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Girl in a Coma
Girl in a Coma on March 20, 2009
|Origin||San Antonio, Texas, United States|
|Genres||Indie rock, alternative rock, punk.|
Girl In a Coma is an indie rock band from San Antonio, Texas formerly on Joan Jett's Blackheart Records' label. The band is made up of sisters Nina (vocals/guitar) and Phanie Diaz (drums) and long-time friend, Jenn Alva (bass). The name is a reference to The Smiths' song "Girlfriend in a Coma". Before they were called Girl in a Coma, they were Sylvia's Radio and Girls in a Coma.
Nina Diaz is the youngest member of Girl in a Coma. There is an eight-year age difference between her and the other band members. Nina is lead-singer and lyricist. Her sister Phanie and Jenn asked her to join their band after she shared a song she had written. Her first show was a week before her 14th birthday. At the age of 16 Nina decided to dedicate her energy to the band and left high school. Nina's decision was difficult. She was very close to finishing but realized that her focus was the band. Nina's distinctive voice and powerful live performances attracted the attention of fans, producers and fellow artists. In 2009, Nina collaborated with Tiësto to co-write the dance track, "In Your Mind."  At the start of 2014, Nina Diaz, decided to take a break from Girl in a Coma to head into the studio to record this new solo material.
Nina and Phanie are Mexican American. Although the girls grew up only being able to understand Spanish, Nina has made it her goal to learn to speak and write in Spanish. She has expressed a desire to incorporate ethnic pride into her music. Nina and Phanie grew up in Texas listening to Tejano music, and as such they listened to a lot of Selena's music. they have integrated these cultural elements into their band as well. Phanie believes in the practice of curanderismo.
Phanie's name is actually Stephanie but she has always gone by Phanie. She started learning how to play the acoustic guitar when she was eleven and eventually she learned how to play Nirvana chords. Jenn Alva and Phanie met in 8th grade in art class where they became best friends. Jenn and Phanie, both having a love for rock/punk music and both with the ability to play instruments, started up a band.
The band started with little money and much moral support from parents and friends. It was hard at first, they did the best they could by buying all the instruments and tools they could to begin to create music of their own. Prior to the group's first album, they were taken in by a fellow friend of theirs giving them a place to stay so they could focus entirely on their music.
Girl in a Coma hoped to record their first album with Erick and Gabe, two producers impressed by Girl in a Coma's live shows. Girl in a Coma was to be the first band that they signed to their up-and-coming music label.
In 2006, while filming the television series pilot for the SiTV show Jammin, the girls met one of their musical idols, Joan Jett. Joan Jett and producer Kenny Laguna signed the girls to a contract with Blackheart Records as a result of seeing them perform at the Knitting Factory in New York City for the television show.
In October 2007, while in New York, Girl in a Coma were called by Morrissey to open for the remainder of his tour.
In early 2008, their song "Clumsy Sky" won in The 7th Annual Independent Music Awards for Best Punk Song.
In the summer of 2010, Girl in a Coma played at Polish Woodstock.
In 2012, they won another Independent Music Award with their album Exits & All The Rest for Best Indie/Alt. Album.
Drummer Phanie Diaz and bass player Jenn Alva are both openly lesbian. Jenn is currently married and has been out lesbian for a longer time than Phanie. Phanie was hesitant at first on coming out because she wanted her mother to know first. She wrote a letter to her telling her that she was lesbian. Her mom was very accepting. Another reason why Phanie did not want to publicly announce her sexual orientation was because she did not want the public to focus on that and put them into a gay band box.
On March 22, 2009 group member Jenn Alva and Nina Diaz were arrested outside of a Houston club. They were briefly detained and processed at a Harris County jail. Both were charged with felony assault on a public servant. The incident began when one of the officers, who was working as a security guard, saw Diaz slap her boyfriend and attempted to separate the couple. All charges were later dropped.
On August 14, 2011 Girl in a Coma performed at the Seattle Woodland Park. They were the opening band for the Go-Gos which was a huge success. These girls have a passion a determination when it comes to playing powerful music. Opening all-female band Girl in a Coma surely was a nod to the Go-Gos' punk rock roots. The trio slashed through their set - aggressive songs with more than a little Seattle grunge influence - with great dramatic and explosive stage presence. According to an article by Michele Costanza, she stated "I think it's possible that some of the +50 and -10 age-demographics in the crowd were a little confused by Girl in a Coma's pairing with the much more poppy Go-Gos, but I don't think that's a bad thing."
