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Arts & Culture

Girl In A Coma Side Project Gets 'Ugly'

Phanie Diaz and Jenn Alva, two-thirds of the power-punk alternative trio Girl In A Coma, want to emphasize that their new project, FEA, doesn’t mean the popular San Antonio-based band is breaking up. But with singer (and Phanie's sister) Nina Diaz embarking on a solo record, Alva (bass) and Diaz (drums) felt the time was right to flex their creative muscles.

“People don’t realize that we’ve been doing this for 13 years with Girl In A Coma. It’s about time to do something a little different,” says Alva.

“We did the polar opposite of Girl In A Coma. We found this singer that does nothing but yell. It’s raw,” explains Diaz.

The new group, described by Diaz as a “riot punk grrl band” with a Tex-Mex influence, also features Theresa Moher, vocals, and Aaron Lee Magana on guitar. Taking a cue from the Ramones, all the members use “Fea” or “Feo” as their last name.

Diaz notes the two are writing music and lyrics now, since Nina does the lion’s share of the writing for Girl In A Coma. FEA is giving Diaz and Alva the opportunity to find a new voice as they write songs about politics in Ukraine, Arizona, and right here in South Texas. One song, “No Hablo Español,” is about personal identity.

“It has to do with [how] a lot of our grandparents came from Mexico and then raised [their] kids, [teaching them that] it’s wrong to present yourself as a Mexican because you’re going to get discriminated against,” says Diaz. “Jenn’s father’s original last name was Mondragón, and they changed it to Davis, to give him a better future,” Diaz adds.

FEA will be recording a 7” EP later this year, and plans to tour Texas as well as the West Coast. Meanwhile, those eager to hear Girl In A Coma will be able to see the band perform together at the Fiesta Oyster Bake on April 11 -- yet another indicator that the group isn’t splitting up.

“Nina’s been writing all kinds of music that’s more for her,” explains Alva. “It’s melodic, like Fiona Apple or Bjork...of course we’re super supportive of it!” she adds, praising what she’s heard so far of Nina Diaz’s solo album.

“We’re all going on these journeys to come back even stronger,” Phanie Diaz says with a smile.

And whether with FEA or Girl In A Coma, one of Alva and Diaz’s goals is to inspire young girls to become musicians.

Diaz emphatically states, “Maybe there’ll be a 13-year-old girl out there, and she’s going to think ‘they don’t look like typical girls, but they’re doing it.’"

  • For tour dates and news, find FEA on Twitter @Fea210