Archive for Joan Jett

Video Du Jour: Girl In A Coma

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , on February 18, 2013 by 30daysout

Let’s start the week with Texas-homegrown Girl In A Coma, the rockin’ trio from San Antonio. Led by the fiery voice and guitar playing (not to mention good looks) of frontwoman Nina Diaz, and anchored by the rock solid rhythm of bass player Jenn Alva and Phanie Diaz (Nina’s sister), the band has been paying its dues since about 2005.

Signing with Joan Jett’s Blackheart Records was a big step for Girl In A Coma, and they’re fixtures on the concert circuit nationwide now. “One Eyed Fool” is off their latest studio album Exits And All The Rest.

 

Girl In A Coma official web site

Video Du Jour: Girl In A Coma

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , , on May 31, 2012 by 30daysout

We caught Girl In A Coma a few years ago, playing a free show at the great Cactus Music in Houston. The San Antonio-based trio has since become indie/alt darlings of a sort, going on tour with the likes of the Go Gos and the Bangles and opening shows for Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.

There’s no denying the charisma of singer/guitarist Nina Diaz, who combines beauty and punk like nobody else – while drummer Phanie Diaz (Nina’s sister) and bassist Jenn Alva lay down a wicked rhythm. Girl In A Coma’s latest album Exits & All The Rest recently picked up an Independent Music Award for Best Indie/Alt Rock Album, so there you go.

This is “Smart,” from that album.

Girl In A Coma is on the bill this weekend at the Free Press Summer Fest in Houston. Among the other acts appearing will be Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson, the Avett Brothers, Primus, Best Coast, Morris Day and the Time, and many more. There are still tickets left although they have to be close to selling out by now; 75 bucks will get you in both days. Check out the full lineup and ticket info here.

Girl In A Coma official website

Back from NYC: A Rock and Roll Tour

Posted in Rock Rant with tags , , , , , , , , on July 24, 2011 by 30daysout

An iconic wall of stickers and fliers, preserved under glass at what used to be CBGB's.

Remind me never to go back to New York City in the dead of summer: walking along the city’s sidewalks as the sun sizzled temperatures to near 97 was just as hellish as any August day in our hometown of Houston. But it wasn’t just the heat that reminded us of Texas – it seemed everywhere you turned, there was music in the big city.

The summertime is perfect for live music in New York, and there are plenty of “canned” live music events to satisfy any tourist, including but not limited to the Friday-morning TV-ready “concerts” staged for the network morning news shows. We didn’t do those anyway – we had our hands full with all the other things going on.

New York City is of course a cradle of rock and roll history. You can go to about 100 places that have some significance in music history, from the Brill Building to the Iridium Club (where Les Paul used to play live on a weekly basis) to the Strawberry Fields-John Lennon memorial in Central Park (along with the adjacent Dakota apartment building).

Hard Rock Cafe exhibit is a reminder of our great recent loss.

We got the tourist stuff out of the way first, heading to the big Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square which is an attraction not for its food but for its rich store of rock memorabilia. No shortage of Beatles stuff here – from the actual doors from the Abbey Road studios, to early Beatles matching stage costumes, to beautiful album art covers autographed by all four Beatles, it’s a Fab Four mother lode.

We were lucky enough to sit right under a Bruce Springsteen exhibit with a Boss guitar, a Little Steven guitar and a Clarence Clemons saxophone. We paid tribute once more to the Big Man – a great, great artist. Did you know that the Hard Rock is located in what used to be NYC’s Paramount Theatre, where rock and roll pioneer Alan Freed staged some of his seminal shows back in the day? It’s also the place where Elvis’ first movie Love Me Tender had its world premiere in 1956.

We also walked into Greenwich Village, and in Washington Square park there were at least seven bands playing for tips along the sidewalks. Soon we were on Bleeker headed for the former location of CBGBs on Bowery St. The seminal punk club closed in 2006, and virtually overnight the owners uprooted just about anything that wasn’t nailed down for a possible rebirth of the club someplace else.

I’d never been in the neighborhood before,  it didn’t seem the kind of place that hordes of mohawked and safety-pin-pierced punks would frequent, but I understand many things have changed since 1977. Right now the old CBGBs is an upscale fashion boutique ($800 for a leather jacket, and not a cool one at that!) and pretty much the only concession to history are some patches of wall that still sport hundreds of stickers and fliers from the punk daze, protected under a clear glass window.

