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Disappearing Lewes - The Lambrettas (continued...)

This was at the height of the Mod revival, and after the album – Beat Boys in the Jet Age – came out we did a fantastic UK tour and supported Madness on a European tour. We did quite a show, wearing sharp suits we bought in Carnaby Cavern. I had a red one, Dougie had a white one, Mark had a blue one, whatever. The record company brought out another single from the album – D-a-a-ance – which got to number 12. Everything looked pretty good. Then came the difficult third single. We thought Page Three was a great song, but the Sun threatened to sue us, saying that we were trading off their trademark. So the record got banned. The company withdrew the single, changed its name and re-released it under a different name, but it had been taken off all the BBC playlists, so it never got on the radio. We recorded for Top of the Pops, but they never used it. It was a disaster.

Things started going wrong after that. Our drummer left after musical differences and our new drummer was much slower. This softened our sound, which was no bad thing. We stopped wearing the suits. We weren’t Mod enough for the Mods, but we were still called the Lambrettas. You can’t really reinvent what you are. We were scheduled to go on tour in the USA, supporting Ultravox, which we were really looking forward to. Then the tour got cancelled, and the next thing we knew we were back in Lewes Scout Hut, where we’d started, writing our second album, which was part of our deal with Rocket. I still think Ambience is a good album, but the Mod revival was a pretty short-lived thing, and we weren’t in favour any more. We were never into that retro 60’s sound. The album didn’t sell in anything like the numbers that Beat Boys in the Jet Age had achieved.

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Suits you? Left to right: Jez Bird, Paul Wincer, Dougie Sanders, Mark Ellis