Coming Out of the Coma

Lesbian members Phanie Diaz and Jenn Alva of the all-woman punk group Girl in a Coma discuss their newfound fame and their sophomore album, Trio B.C.

BY Graham Kolbeins

June 09 2009 11:00 PM ET

The title of the album comes from the Tejano band that Phanie and Nina's grandfather played with in the 1950s. Is that what inspired you to cover "Ven Cerca"? Do you plan on performing more Spanish songs in the future?Phanie: We first came across "Ven Cerca" when we were asked to do a Mexican '50s rock tribute at the John Anson Ford Theatre in L.A. We were sent a CD of options, and that song was more of a challenge. It's originally done by a band from the '50s called Los Spitfires. It's sung very sexually, and Nina thought, I can't cover this! It ended up being a powerful, fun song to do live and one of our favorites. Eventually it would be nice to do an original in Spanish -- so we will see.

Mexican culture is not traditionally known for being open and accepting toward homosexuality. Jenn and Phanie, how did your parents deal with your sexuality when they found out? How do they feel about you being in the public eye and having a queer following?Phanie: Well, for me, it's really not a big deal. My mother is huge supporter of the band and always supports me in general. To her, as long as I'm happy, that's all that matters.

Jenn: Although the Mexican culture is not traditionally known for its acceptance of homosexuality, it is well known that Mexican families are very passionate and try to maintain a strong bond with every member of the household. My family has been very supportive, and although it took my parents a while to come to an understanding about it, they are my number 1 supporters today. That had nothing to do with our nationality; it was more so the fact of learned behaviors. This is why it is very important to educate every person, young and old, about homosexuality. It has been dubbed an ugly word for too long.

Nina, you've been performing with the band for half a decade and you're barely 21 -- are you starting to get tired of the constant movement of the touring life, or are you just getting started?Nina: I'm starting to now find a balance with life in general.

Phanie, you're a part-time ghost hunter. Me too! Do you have any twisted tales of paranormal activity from your travels across the nation with Girl in a Coma?Phanie: Sadly, not really. I don't get to do any ghost exploring on the road, only because we are so busy. I have my share of stories ... but they're mainly from when I was younger. I'm going to make it a point this year to try checking out some hot spots in the cities we play. Does that make me nerdy?

Tags: Music

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