Pretty much everywhere you turn in Greenwich Village, you see written on the subway walls and tenement halls two words of graffiti: “Lou Reed.” In one three-block stroll on the way to the former CBGBs, I think I must have seen that name scrawled at least 100 times. I surmised that the graffiti had been created by Lou himself, after some sort of guerilla-marketing brainstorm (or a six pack). No matter – Lou Reed is perhaps the No. 1 rocker that comes to mind when I think of New York City.

Like I said: it's written everywhere in Greenwich Village.

Lou is also the unofficial King of Coney Island (King Neptune), and the next day we found ourselves on the D train headed for Brooklyn and Coney Island. There was a free concert on Coney Island the night before, with San Antonio’s Girl In A Coma and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts headlining, but nobody wanted to ride the subway back late at night. So we arrived on the Boardwalk right about high noon, and there were smells of suntan lotion, hot dogs and cologne everywhere. I looked around for Lou, but no luck; I did, however, catch a few bars of “Coney Island Baby” emanating from Cha-Cha’s Bar & Cafe.

Later that night, back in Manhattan, we cleaned up and attended “Spider Man: Turn Off The Dark” on Broadway. Although Bono and the Edge were rumored to be in town for an appearance on David Letterman, they were no-shows at the play. We particularly enjoyed one scene, where Peter Parker and Mary Jane dance in a club to U2’s “Vertigo.” It is the best song in the show.

Then, finally, the next night we headed for the Bronx to see some guy sing Beatles songs in Yankee Stadium. You can read all about that below; even the part about the guest walk-on by Billy Joel, who Paul McCartney called “a friend of New York.” I would have to agree with that – mostly. Nobody asked me, but if you want Mr. Rock and Roll New York, go down to Greenwich Village and read the graffiti.

MP3: “Coney Island Baby” (live) by Lou Reed

Live: Girl In A Coma, Houston

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , on January 2, 2011 by 30daysout

Girl In A Coma: from left - Jenn, Nina and Phanie.

We wrapped up 2010 with a cool little in-store performance Dec. 31 at Houston’s Cactus Music & Video – featuring the San Antonio punk trio Girl In A Coma.   I’ve been hearing good things about these girls since last year’s SXSW conference, and brother blogger Citizen K suggested we check ’em out.

Girl In A Coma is anchored by the rhythm section of drummer Stephanie “Phanie” Diaz and bassist Jenn Alva, and fronted by singer/guitarist Nina Diaz, Phanie’s little sister.  Nina is a ferocious singer and certainly no slouch on the guitar.  The girls have released three albums on Joan Jett’s Blackheart Records label.

From the album Trio B.C., Girl In A Coma started their in-store with “Bb” about a “little man,” and its jaunty stomp hit the right groove.  They also did “El Monte,” where Nina moons over some guy only to realize she’s “just another score.”  They also did an awesome version of Patsy Cline’s “Walkin’ After Midnight,” from the band’s most recent effort, an album of covers titled Adventures in Coverland.  They also did a new song from a forthcoming album, but I didn’t catch the title, sorry.  (Also apologies are in order for not taking photos – my camera’s busted.  Got a new one comin’ in from NYC, and we’ll be back in business next week!  In the meantime, check out the Cactus Music Facebook page for some good photos by Jay Dryden.)

I must say I was totally impressed by Nina Diaz’s style.  Don’t let her looks fool you – Nina really rocks out.  She holds nothing back, not even for a little in-store performance, and her voice is one of a kind.  Their short performance at Cactus certainly sent me to their recordings – I highly recommend Trio B.C., released in 2009, and Adventures in Coverland is pretty good too, with standout covers of Joy Division’s “Transmission,” George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and Selena’s “Si Una Vez.”

What a great way to wind up the year; it’s nice to see somebody is ready to rock into a new decade.  We thoroughly enjoyed Girl In A Coma … and if you catch ’em live, you surely will too.

