I've been working on. I wanted to do this show close to Christmas so people who are going to be around can just hang out with friends and good music.”

Count on Diaz and Garza to do some collaborating. An accomplished solo performer as well as a bandleader, a sharp lyricist and a man who can do some serious guitar slinging, Garza, like Diaz, started rocking and rolling young and has built a strong following.

“I really look up to him,” Diaz said. “He's kind of like my teacher. He's the way I'd like to be some day with solo shows and with a band. We're going to end up on each other's sets.”

Not everything Diaz writes finds its way into the Girl in a Coma catalog.

“It just depends on the mood,” she said. “When I write a song, I show it to the girls. If they think we can do something with it, we will. But there are other songs I keep to myself.”

But don't get the idea Nina Diaz solo shows will lead to her exit from the band.

“I'll always be in Girl in a Coma,” she said. “I write a lot of things and it's nice to let them out in different ways. Girl in a Coma has its sound. Girl in a Coma is going to be around for a very, very long time. But I like doing other little projects to keep my brain active. I like interacting with the scene, listening to new music and getting inspiration wherever I can.”

And Girl in a Coma will likely be as busy in '11 as in '10.

“Right now we're working on the third album of original material,” she added. “We'll hit the studio in February.”