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Girl in a Coma to wake up The Barn

By VANESSA FRANKO
The Press-Enterprise

When you name your band after a song by The Smiths, it's pretty safe to say that former frontman and current master of mope Morrissey is a big influence.

Girl in a Coma bassist Jenn Alva said that she and drummer Phanie Diaz discovered Morrissey when they were 13 and spent time fantasizing about what it would be like to meet him.

"We were talking to our posters and buying every import and b-side," Alva said in a recent telephone interview.

Singer Nina Diaz ended up becoming a Moz fan as well.

Flash forward to years later when the trio was playing the Viper Room. The band put Morrissey on the guest list, a mutual acquaintance got word to him and he showed up.

"We were excited and very nervous," Alva said.

Then they got to meet their hero, who ultimately asked them to open up his tour after another act was fired.

Girl in a Coma members have matured into strong songwriters and will perform at UC Riverside Oct. 28 as part of The Barn's weekly concert series.

The band was signed to Joan Jett's Blackheart label for its debut, 2007's "Both Before I'm Gone."

"There's a beauty about your first record," Alva said.

She thinks the band has matured and evolved with "Trio B.C.," which came out earlier this year.

The band has been playing the collection of songs live.

"It's a release," Alva said. "You don't get tired of it. It's always fun."

8:30 p.m. Oct. 28, The Barn, West Campus Drive, Building 358, Riverside.

Find out more about The Barn's concert series at http://rside.ucr.edu/barnseries/ and visit www.myspace.com/girlsinacoma for more on the band.