SAN ANTONIO CURRENT
25th Anniversary Issue
Current 25: Girl in a Coma blaze a trail for
Published: June 1, 2011
“Back in 2000, I was booking shows and … people were talking about them as if there was something wrong with them,” Cuellar said. “People would pay money to see them and make fun of them.”
Cuellar admitted that while the San Antonio born-and-bred eclectic hard-rock trio was still trying to figure out their sound, she was immediately enamored by them. Seven years later, Antonio Rodriguez, who runs the blog Indie Texas, recalls a much different scene. “It was at Sam’s Burger Joint during a screening of their first music video release [for] Both Before I’m Gone. I remember being right in front of the stage, looking back, and realizing that there was a room full of adults singing along to almost every song.”
It’s no mystery what twists of fate helped these aspiring SA musicians secure their place in rock. They got a demo tape into the hands of Boz Boorer, the musical director for Morrissey, in 2004. While being filmed for a documentary about emerging Latino/a bands in 2006, they had a chance encounter with Joan Jett, the inspirational rock ’n’ roll trailblazer, that wound up landing them a record deal on Jett’s own Blackheart Records. These strokes of luck were met with Girl in a Coma’s steadfast work ethic, which was forged in part because of the early resistance they encountered. For starters, sisters Nina (vocals/guitar) and Phanie Díaz (drums) and Jenn Alva (bass) are Latin females playing punk, metal, Texas blues, rockabilly, and country. Add to that the fact that Phanie and Alva are also both openly gay. “They were wearing blue jeans and had tattoos and playing in a band in a city where women have a traditional role,” Cuellar said. “I also think that [the work ethic] of Girl in a Coma is a reminder to some bands of what they’re not doing.”
In 2011, the group is the breakout success story that every San Antonio band wants to be, having made it big and increased the SA scene’s profile while maintaining an inclusive, community-driven approach. They’ve toured with Cyndi Lauper and Social Distortion, but their recent two-night run at Jack’s Bar featured a mere $12 cover and accommodated ages 13 and up.
Meanwhile, their body of work represents much of the noise San Antonio has made for decades; it’s just never been as consolidated and seamlessly integrated into one band before. From their thrash punk cover of Radiohead’s “Creep” to their hard-edged, doo-wop balladry in “El Monte” to their dance-y grunge interpretation of Selena’s “Si una vez,” they make sliding across classic Texas genres seem as effortless as breathing. This musicianship and success is what perhaps makes Girl in a Coma the de facto, transcendent, quintessential San Antonio band. They’re heavy, twangy, new wave-y, and Latin. They’re alternative, (2/3) queer, and community focused. When the local music scene gathers in front of them, it’s to look into a mirror, seeing where they’ve been and, hopefully, where they’ll go.
damn I love this band.
I need to paint a mural of you all on the South side.
Great article! I had a
chance to see them at the latin cine fest. In town last year...I dj'd
the after party and got their album on 12vinyl! Their success has
shined a lot of light in the S.A. music scene...which I feel...is
the best in TX...if not the nation! Go Girl in a coma! You make us
other artists proud! :)
I just finished reading
the book Girls To The Front about the riot grrl movement in Olympia.
It's a similar story. Kathleen Hanna had Bikini Kill and was helping
her community all the while she was being laughed at behind her back.
Look at her legacy now. I think most SA bands need to take a page
from GIACs book. I'm sure there will be many books written on what
this band from SA has done. Much respect and thanks
come back to the UK! We
Bands or people who tak
shit only do it because it's not them. It's an insecurity within themselves
and to validate themselves talking shit is the only escape. Giac is
one of the hardest working bands in this city. On top of it they have
released on great album after the other. They have the kind of records
that 20 yrs from now will still be relevant. Just like a Stooges,
Ramones or Pixies record. I'm proud to be from SA just as these girls
are . They have "it" and either you get it or you don't.
Thank you GIAC for everything you do for the Latino,queer, communities!
Love GIAC! They rock!!!
Hope they make it to San Diego.
What a nice writeup. This
band has to be the hardest working band in town and so humble too.
Their music is amazing as well.
what an amazing band
From twitter 3 more retweets from ClearandGreat strosfan37 noblemusicnyc
RT @Girlinacoma: what a
nice writeup by the current: http://tinyurl.com/3dkqxmq
Girl in a Coma blaze a
trail for #SATX http://bit.ly/ijPPIF (cc: @Girlinacoma) #C25
we are not alone in bands
peeps Pay2C then talk shit RT @Girlinacoma: what a nice writeup by
the current: http://tinyurl.com/3dkqxmq