Pop Punk Garage Surf Produced by Danny Amis of Los Straitjackets

Liner Notes: Ben Vaughn (September 24, 2020) Vinyl Release 2021


The Neptunas are:  Pamita Neptuna (bass) | Leslita Neptuna (guitar) | Laura Bethita Neptuna (drums)


Los Angeles, CA—The Neptunas know how to have fun.  One of the first all-girl garage-surf bands, they put out two records on the Sympathy For The Record Industry label in the ‘90s giving them a unique voice in the world of surf music. Scratch and Surf was the first album, and their second album, Let Them Eat Tuna depicts the trio (Pamita, Leslita, Laura Bethita) as mermaids with Marie Antoinette wigs with Pamita showing her 8-months pregnant belly. 


“We are definitely not your run–of-the-mill surf and garage band,” Pamita describes.  “When we first started, there was a small but super interesting scene going on with garage and surf, mostly centered around Estrus Records in Bellingham, Washington.  We still embody that spirit of punk rock, garage rock and wild and free fun that rock n’ roll was built on.” 


By the year 2000 the band was on a quiet hiatus as they began other projects, musical and familial, but would get together for the occasional one-off show.  In 2014 the band was approached by the Breeders asking if they were still playing and would like to open for them on a West Coast tour.  The Neptunas proceeded to relearn their old songs and put together a tight set.  “We found out later that the reason we were asked is because Kim Deal loved us so much and asked for us specifically,” said Leslita.  “She told us this when we were on tour and said that our music made her happy.  We told her that her music made us happy—it was a beautiful love fest.”


Buoyed by the reception they received on the tour, the band started writing songs and playing locally.  The Neptunas had been friends with the band, Los Straitjackets for many years (they used to open for them) and had kept in touch with Danny Amis when he moved from Santa Monica to Mexico.  In 2017, Amis invited them down to Mexico City to play the huge surf and garage rock festival, Wild-O Fest. Taking place in a large arena that holds thousands of surf and garage rock fans, the ladies won them over when they put on Lucha Libre masks at the end of their set and Amis came out to play with them.  “The crowd went crazy,” said Laura Bethita. “He is hugely famous there.  It was like Jimmy Page stepped out to play with us! It was nuts!”


After they got home from that trip, they couldn’t get the fun of Mexico City off of their minds. “We had written an album’s worth of music by this time, so I got the idea that we should approach Danny about producing a new record for us,” recounted Pamita.  “He said that if we came down to Mexico City, we would haven an amazing studio to record in (T-Vox Records) a fantastic engineer to work with (Gabriel of Sonido Gallo Negro and Twin Tones), and great session players that could add some flavor to our recordings.”


The result is Mermaid A Go Go, a 12-song album with 3 bonus tracks.  Half are instrumentals and half include vocals and there are a few covers, including The Kinks “Til the End of the Day” and an instrumental cover, “The Lonely Bull”, that was a big hit for The Tijuana Brass and The Ventures.  They chose to put their version of the song on the record to give a nod to their experiences playing and recording in Mexico City and all the new fans they met there.


Amis’ idea behind the recording was to take the lo-fi-ness of the Neptunas' songs and make hi-fi very produced songs.  “I am so stoked about the instrumentation Danny chose for the recordings on the album, in terms of the guitar-amp pairings to achieve that perfect sound for each song,” said Leslita. “I love the Latin flavor of the record!  Feeling so lucky to have had Danny produce it, with Gabriel engineering.” “He created a sound that is completely identifiable—a la Phil Spector,” adds Pamita. “That kind of 60’s BIG production.  He added things like horns and percussion and made the songs so unique.  They still have that charming simplicity, but with layers of delicious dimension that brings so much more to our little trio.”


The song titles are a lot of fun, as well as the music. The instrumental, “Billy The Squid’s Water Pistol” kicks off the record and is described by Pamita as “A spaghetti-western theme for Mike TeeVee of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”   There are the surf driven “Undersea Grand Prix”, “Shark Tooth Necklace” and “Nancy Drew’s Wetsuit” and the garage-y girls number, “Lord Jim” about a fictional man with desired qualities and royal blood—footnote The Fabulous Stains.


The Bonus tracks are all vocals and include the fizzy pop ballad, “Hey Jimmy Freek”, a hula-rocker, “Neptuna Car Wash” and “Sorority Stomp”, an ode to the ‘90s frat rock band, The Mighty Kegsmen. 


“When we first started out we played all instrumentals,” said Pamita.  “Now I think we are getting to be sharper and better songwriters.  One of the things I love about the songwriting process is seeing what Leslita brings in.  When she brings in a lyric or a lick she will describe it in these utterly charming ways.  It’s like an alien-angel teleported from the planet Neptune and says to Laura Bethita and me, “I want to write a song that tastes like an orange sunset over the sea,” and we get to take the gems that she brings in and construct the flavor of the sun going down over the ocean from that.  I just get delighted with our creative process.”


“We are so excited to have had the amazing collaboration with Danny and the vision that he created,” said Laura Bethita. “He took our songs farther out that we could imagine.” Adds Pamita, “This is a magical album and a true joint-effort between ourselves and a musician who we deeply admire, respect and love as one of our dear friends.  The people in your life are so important, and when you have a talented friend like Danny Amis who loves what you do as much as you love what he does, it is truly something magical. I hope that everyone that listens to the songs on this record or picks up a copy feels that love.”


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Press Contact:  Kim Grant | KG Music Press | | 626-755-9022