Best Salsa Club

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Music: Chris Pérez never saw it coming. “All I ever wanted to do was play guitar,” he told the Current. “I never thought I’d be the subject of an interview... By Enrique Lopetegui 8/28/2013
Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
Chris Perez, husband of slain Tejana icon Selena, tells of romance, suffering

Chris Perez, husband of slain Tejana icon Selena, tells of romance, suffering

Arts & Culture: In one of the final chapters of his book To Selena, With Love (out March 6), Selena's widower Chris Perez mentions that Abraham Quintanilla, his former father-in-law, once... By Enrique Lopetegui 3/7/2012
A Look Back at SA\'s Homebrew History

A Look Back at SA's Homebrew History

The Beer Issue: Homebrewing is a foundational American virtue. Not just Sam Adams smiling back from the bottle that bears his name—virtually all the... By Lance Higdon 10/15/2014

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Iconic Girl in a Coma exorcises their demons to deliver their best album yet

Photo: Josh Huskin, License: N/A

Josh Huskin

Phanie Diaz (left), Nina Diaz, and Jenn Alva against evil. They won.

Photo: Stephen Castro, License: N/A

Stephen Castro

Nina shopping at Hogwild Records, the band’s “favorite record store ever.”

Photo: Stephen Castro, License: N/A

Stephen Castro

At Jefferson High, on the steps where they had their first photo session as a band called Sublimaze (!). This time, Nina is in the picture.

Photo: Mark Greenburg, License: N/A

Mark Greenburg

GIAC circa 2005

Photo: Chuck Kerr, License: N/A

Chuck Kerr

GIAC circa 2009

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Girl in a Coma broke my heart. Jenn Alva (bass) and Phanie Díaz (drums) are eating meat again.

“Oh, c’mon…” says Phanie. “It’s hard when you’re on the road.” Jenn tries to make me feel better: “We’re still not eating beef… We’re not there yet.”

But the more road-friendly diet is a small thing compared to the many deep realizations and adjustments this group went through on the way to the making of Exits & All The Rest, a triumphant work and the trio’s fourth album. Not surprisingly, the album is dedicated to Ernestine Davis, Jenn’s mom, who passed away in March. But it is also dedicated to San Antonio, “for being our inspiration.”

At a time when bands routinely leave town as soon as they get a taste of success, Girl in a Coma don’t ever see themselves living anywhere but the Alamo City. What is it about San Antonio that inspires them so much? I asked the girls to show me around those places that nurtured them growing up and continue to provide nourishment. Weeks before their free CD release party at the Pearl on Saturday, Girl in a Coma showed up at the Current’s office in their 15-passenger, 2005 Ford van they call “Big Bertha,” and took me on a trip into their past.




“Romance us!” says Jenn, standing in front of the van. It’s a code phrase meaning, “Whoever has the keys, please open the van.” There are no automatic locks, so things have to be done the old-fashioned way, by hand. “We call this ‘romancing,’” Jenn says as she (the band’s official chauffeur) gets behind the wheel. Phanie is to her right. I have the honor of sharing the second row of seats with vocalist/guitarist Nina Diaz — this is her spot, typically nobody rides or sleeps back here but her.

The van is a mess. Clothes, shoes, papers, flyers, CDs, you name it, litter the floorboards and seats. I notice a huge pair of red boots cast to the side. “They’re Jenn’s,” Nina says. “Badass, right? Jenn’s Bigfoot. Dang, right? I’m like 6 1/2.”

“I’m 10 or 11,” says Jenn.

“Petite feet,” sings Nina.

“Feminine step … ” Phanie responds, referencing a tune by Tim and Eric from Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. Jenn smiles and keeps on driving. The girls are in a great mood.

It’s a day after Steve Jobs’ passing, and I comment on the iPod plugged into the dash.

“Oh, there’s a song there from when Nina was 12,” says Phanie. When I ask to hear it, Nina rolls her eyes. “Oh, I sound like a chipmunk,” she says of the track, recorded by a friend who was still learning her equipment. “I was singing loud, and she told me, ‘You’re not supposed to sing so loud when you’re recording,’” Nina says. “So I was backing up on it, but now I’ve learned: you can sing loud.”

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