Girl In A Coma official website

Blackheart Records

YouTube: “El Monte”

YouTube: “Cherry Bomb” (with Cherie Currie) and “Static Mind” at SXSW 2010

YouTube: “Walkin’ After Midnight”

Bonus Song of the Day: “Cherry Bomb,” Dakota Fanning & Kristen Stewart

Posted in News with tags , , , , on April 1, 2010 by 30daysout

Yikes! Actresses Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart perform “Cherry Bomb” as jailbait rockers Cherie Currie and Joan Jett, roles they take on in the new movie The Runaways.  Video courtesy of MTV.com.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Your Sister’s (Record) Rack: The Runaways

Posted in Rock Classics! with tags , , , , on March 15, 2010 by 30daysout

Thought we’d give this one a spin before the mythology kicks in a few weeks from now: The Runaways, from 1976.  The movie of the same name is supposed to start soon, and needless to say, it’s going to paint the real story in big, bold colors.  The Runaways were an all-girl rock band that came out of L.A. around 1975, put together by veteran L.A. producer Kim Fowley, they were 16- and 17-year-olds who could really play their instruments.

Joan Jett was a guitarist and the main songwriter, guitar player Lita Ford, bassist Jackie Fox, drummer Sandy West and pretty blonde lead singer Cherie Currie.  Many people are saying THIS is the first real all-girl rock band – don’t believe it.  Check out Fanny, which broke up the same year the Runaways got together – actually Goldie and the Gingerbreads were the first all-female rock band to sign to a major label (1960s) and Fanny was the second (1970s).

Anyhow – The Runaways.  Like any red-blooded young American male of the era (OK, I was 20 years old), you weren’t cool if you didn’t own a copy of this album.  “Cherry Bomb,” the group’s only big hit, kicks off the album; like many of the other songs, it was written by Joan Jett and Kim Fowley.  Currie had a throaty, husky singing voice and her delivery gave the band’s music a bit of toughness that the overly polished musicianship didn’t really sell.  Probably she was a little extra pissed off when she cut the vocal for “Cherry Bomb” – apparently Jett/Fowley wrote the song about her.

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Rockin’ the Jukebox

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 16, 2009 by 30daysout

jukebox1

Lenny Bruce once said, the one machine made only for fun is the jukebox.   It doesn’t cut anything, or mash anything, or staple anything together, it just plays music.  When I was a kid we used to go over to visit my grandmother in Louisiana, and she operated a small pool hall in Catahoula, deep in the swamps.  I was fascinated with the jukebox – how it found the record you selected, placed it just so on the turntable and guided that needle with precision right to the first notes of the music.  When the record man came every once in a while to change out the 45 rpm platters, she gave the old ones to me and my brothers.  My musical tastes for the rest of my life were influenced by that handful of records from a forgotten jukebox in swampland Louisiana.

If you see a jukebox nowadays, it’s usually a relic stuck away in some corner of a bar.  It could play CDs or it could be one of those new digital models stocked with thousands of downloads (like my laptop).  Or you might find one in the rec room or basement bar of some guy’s house that you’re only going to visit once.   Jukeboxes seem to be disappearing, or at least morphing into something other than the machine that Lenny Bruce romanticized or the motherlode of forbidden music from my childhood.  Let’s drop a coin in the slot and celebrate the jukebox today.

MP3: “Juke Box Music” by the Kinks

MP3: “Let The Jukebox Keep On Playing” by Carl Perkins

MP3: “A-1 On The Jukebox” by Dave Edmunds

MP3: “Turn The Jukebox Up Louder” by Porter Wagoner

MP3: “Jukebox Man” by Dick Curless

MP3: “You’re Still On My Mind” by the Byrds

MP3: “Stoned At The Jukebox” by Hank Williams Jr.

MP3: “A-11” by Buck Owens

MP3: “Jukebox Charlie” by Johnny Paycheck

MP3: “Little Queenie” by Chuck Berry

MP3: “I Love Rock and Roll” by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts

MP3: “Juke Box Hero/Whole Lotta Love” (live) by Foreigner

Summer, Part 2

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on July 9, 2008 by 30daysout

Summer’s rockin’ along and so are the theme songs … also included are a couple that didn’t make the cut on the Fourth of July.   Thanks to our L.A. correspondent Randy Fuller for most of these.  It’s all good. 

MP3: “The Sweet Sounds of Summer” by the Shangri Las

MP3: “Summertime” by Mongo Santamaria

MP3: “Summertime Blues” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

MP3: “Fourth of July” by Robert Earl Keen

MP3: “4th of July” (demo) by X

MP3: “Wild Wild Waves” by the Tormentos

MP3: “A Little Samba” by Ugly Duckling

MP3: “Good Old Summertime” by Lee Diamond

MP3: “Texas Girls In The Summer” by 3 Four

MP3: “The Surfer Moon” by the Beach Boys

MP3: “California Dreamin'” by John Phillips