Girl in a Coma is an all-female trio from Texas signed to Joan Jett’s Blackheart Records. They started when lesbian best friends Jenn Alva and Phanie (pronounced “FAWN-ee”) Diaz joined with Diaz’s baby sister, Nina, and began playing together.
The girls of Girl in a Coma are set to promote their fourth album, “Exits And All The Rest” (available on iTunes on Nov. 1) with a CD release show at The Masquerade on Nov. 7.
The GA Voice spoke with bassist Jenn Alva about their music, illegal immigration and kicking Shane’s ass (from “The L Word”).
Shannon: You’ve got a new album coming out entitled “Exits and All the Rest.” Tell us all about it.
Jenn: It’s our fourth album. We’ve really grown as musicians. This album is more raw. We recorded it in analog. And personally, all three of us girls were going through a lot at the time. This is an album that we really put our all into. I think it’s a great album and I hope everybody checks it out.
The title is unique.
We just thought that with everything going on in our lives that sometimes you get wrapped up in what’s not really that important. The big things like a death or losing your job or a big change in your life… those are what really matters. They are the exits. Everything else is just “all the rest.”
You all have the respect of a lot of big names. Joan Jett personally signed you to her label. You were hand-picked by Cyndi Lauper, Tegan and Sara, Sia and Morrissey to open for them. And just recently, you got to play with The Go-Go’s?
Yeah! That was a fun tour. We were so excited about it. We were with them on the West coast and down into Texas. They’re sweethearts and were so good to us.
What’s the best thing about touring?
Meeting so many cool fans on the road and just meeting different people. I love traveling.
What’s the worst thing about the road?
Getting disconnected from family, missing the things that happen with friends.
Have you ever lost a girlfriend over it?
Of course! It’s hard to tell somebody to wait for you while you go for two months. To me, it’s as honorable as being in the military and being sent off. There needs to be music and bands.
That makes me wonder: Are there lesbian groupies?
Yes! (laughs) It happens, of course. Phanie and I are both single girls. It comes in waves. Sometimes there’s a bunch and sometimes there’s none.
There was an incident in Arizona a few years back where you were all just hanging out in a bar and an off-duty cop misjudged a disagreement between your singer and another guy. It resulted in a small bar fight with the cop. How did that get resolved?
We had to get a lawyer but the charges were dropped. We knew they would be because we were just defending our friend. Looking back, if things do happen for a reason, then it was for a reason because it made us see what was important and how to behave. We’re not dirty punk-rockers trying to start chaos. We’ll defend ourselves when necessary but we don’t go looking for it.
We spoke at a show here in Atlanta a few years ago and you told me a story about meeting Kate Moennig (who portrayed “Shane” on the Showtime lesbian drama “The L Word”). It cracked me up. Could you please tell it again?
We were at this party and she was there looking all “Shane” and my drummer said, “Hey, go tell her your idea for the show (The L Word).” I went over to her and said, “Hey, I have this idea for you about the show…” and before I could tell her my joke, she snapped and said, “the show is OVER!” and was really rude and cut me off.
I thought, “What a bitch!” I had too many girlfriends at the time who were in love with her so I was just going to joke with her and tell her that they should have my band on and that Shane and I could get into a fight and I’d kick her ass. I thought that it would make her laugh but she was super rude and didn’t even let me finish.
Sounds like she needed a good ass-kicking. Is Girl in a Coma, in any way, a political band?
Nina [Diaz, lead singer] likes to write songs for people to, like, get away and escape. So we’ve always sort of steered clear of politics. But this new album has a song called “Hope” on it and it deals with what’s going on in Arizona with immigration and the laws that they’ve passed. That’s our new thing.
You three are Mexican-Americans, right?
Yes, we are. Our country is taking steps in the wrong direction. It’s not moving forward to have those [anti-illegal immigration] laws. It’s horrible. A lot of these families are being separated. Some of them are being deported back to Mexico and they’ve never even been there. They were born here.
There’s got to be another way. We need to work to help them and see what brilliant compromise that we can establish. They’re our neighbors and we should help them.
Top photo: Girl in a Coma features Phanie Diaz on drums, Nina Diaz on vocals and guitar, and Jenn Alva on bass. (Photo by Josh Huskin)