San Antonio-based Girl in a Coma (yes, the name is a nod to The Smiths) has been at it for a lot longer than most bands that are as young as they are. Of course, they became a band when they were a lot younger than most too. They got together when Nina Diaz (vocals/guitar) was listening in on band tryouts that her sister Phanie (drums) and BFF Jenn Alva (bass) were holding. She quickly realized, that she “could do better,” she explained in a phone interview as the band drove home to Texas from a show in New Orleans last week.
The older girls were impressed, and at 13, Nina became the youngest member of the band. They’ve spent the last ten years playing, writing and being on the road, “building a word-of-mouth fan base.” That fan base, and their talent, landed them on a reality show called Jammin.’ At the end of the show, they were introduced to another musical idol, Joan Jett, who signed them to her label Blackheart Records. They’ve release four albums since, and have opened for The Pogues, Tegan and Sara and oh yeah, Morissey.
Their songs used to be “about things that I wanted to do, since I was young and still watching my older sister,” shared Nina. The topics are more focused on “things that I wish I hadn’t done, though now, with the perspective of, I hope, an adult, I’m moving past that.” On the latest album, Exits & All The Rest, at least one song, Hope, is somewhat political and is about the immigration issue going on in Arizona, though Nina says she typically avoids politics. As for advice, (and there’s no one more qualified than Nina to share a perpective on being young and a musician, and in particular, a woman) she had this to offer: “If you’re young, a teenager, and you’re in male dominated world, hold your own. A lot of guys don’t have the courage to go up there and be on stage, so don’t get caught up.” What’s more, she added, “don’t worry about how you look. Make sure you’re healthy first, but after that, don’t listen to what anyone else has to say about it.”
One more thing: The band was nominated for a GLAAD media award. About that, Nina shared, “there’s no way we’re going to win — we’re up against Lady Gaga!, but it’s really good to be on the list.”
“She Had a Plan”