ModPopPunk Archives: Mark, when did you join The Lambrettas? How long did you all know each other ? What bands had you been in before?
Mark ELLIS: I met Doug Sanders (guitar, vocals) and Jez Bird (vocals, guitar) in early 1979. Doug and Jez were in a "pub band" together. I think they had known each other for a few years. Then we found Paul Wincer (drums) and started to rehearse. All of the music any of us had done before was with people nobody will ever have heard of!
MPP A: Who came up with the idea for the band? Was it a collaborative thing?
ME: Jez and Doug already had the idea when I met them. I had just returned to England from living in America, and I didn't know about the Mod Revival until then.
MPP A: Where did you get some of your musical influences from?
ME: As do most musicians, I have many influences, from many different types of music. This may be a boring answer, but like most people of my generation, the Beatles were the biggest influence for me. I liked 60s pop music in general. I always was a big Who fan. Also loved the English "blues" thing from the late 60s.
MPP A: The band formed in Brighton; how was the town in the late 70s? Were you the first band of your type?
ME: Brighton was an exciting place to be. Lots of music happening, but most of the bands then were still punk or post-punk . There was 1 mod band in Brighton before us, but I am sorry that I can't remember the name.
MPP A: The Lambrettas signed to Elton John's Rocket Records in 1979; how did you hook up with them? Had the band been approached by any major labels?
ME: Our manager had tried the other labels, but with no success. We were playing in London one night, and Rocket were there looking for acts to appear on a "sampler" album with 10 or 12 various new bands. We were the last band they found.
MPP A: What do you think sets you apart from other Mod Revival bands in 1979? Did you tour with other Mod bands?
ME: I think we didn't take ourselves too seriously, unlike a lot of the other mod bands we knew. Also, I have to say that Jez and Doug both were extremely good pop music songwriters. Clever words, and great melodies.
We played with most of mod bands from that time at least once. Chords, Purple Hearts, Merton Parkas, Teenbeats etc., etc. The one big exception was Secret Affair. Never met them.
MPP A: "Another Day (Another Girl)" was originally titled "Page Three", please let us know why?
ME: Jez wrote "Page Three" about the famous half-naked girls that appeared every day in the English newspaper, the Sun, always on, of course, page 3.
It was on the Beat Boys LP with the original title and was set to be the next single after "Da-a-a-nce". The Sun heard about it, and there was a legal injunction to prevent the song being released with that title. We thought they were joking. They weren't! So, that's why it became "Another Day, Another Girl" and was released in the "Emergency Bag" instead of with the original artwork.
MPP A: What's your best memories of The Lambrettas?
ME: Laughing! We had fights sometimes, but we had a LOT of fun. We were young, and getting paid to play music, travel, and make records. What could be better?
MPP A: What do you think of the whole nostalgia' '79 thing?
ME: I am glad it happened!
MPP A: What bands do you like to listen today?
K: Not many new bands that I like. The bands from years ago were so good.......
MPP A: What is your favourite bass player?
K: For melodic good taste: Paul McCartney. For technique and inventiveness: Jaco Pastorius.
MPP A: Other interests besides music?
ME: History and Politics.
MPP A:What is your life in 2005? What are you doing?
ME: I have lived in Los Angeles since 1983. I work in the movie and TV industry.
MPP A: Is there anything else that you would like to get across befor we close?
ME: I am always surprised that there are people who still like the Lambs after so many years. I think of those days as some of the best times of my life. Wish I could bring it all back!