The Lambrettas, featuring Jez Bird (guitar/vocals/keyboards), Doug Saunders (guitar), Mark Ellis (bass), and Paul Wincer (drums), jumped on the Jam-inspired mod revival bandwagon of the late '70s, dressing in matching mohair suits and naming themselves after one of the mod-favored motor scooters. Although decidedly derivative, the Lambrettas proved to be one of the most fondly remembered bands of the mod revival. The band formed in the mod mecca of Brighton and, under the leadership of Bird's catchy songwriting, proved to be more than just Jam sound-alikes, leaving behind mod-life arrogance/elitism in favor of a pure pop sensibility. The band signed to Elton John's Rocket Records in 1979 and after one failed single, "Go Steady," had a U.K. hit with their cover of Leiber and Stoller's "Poison Ivy." The follow-up singles "D-a-a-ance" and "Another Day (Another Girl)" also charted in the U.K. The latter (originally titled "Page Three"), with its not-so-thinly veiled jabs at The Sun newspaper's practice of placing photos of topless women on page three, earned them some notoriety when the newspaper threatened legal action. Beat Boys in the Jet Age, their debut LP, released in 1980, collected the early singles and other similar-sounding originals. Though it did make it into the British charts, the mod revival fad had pretty much run its course. Subsequent singles and a second album, 1981's Ambience, were commercial flops despite efforts to break from the mod mold. The band called it quits in 1982, playing their final gig in London, on April 14, 1982. Bird regrouped the band in the '90s, playing small venues in England, and recorded several demos for a new album which never saw the light of day.
In 2008, Jez Bird lost his battle with cancer, passing away at age 50. After playing what was to be a one off gig in 2009, original members Doug Saunders and Paul Wincer decided to reunite the band with two new memembers -- Philip Edwards and Chris Venzi-James. They continue to tour the UK and Europe. ~ Chris Woodstra