Girl in a Coma

Nina Diaz On Adventures in Coverland

Girl in a Coma is more than a band named as a tribute to one of their idols, Morrissey. They are a multi-faceted, not to mention talented, group of women consisting of Phanie D. (drums), Jenn Alva (bass) and, on guitar, keys and lead vocalist, Nina Diaz.

Recently I caught up with Nina in between gigs to chat about their upcoming CD, "Adventures in Coverland," touring, Morrissey and the Robert Rodriguez movie, "Machete."

MS: Hey, Nina, how's it going?

ND: It's going pretty good. We're going to be driving to Memphis, Tennessee pretty soon.

MS: Very cool.

ND: We're in Little Rock, Arkansas right now and we are headed over to Memphis next. We're going to continue to tour on our own, until we hook up with somebody to tour with.

MS: You guys hooked-up and toured with Morrissey once.

ND: Yes, we did!

MS: I was at the Viper Room when he came to see you guys. Since you are big fans and named your band after one of his songs, how big of a deal was that night for you?

ND: We were told Morrissey was going to come see us perform that night and we were like "Oh, ok." We figured, "He's not going to come." Then he was there sitting in the back an we were, like, hyperventilating! (Laughs.) Afterwards we went and said "hi" to him, and he was very sweet. Then the three of us went and had some wine and we were relaxed, finally. (Laughs.)

MS: You guys have a new album coming out, "Adventures in Coverland." Everything on it is eclectic, from the artists you chose to cover to the songs by them that you actually did.

ND: Yeah, definitely, especially the Selena song "Si Una Vez." Growing up in San Antonio, Texas and being from a Mexican background we are very proud of our culture. Selena was a huge influence on us growing up. It was an honor to be able to cover one of her songs.

MS: Something about that track really moved me. It's obvious you have a passion for her.

ND: We actually got to play the song at a music awards show in San Antonio and her family, the Quintanilla Family, were actually there, because they were doing a tribute to Selena. That's why we were able to play our cover, and we played it for them, they were really happy about it. They loved it.

MS: By the way, I saw "Machete" the other night and noticed you guys have a song on the soundtrack.

ND: It's called "Yo Oigo". It's an original song we wrote, specifically for the movie. They put some symphony behind it, and it sounds extreme! They really just used the music portion of the song, and I have one line in there that was kept of me singing, but on "Adventures in Coverland" we will have the full version of it. It's our first original song in Spanish.

MS: How did you hook up with Robert Rodriguez?

ND: We met at SXSW. He came to our show looking for music for the movie. We became friends, he saw a bunch of our other shows, we kept in touch. It was a great collaboration!

MS: Awesome! OK, back to "Coverland." (Laughs.) It's fascinating that one of the songs you guys cover is Patsy Cline's "Walkin' After Midnight".

ND: When I was little, the first song I ever sang karaoke with my Mom was "Crazy" by Patsy Cline. My mom loves Patsy Cline. I love "Sweet Dreams," the story about her life, and I have read many books about her. She was a strong woman who lived this really crazy life. I love her. Every time we go to karaoke I would sing "Crazy." Then I started singing "Walkin' After Midnight".

We wanted to cover a Patsy Cline song for sure, but we chose "Walkin' After Midnight" because there are so many versions of "Crazy." I really like "Walkin' After Midnight". It's a really eerie song if you pay attention to the words. Really a stalker sort of song. She's walking after midnight looking for someone who doesn't love her anymore, but she is still looking for them. (Laughs.)

MS: Judging by your choice of a David Bowie cover, you must be a fan of the movie "Labyrinth."

ND: (Laughs.) Yes, everyone said we should do a song like "Starman" or something more popular. I thought: I really love "As The World Falls Down" and wanted to give it a try, and it turned out awesome! I love the movie, too!

MS: You must have really immersed yourself into music and movies your whole life; your references are amazing! You must read, watch and listen to everything. For instance, your debut CD on Blackheart Records, titled "Both, Before I'm Gone," is a reference to James Dean.

ND: Oh yeah, whenever I get into something, I really get into it. Whenever I fall in love with an idea I want to make it come to life as much as possible without it killing me. (Laughs.) The strange thing is I find myself very attracted and indulged in people that are dead. It's fascinating, it is a beautiful thing to me. It's probably because my real dad was a mortician. (Laughs.)

MS: Probably! (Laughs.) I have that too, though, and I didn't have a mortician in my family.

ND: Oh, you're just weird then. (Laughs.)

MS: What made you want to do a cover album?

ND: Really it was our label, Joan Jett's Blackheart Records, that wanted us to "keep the vibe alive". Until you release your third album, we'd like you to do a project of covers. We were like, yeah, of course. It's nice to show our appreciation to the people that inspired us. Learning their actual songs helps you to create other songs. It was an amazing experience.

MS: Speaking of Joan Jett, I have to ask, what was it like backing Cherie Currie on "Cherry Bomb" at SXSW?

ND: Cherie is so sweet. It was cool being in back of her because I felt like Joan in The Runaways, it was like yeaaaaaah, I'm Joan Jett right now! (Laughs.)

Time to wake up and log onto "Adventures in Coverland" drops October 19th.

Michael Shinafelt

Michael Shinafelt has covered pop & dance music since he first burst on to the writing scene, interviewing everyone from pop icon Olivia Newton-John to pop artist E.G. Daily. Not to mention the many dance divas (male and female) who he has crossed paths with. Other interviews of note are Pamela Anderson, Heidi Fleiss, as well as cover stories on Margaret Cho and Kathy Griffin. Peace.