SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS
Girl in a Coma on a roll
By Jim Beal Jr.- Express-News
Web Posted: 04/01/2010 12:00 CDT
Girl in a Coma performs with ex-Runaways singer Cherrie Currie at
SXSW in March.
So Girl in a Coma — drummer Diaz, her sister, Nina Diaz (guitar, vocals) and Jenn Alva (bass) — isn't particularly concerned with what acts are topping the pop charts.
“We're having really good shows and we're watching the fan base expand,” said Alva. “We're getting a lot of young kids who know all the words to the songs.”
“We want to be around a while,” Phanie said. “We don't want to be a flash in the pan.”
“Flash in the pants?” Nina asked.
“We don't want to be a flash in the pants, either,” Phanie said, laughing. “A lot of bands on the charts are coming and going. We want to be around. We want to tour and we want to build our fan base.”
When Girl in a Coma hits the Jack's Patio Bar stage tonight, it'll be something of a bon voyage party. Beginning April 11, the trio will work from New York City to Portland, Ore. with The Wedding Present, and work their way back across the country with Sia. The tour will take the band into Canada twice.
“Everybody we tour with is different, but has some similarities with us,” Alva said. “We can relate to so many different bands.”
“It's good for us to tour with bands from different genres,” Phanie said. “We try to tour in spring, summer and fall — no driving on ice and we're always home for the holidays.”
The band's latest CD, “Trio B.C.” (Blackheart Records), is still picking up excellent notices. Starting April 13, for three consecutive weeks, Blackheart will release the band's “Adventures in Coverland” project, two singles and an EP that'll be out on vinyl and via download. The first single is Selena's “Si Una Vez” b/w the Beatles' “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” followed by “Transmission” (Joy Division) b/w “As the World Falls Down” (David Bowie) and “Come On, Let's Go” (Ritchie Valens) and “Walking After Midnight” (Patsy Cline) b/w “Femme Fatale” (Velvet Underground).
“This is our way of letting kids know where the songs come from,” Phanie said. “Lady Gaga got her name from a Queen song. A lot of people don't know that. You can collect all three of the singles like a board game. It's all about our adventures in Coverland.”
“You can help us get back home to San Antonio,” Alva said.
“We chose the songs by going through the list of our covers,” Nina said. “We wanted to show our individual influences and we wanted to choose songs we could make our own. We wanted to do an Elvis Presley song and a Jeff Buckley song, but we just couldn't get them quite right.
“Doing the covers the way we want is like doing a math problem. Some of the songs were a given. Covering Selena was a natural. We just added some distortion and some power chords. The Joy Division song we simplified and focused on the vocals. I learned to play guitar by listening to Misfits records.
“‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps' is the most difficult song I've learned. It was a great experience. When I learn a new chord, I put it in a song right away. And one of these days we will cover a Jeff Buckley song.”
It's looking like “Trio B.C.” has some sturdy legs. The “Coverland” project is likely to expand its fan base. The band doesn't seem in a hurry to get back into the studio.
“People are always asking when the next album is coming out,” Nina said.
“They asked that two months after ‘Trio B.C.' came out,” Alva said, laughing.
“I don't have a schedule for writing,” Nina said. “I just pick up a guitar when it's time and I'm always jotting down random things.”
And don't expect to see the band add members.
“It's fun to make an album and add new things, but nobody ever said our sound is too empty,” Alva said.
And nobody ever said Girl in a Coma isn't proud to play in its hometown.
“It's always fun to play in San Antonio,” Phanie added.
“It's like playing a giant barbecue.”