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November 18th, 2008
Band of the Week: Girl in a Coma

Sisters Nina Diaz and Phanie Diaz got together with Jenn Alva in San Antonio in 2000 to form Girl in a Coma. They played here in San Marcos on Friday to a packed room at the Triple Crown as one of their last stops of a two-month tour.All members of the band are the originals. “We had tried to get another guitarist, but it didn’t work out,” said Nina Diaz. “We have enough trouble fighting with each other, if we added someone else they wouldn’t understand the arguments.”

“I’ve known Jenn since I was 12, and Nina is my little sister, so we get along just fine,” said Phanie Diaz.

Girl in a Coma has a broad range of influences. “I listen to a lot of the stuff that she [Phanie] listened to. That’s what you do with older sisters; if they listen to rap then you listen to rap or if they listen to polka music then you listen to polka music,” said Diaz. “She listened to a lot of alternative stuff like Nirvana, Babes in Toyland, and the main one of course, is Morrissey. I didn’t really appreciate Morrissey until I was about 13.”

“Now I’m influenced by Jeff Buckley, Bjork, Mike Patton from Faith No More and Mr. Bungle. I’ve really been getting into a lot of Nina Simone.”

Nina Diaz writes the lyrics in their original songs. “I do the writing of the main music, the lyrics, and then I show them so we can pick at it and they write their part. In the end it’s a group thing.”

“In the beginning I was closed in, I couldn’t really go out that much. I used to daydream about going out and living a different life or being that wild person. After really doing it and being that wild person, now I’m writing about trying to be normal again.”

The name of the band was inspired by Morrissey. “It’s a Smiths song, Girlfriend In a Coma. When we started out we were totally fanatical,” said Diaz. “Now, years later, it kind of bites us in the ass because people want to compare us to the Smiths more, but we sound nothing like the Smiths or Morrissey, but we asked for it. She [Nina] gets compared to Morrissey with her singing style.”

Playing in many different venues throughout the U.S. has given Girl in a Coma some national renown. “L.A. has become like a second home to us in a way because we’re always there. The fan base there is really strong,” said Nina Diaz.

With little concern for money or fame, the band’s goals are simply to be able to tour and continue playing their particular brand of music. “It would be nice to make a living off of what we do. We’re not just your every-day girl band,” said Diaz.

“We just finished a new album at the Sonic Ranch in Tornillo, Texas. We’re still in the process of mixing and mastering, and tweaking some stuff here and there,” said Phanie Diaz. “It’s planned to come out on Blackhawk records in early May. In the meantime we’re letting out a vinyl, a 45 with three songs on it so we can make that bridge over to the next album.”

If there was one message Girl in a Coma would like their fans to leave a show with, it would be one of “relief. Even if, in your everyday life, you feel like you’re stuck in a rut, at least you have that moment of relief from life,” said Nina Diaz.

Girl in a Coma is playing in San Antonio on December 21 at Sam’s Burger Joint. For more information or to listen to some of their tracks, go to

by Sarah Stevens

(Photo by Christina Zambrano)

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