Girl in a Coma is not afraid to take a stand. The frequent Houston visitors, who have been mix-and-matching their Hispanic roots, namesake Smiths, punk and roots-rock since 2007 debut Both Before I'm Gone (Blackheart Records), have decided not to play in Arizona until the state's controversial anti-immigration legislation is off the books.
So if the all-female San Antonio trio's Grand Canyon State fans want to see them live, explains bassist Jenn Alva, it's really up to them.
"We get letters from our fans saying, 'Why are you punishing us? We love seeing you,'" she says. "We're not punishing anybody, but maybe it will make people who wouldn't normally do anything about it be like, 'Oh, my favorite band's not coming to town; I need to get more active and involved.'"
Girl in a Coma
Saturday, October 30, at Ghoulsfest, Tom Bass Regional Park, 3452 Fellows Rd., www.ghoulsfest.com .
Chatter caught up with Alva last week at home in the Alamo City to discuss GIAC's favorite Houston club, Fitzgerald's — where they return with Dresden Dolls November 20 — directing her first video and the tough decisions behind the new Adventures in Coverland LP, which includes the trio's takes on Selena, the Beatles, David Bowie and Joy Division.
Chatter: Do you have any special memories of playing Fitzgerald's?
Jenn Alva: It's not necessarily my fondest memory, but I just remember falling. Everybody will fall onstage if they play a lot. It's going to happen. That was my first fall, and it wasn't because of alcohol, it's just because you get clumsy. I remember we were playing "Their Cell" and I took some steps back, kind of getting into it, and I fell right over my amp.
C: How was directing your first video for "Walkin' After Midnight"?
JA: It was great. I had happened to see an Elvis movie and I got inspired by it, Roustabout. He's singing and behind him there's these silhouettes of musicians, and I really liked the look. That same night I went to a club in San Antonio — they had remodeled the club, and everybody was dancing and you could see their silhouettes.
C: Do you think Patsy Cline would ever smash her guitar like Nina Diaz does in the video?
JA: Oh yeah, definitely. I think she would.
C: How did you decide which songs for Coverland made the cut and which ones had to go?
JA: We all made the list, and we all picked a few, and then it started with Nina. She wanted to see how she could rearrange it. We were going to do "Where Is My Mind?" by the Pixies, but she said, "It's a great song, but I can't really change it." We didn't want to do the obvious, like Morrissey or the Smiths, even though I really wanted to do "Tony the Pony." That would have been awesome.
Matt Helfrich, a volunteer and sometime fill-in DJ at KPFT (90.1 FM), was stabbed in the chest outside the Skylane Apartments the night of October 16, and later died at Ben Taub Hospital. Police said Helfrich, 42, was seen arguing with several men in the courtyard of the notoriously crime-ridden complex on West Alabama, and the suspects fled on foot after he was stabbed. An imposing-looking man fond of wearing sunglasses indoors, Helfrich was a regular presence at KPFT's studios and the station's fundraising events such as the Watermelon Social. "People who didn't know him were usually initially frightened of him, but he was really pretty much of a sweetheart," station manager Duane Bradley said. Anyone with any information about Helfrich's death should call HPD's Homicide Division at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS (8477).
3622-E Main, 713-533-9525
1. Los Explosivos, Sonidos Rocanrol!!!!
2. Various Artists, Roots of Chicha Vol. 2
3. Old 97's, The Grand Theatre Volume 1
4. Various Artists, To Scratch Your Heart: Early Recordings from Istanbul
5. Ryan Bingham, Junky Star
6. Various Artists, Thai Funk: ZudRangMa Vol. 1
7. Budos Band, Budos Band III
8. Iry LeJeune, The Definitive Collection
9. Tandoori Knights, Curry Up
10. Wanda Jackson, Rockin' with Wanda
KHMX, 96.5 FM
Top songs, October 22
Data from www.yes.com
1. John Mayer feat. Taylor Swift, "Half of My Heart"
2. Maroon 5, "Misery"
3. Taio Cruz, "Dynamite"
4. Katy Perry, "Teenage Dream"
5. Daughtry, "September"
6. Adam Lambert, "If I Had You"
7. Enrique Iglesias, "I Like It"
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8. Bruno Mars, "Just the Way You Are"
9. Lifehouse, "All In"
10. OneRepublic, "Secrets"
(lists compiled by Chris Gray)