the Smiths' song "Girlfriend in a Coma," Girl in a Coma started in San Antonio, TX, with bassist Jenn Alva and drummer Phanie Diaz, two best friends who bonded thanks to a shared interest in Nirvana and the Smiths. The duo endured several failed experiments in both band lineups and musical styles before discovering that Nina Diaz, Phanie's younger sister, possessed talent as a singer, guitarist, and songwriter. Though Nina was only 12 when she performed her first song for them, both Alva and Diaz recognized her potential. After recruiting the younger Diaz, Girl in a Coma spent five years writing, performing, and touring before coming to the attention of label reps and tour managers in the summer of 2004. One of the managers sent a homemade demo tape to Morrissey music director Boz Boorer; after hearing it, Boorer invited the trio to London to record its first demo. Soon after returning, Girl in a Coma found themselves featured in a television documentary about emerging Latino bands. As part of the show, the group went to New York City for a show at the Knitting Factory and a surprise meeting with Joan Jett. While on camera, Jett and her producing partner Kenny Laguna praised the trio's set -- and invited the band to join the Blackheart Records label. Girl in a Coma accepted and released their debut album, Both Before I'm Gone, in May 2007.