So THE NEPTUNAS were an awesome Los-Angeles-based all-girl surf istro band that was formed in 1994 and lasted till some time in the early 2000s and that was made up entirely of real-life mermaids. Fittingly, their songs have names like “Salt-Water Proof Mascara,” “Chicken of the Sea, “Nepton,” “Drag Stripper,” and “The Persistance of Surf,” and make you want to shimmy and wiggle in real mermaid fashion (even more than you usually do).
Here’s an album cover from 1998, showcasing these ladies in their true form:
And here’s “Chicken of the Sea”:
Admit that makes you want to put down whatever lame thing you’re doing on this boring Tuesday and head to the beach. I know. To help ease your pain, recently I talked with the spectacular Leslita, the inimitable Pamita, and the fabulous Laura Bethita about the Neptunas and their general daughter-of-Neptune-ness.
Our gorgeous and illuminating Q and A is below.
Can you tell me about the Neptunas?
Pamita: We started with Leslita, Toastita, Pamita and the mysterious Cathrinita who was only with us for a month or two and disappeared back under the sea. Later Laura Bethita joined the band.
Laura Bethita: The Neptunas are mermaids with instruments. We are compelled to play our sea inspired songs to land lovers.
How did/do mermaids figure into the band’s style and sound?
Pamita: The Neptunas! We’re Neptune’s daughters!
Laura Bethita: All our songs are ocean inspired in some way or another. It happens that way naturally. We play songs about what we know. As mermaids, we know the sea.
Do you think that mermaids and surf music have a natural relationship?
Pamita: Absolutely! Water rules!
Laura Bethita: Absolutely. We do what is our natural desire to play songs inspired by our home….the sea.
Can you tell me about the cover (and cover shoot) for Let Them Eat Tuna?
Leslita: It was very cold. As I recall, I glued shells to brassieres to make the tops, and Pamita supplied the tails.
Pamita: I was 8 1/2 months pregnant with my first son and I said, if we wear clothes I’m just going to look giant, so let me be a pregnant mermaid instead. So we decided to have mermaid tails made. Leslita made the shell bras and we rented Marie Antoinette wigs. The photo was taken down in San Pedro in a place called Sunken City.
Laura Bethita: We actually walked pretty far in those mermaid tails and sea shell bras. IT wasn’t easy (although mine has velcro up and down the sides so I can actually open it up and play the drums). As Lesita said, it was a very cold day. As we walked down the street in those tails and wigs, folks driving by thought it was a parade. I suppose it was a parade of sorts.
How would you explain the allure of mermaids?
Leslita: The mystique of the deep sea—the longing of the mermaid and her seductive quality are difficult to resist. The Neptunas are mermaids in the rough…in my view, anyway…
Pamita: We all come from the sea and we all remember being tiny fish children in our mother’s wombs.
Laura Bethita: It is all about the sea with its beauty and its calming effect.
Do you guys consider yourselves mermaids at heart?
Leslita: Part hula girls, part mermaid. When I was 4, I had a grass skirt and grass/shell bra–my father made a home movie of me doing the hula. My favorite fairy tale was and is The Little Mermaid. The Hans Christian Anderson version, that is.
Pamita: I am! I love mermaids. I love the ocean.
Laura Bethita: Oh yes. I am a mermaid. Born of the sea.
Do you have any favorite mermaid music… and/or any music recommendations for aspiring mermaids?
Pamita: Don’t rely on prerecorded music = Play Conch shell solos yourself!
Laura Bethita: The best music is about the sea. There are operas, rock songs, surf music, folk songs, etc. Anything about the sea is beautiful.
Do you have any additional advice for aspiring mermaids?
Leslita: Visit the little mermaid statue in Copenhagen—Langelinie. If they still have the Mermaid fest in Bodega Bay, that’s a great place to gather with your sisters of the sea.
Pamita: Visit mama ocean often. Comb your hair. Lure naughty sailors to the deep.
Laura Bethita: Aspiring mermaids…..get instruments and start right away. You don’t need to have learned skills, it’s inside of you. You will see. Just do it.
What are you guys doing now?
Pamita: I’m a fortune teller and I sometimes use mermaid cards and my mermaid costume for ocean themed events! A mermaid fortune teller!
Laura Bethita: I am playing surf music with two other mermaids and our band is called, “Surf Kitty Surf.”