The 21-year-old lead singer and guitarist for San Antonio’s Girl in a Coma leaped onto the rock scene in 2007 after she and her bandmates (drummer and older sister Phanie, bassist Jenn Alva) were discovered by Joan Jett—who promptly signed them to her label—and invited to open concerts for Morrissey. The Latina trio is getting new buzz this summer as they tour their sophomore album, Trio B.C. (Blackheart).
Let’s talk first about how Girl in a Coma got started. Your sister and Jenn are both eight years older than you and were already playing together when they asked you to join them. Were you surprised? How old were you? I started playing guitar when I was twelve, but I didn’t show them anything till I was thirteen. They were about to go out, and I was like, “Hey! You guys wanna hear this song real quick?” And they were like, “Yeah, yeah, hurry up.” I played it, and Jenn asked, “Is that a cover?” I said, “No, that’s my own song.” They looked at each other and said, “Do you want to be the singer?”
When was your first show? A week before my fourteenth birthday.
And when did you first go on tour? Could you get into the clubs? I was sixteen, and we went during summer vacation. I would have to wait in the van [until showtime]. I’d play acoustic or talk to my friends, or people would hang out with me in the van.
You’re an all-female band in a male-dominated field. What kinds of challenges do you face? There’s a bit of tension sometimes from people thinking,