In 2014, Nina Diaz, the songwriter/vocalist/guitarist of Girl in a Coma is taking time off the band to launch a solo album. While Nina takes time off to launch her solo album, Phanie and Jenn are starting up a new band with guitarist, Annette Iglesias, and singer, Theresa Moher called FEA. Girl in a Coma announces it is not breaking up. They're just simply taking a break.
Self-identified by its members as an Indie Rock band, Girl in a Coma creates music that breaks conventions in order to escape the categorization of a single rock genre. Through identifying as such, a freedom to create music that provides, as band member Nina Diaz describes, "The ability to sing, and scream, and break from personal inhibitions" becomes more accessible. The band's emphasis on the importance of freedom and uncategorized musical expression truly provides an opportunity for Girl in a Coma to further embody the diversity of the band's many musical influences.
Girl in a Coma's unique musical style, that combines the essence of many rock genres, is generated from the large and eclectic group of musical influences including, Nirvana, girl groups such as Bratmobile and Bikini Kill, the Ramones, and the Smiths, whose song "Girlfriend in a Coma" is attributed to the inspiration for the band's name. At the top of the list, band members Phanie and Nina Diaz describe their grandfather as their first prominent musical influence. His passion for music, singing, and guitar playing witnessed at a young age by Phanie and Nina Diaz, has had a profound influence on the band's music as well as the title of their second album, Trio B.C., titled after their grandfather's Tejano band from the 1950s. As stated by Phanie Diaz, "His passion is our inspiration. We hope to make people feel that way about our music."
In conjunction to their grandfather's inspiration, a prominent influence can also be found through Girl in a Coma's lasting connection to Tex-Mex music. Though not always witnessed directly through the production of the band's music, Tex-Mex influences are ingrained through the history of Girl in a Coma and each members' origins in San Antonio, Texas. The momentous impact of their background in this community is a primary reason for the literal and symbolic connection Girl in a Coma has with Tex-Mex music which band member Jenn Alva explains, "Is not intentional, it just is because that musical sound has always surrounded us." This standing idea and comfort of Tex-Mex music in each band member's life has not only influenced the music that they play but the genre of Tex-Mex itself. As described by Deborah Vargas, "Girl in a Coma's music moves within and through Tex-Mex sound--but is not necessarily of it, thereby enabling an alternative racialized gendered sensibility of what constitutes Tex-Mex."
Felix Contreras of National Public Radio (NPR) conducted an interview with Girl in a Coma where they opened up about not speaking Spanish and not knowing the language well. Nina Diaz, the lead singer and guitarist, said, "When the grandparents were talking to my older sister, or even adult conversations, you could hear them talking and it felt like a foreign thing," She also said, "It's like, 'What are you saying? I want to understand you.' But then I would go off and play with my toys, and was like, 'Whatever, I guess I'll understand it later.'" 
In another interview, by www.musicpix.net the band members said that they do not like to label themselves as a Latina, lesbian, or girl band, because they do not want to be put in a box. Girl in a Coma does say that if they were anything they would say they are a rock and roll band even though there are punk rock, oldies Spanish music, indie, as well as rock and roll influences in their music. However, they also said they do not want to make it about themselves, because it is all about the music.
In the interview by www.musicpix.net of Girl in a Coma, the band said that they had influences from Selena Quintanilla, especially because she was also from Texas and she was the first Latina to break out in a male dominated industry. They covered her song "Si Una Vez" in their album Coverland. The band also mentioned in their interview that they would love to have a complete Spanish album in the future.
