Apr 6, 2010
by Chris Stoppiello (English)
Girl in a Coma has had the pleasure to not only meet, but play and
tour with many of the artists they grew up listening to. They have
been on tour with Morrissey, recently performed with Cherie Currie
at SXSW and Joan Jett personally signed them to her record label.
They’ve accomplished all of this by doing their own thing. Drummer
Phanie Diaz talked with me about how they are now reaching out to
be mentors to the up-and-comers. Girl in a Coma is trying to bridge
the gap between generations with a series of covers called Adventures
in Coverland, which will be released in three volumes on vinyl (one
each week) beginning April 13.
TMM: You talked a lot about the reason you did these covers: to provide
a glimpse into your own sound.
PD: We had just released our new record Trio B.C. and a lot of people
were curious as to what our influences are because a lot of the record
is really mixed. There’s not just one genre on Trio B.C. One
song will be more bluesy and then the next straight up punk. So we
thought it would be cool if we released a record of bands that influenced
us and helped to shape what we’re doing today.
Plus we thought it would be good for a lot of younger kids to hear
these bands that they’re not familiar with; bands like Joy Division
or even Selena. We just noticed that nowadays the younger generation
is kind of quick. They tend to hear what they hear, see what they
see on TV but not really know. For instance Lady Gaga is like huge
or whatever but a lot of people don’t know that she got her
name from a Queen song. It’s about showing these kids, ‘these
are your roots.’ (author’s note: GIAC took their name
from Smiths song “Girlfriend in a Coma.”)
TMM: Is it scary taking on a song like “While My Guitar Gently
PD: Yeah it’s kind of scary. You don’t know if you’re
going to piss off die-hard Beatles fans or even die-hard Joy Division
fans. And the main part people notice in “While My Guitar Gently
Weeps“ is Eric Clapton’s guitar playing. But instead of
us doing that we kind of let [my sister] Nina’s voice do the
guitar. So that could either be a hit or miss with Beatles fans but
we just wanted to make it interesting.
TMM: And now you’re going on tour with Wedding Present and
then another tour with Sia. Which one are you more excited for?
PD: I’m equally excited. I really like The Wedding Present.
They’re kind of like if you enjoy The Smiths you‘d like
this band. I really dig their Bizarro album. And we met Sia at the
Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival. She really dug us and watched
our set that evening and then asked if we would be interested in touring
with her. Just because she was a cool person we were like ‘sure.’
But we had no idea what kind of music she was. Now we’ve heard
her stuff and I think it’s going to be fun.
TMM: What would you say is the best part about being a woman in a
PD: It’s liberating in a weird way because there are not many
women in Rock. I think it’s still good to be an all girl band
and be touring and getting attention. The three of us are Latinas
so we’re kind of inspiring this new generation of Latina women
who are coming to the shows. Just knowing that we’re doing that
for somebody gives me a lot of pride.
TMM: Do you have aspirations of starting your own label and fostering
young bands, similar to the way Joan has with you?
PD: I’ve definitely talked about that with [GIAC bassist] Jenn
[Alva]. Eventually when we feel comfortable with the level of our
own band, I would love to explore starting a label or even booking
bands. Jenn even talked about writing a survival book about being
on the road: how to sneak in to motels and taking water when you play
at a venue. Little things like that that bands should do to save cash
on the starting out road.
TMM: Okay, last question: How is Girl in a Coma not like the Jonas
PD: [profuse laughter] No offense to Jonas brothers fans but I don’t
think we suck.
TMM: I’m so glad you just went for the honest direct answer.
PD: That I did. Probably going to piss off the legions of Jonas fans.
TMM: Well congratulations on your new records and best of luck on
the two tours.
PD: Thank you.