Girl in a Coma blitzed the indie music scene ever since they debuted with Both Before I'm Gone off of Joan Jett's Blackheart Records in 2007. The San Antonio trio comprised of bassist Jenn Alva, drummer Phanie Diaz, and her little sister, guitarist and vocalist Nina, recorded three original albums and another collection of covers in the span of four years. Given that their last effort was 2011's Exits and All the Rest and without plans to head into the studio until next year, this respite seems like an eternity! But the women aren't laying too low and will actually be coming to the Orange County Fair this week opening up for Joan Jett and the Blackhearts at Pac Amphitheatre.
“We're always writing,” lead singer Nina Diaz tells the Weekly. “We're playing a couple new tunes these days.” One of the offerings is titled “Invisible,” but is a visible display of the band's continued exploration of their talents through the creative process. “With the new songs, I feel like we're going back to our roots, our punk side,” she says. “It's happening organically now. It's sounding great. It's a good vibe like when we first started.”
The band's lore is the the dream of every band practicing in their garage right this moment. Girl in a Coma, as it has been told before, was featured on a cable battle of the bands show called 'Jammin'' when Joan Jett discovered them and readily offered up a contract to sign to her label, Blackheart Records. Though they've collaborated professionally and in the studio, sharing the stage is rare occasion.
“We've only opened up for her maybe about five times throughout our career being on her label. It's not as often as you think,” Diaz says. “Each time we do get to play with her, it's different. She sees how we've grown since she signed us. It's also awesome to see how strong she still is after all these years.”
Girl in a Coma wants to feel out a similar longevity as musicians. Diaz admits to having had a moment of serious reflection. She's candid about her previous struggles with alcohol. Other members went through personal trials and tribulation as well with Alva's mother passing away. Through it all, they remain committed to each other and their shared musical mission.
And as the band pauses from cranking out new jams in the recording studio, the singer with an inimitable voice is developing her range in more ways than one that brings her back to Girl in a Coma with added depths. Diaz is taking to acting in film while performing solo. "I'm starting to branch out,” she says. "There's a handful of songs that I've written throughout the years and some recently that have this new taste to it, a very vulnerable state of me.”
It's a stripped down approach that helps her focus on her voice, which the Weekly lavishes praises upon. "Aww shucks, thank you!” she says with a laugh. "Lately, I've been doing a moment of study. I'm pretty tapped into Krishnaism and there's so many beautiful mantras that I've been learning and singing,” the frontwoman says of experimenting with her voice as an instrument. "It's just ridiculous how much fun I've been having lately.”
It's a feeling of joy that's been a long time coming. "I was drinking a lot,” admits Diaz. "[Exits and All the Rest] was detox.” She describes the band's last album as an irony in title as it opened up an entrance back to that feeling Girl in a Coma had making music together at the start of their journey.
“We only have so much time here. We're trying to make the most of the talent we've been given,” Diaz reflects. “You spend so many years trying to get to a certain point when really you had it in the beginning. You had it all along. It really is a rebirth in a lot of ways.”
Girl in a Coma opens for Joan Jett and the Blackhearts at the Pacific Amphitheatre,100 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa. Thurs., 7:30 p.m. $19.50-39.50 (Including admission to the fair) All Ages.