Girl in a Coma has been involved in social issues affecting the LGBTQ and Latino community. They have stood up to stereotypes and unfair policies through their music. In 2012, Girl in a Coma got together with The SoundStrike to campaign against Arizona's anti-immigration SB 1070 law. According to the Huffington Post, the band was pulled over and question by authorities in Mobile, Alabama. In an interview, Phanie Diaz does not consider Girl in a Coma to be activists or a political band. "Even though we are not self-identified [as activists], we do pay attention...we have youth, the gay community and the Latino community all paying attention to what we are doing and supporting us so if we can give back, we can.  In a separate interview with GA Voice, Jenn Alva stated that there had to be a different way to approach immigration. "Our country is taking steps in the wrong direction...There's got to be another way. We need to work to help them and see what brilliant compromise that we can establish." The song "Hope" on Exits and all the Rests was written about Arizona's anti-immigration law.
Jim Mendiola, the director of many of Girl in a Coma's music videos, directed the Girl in a Coma an episode of "Jammin'" for SiTV. This 2006 episode captured the girls in their music element: writing songs, recording, performing, and interviewing, all in their hometown of San Antonio, Texas. The full episode is 45 minutes in length, but small clips are available . The episode gives a glimpse into the girls' lives, how they started up their band, and shows how real and down to earth they really are.  Jim Mendiola 2006.
|Nina Diaz Solo Tour||June 11-June 25, 2014|
|Fall Tour with Hunter Valentine and Krissy Krissy||September 10-October 4, 2013|
|Fall tour supporting Minus the Bear with Cursive||October 21-November 17, 2012|
|West Coast Tour Headlining with Piñata Protest and Sara Radle||April 22-May 10, 2012|
|Album Release Tour||October 28-December 10, 2011|
|Go-Go's Tour||August 2011|
Gira O Morir Demo (2005)
Girl In A Coma Demo [Vinyl] (2005) (Very Rare, Only 500 copies)
Hiding My Trail EP (2009)
Adventures in Coverland, Vol. 1 [Vinyl] (2010, Blackheart Records)
Adventures in Coverland, Vol. 2 [Vinyl] (2010, Blackheart Records)
Adventures in Coverland, Vol. 3 [Vinyl] (2010, Blackheart Records)
Both Before I'm Gone (May 1, 2007, Blackheart Records)
Trio B.C. (June 2, 2009, Blackheart Records) (48:32)
Adventures in Coverland (October 19, 2010, Blackheart Records) (32:52)
Exits & All The Rest (November 1, 2011, Blackheart Records) (45:03)
Girl in a Coma has filmed nine music videos between the years of 2007 and 2012 since the forming of the band in 2006. Music videos can be found here .
From their first album, Both Before I'm Gone, which was released in 2007, the Latina girl band came out with four music videos from that first album alone. With the help of directors Jim Mendiola and Greg Olliver, Girl in a Coma was able to film all four videos in about a year and a half. Many of their music videos have been filmed in San Antonio, Texas, where Jenn, Nina, and Phanie live. For the Road to Home music video, Girl in a Coma featured a guest star to perform in it, Amanda Lepore. The music video Clumsy Sky was filmed in a nightclub in their hometown of San Antonio, called Lerma's Nite Club. With the help of Vincent Valdez, the music video Say by Girl in a Coma had hand drawn letters and drawings for the background of the video. The last of the four music videos filmed for the first album Both Before I'm Gone, was Their Cell, which Girl in a Coma filmed inside the Gonzales County Jail in Gonzales, Texas.
As for Girl in a Coma's second album, Trio B.C., the band filmed two music videos. Again, with the directing of Jim Mendiola, and on location in San Antonio, Texas, Girl in a Coma filmed both El Monte, and Static Mind, in July 2009.
The band's third album, Adventures in Coverland, was an entire album dedicated to covering songs from other artists, and the first album where Girl in a Coma switched it up and found different directors to help direct their music videos. One of the covers, As the World Falls Down, was originally David Bowie's song, and Girl in a Coma released a music video for that song in 2010, directed by Robert Rodriguez. The one other music video that the band filmed from their third album was for Walkin' After Midnight, which was Patsy Cline's original song. This music video also came out in 2010, but Jenn Alva (bass guitarist in the band) directed the video.
Lastly, Girl in a Coma has filmed one music video for their latest album Exits and All the Rest. The video for Smart came out in 2012 and is the most recent work of Girl in a Coma.
Both Before I'm Gone (2007)
Trio B.C. (2009)
Adventures In Coverland (2010)
Exits and All the Rest (2011)