Chronicling the history of The Lambrettas
Cooksbridge author Amanda Sanders has written the history of her husband’s band The Lambrettas.
Beyond The Jet Age: The Story of The Lambrettas is self-published through Country Books at £15.99, available from Sussex Stationers/British Bookshops Lewes shop only or directly from Amanda (email [email protected])
Amanda, aged 66, has been married to Doug Sanders since 1973. Doug is frontman of The Lambrettas.
She explained: “The idea to write the story of The Lambrettas had always kind of been there. I collected memorabilia right back from 1979. Then, about 35 years later I was outside a gig in 2014 with some friends having a cigarette, and we were laughing about some of the weird and wonderful things that had happened to us over the years, when one of them said to me ‘You should write a book.’ I said I would and kept meaning to get started but until lockdown one last year, I was always too busy!
“I am married to Doug and was there from the beginnings of the band through to the present day. To be honest, the main reason I wrote it is because no one else had written about them and I am incredibly proud of my husband and my friends in the band and what they have achieved, so I wanted it to be written down for people to see. So although it is a biography of them, it is also a big part of my life as well.
“I laid out the book into three sections: part one 1979-1982; part two The Nineties; and part three 2009 to date.
“I had fun helping Doug and Jez right from the start in 1979. It was exciting and I had always supported Doug and didn’t dismiss his ambitions or ever tell him to ‘get a proper job’, which gave him the freedom to chase his dreams. Sounds a bit deep, but that’s just how it was. We were bringing up our son Ben, so I wasn’t able to give all my time to the band back then. However, I did run the fan club and was lucky enough to have babysitters who allowed me to sometimes go off with them to gigs etc and often we used to drag Ben along with us to daytime events. We were all very close at that time, and along with other friends, all the band members spent a lot of time at our home in Lewes.
“By 2009, when they permanently got back together, I didn’t have the family commitments I had in 1979, and because I had been around music for such a long time, we decided that I should give managing them a go.
“It was a steep learning curve, but I enjoyed it. So now currently my role has evolved into being involved in everything that they do.
“This time around it feels more like the beginnings where it was – and is now – a bit of a family thing, and everyone gets on and looks out for each other etc and we share the good times and the bad!
“I was lucky that because I was there from the beginning, I didn’t have as much to research as someone else may have had.
“I had my diaries from back then, and reading them, as well as chatting to people, brought back the memories. I basically took over our sitting room with diaries, scrap books, folders of memorabilia and photo albums spread all over the place.
“I had the idea of the three parts right from the beginning, and I think it helped me by concentrating on one part at a time.
“I contacted everyone I could who was around the band right from the beginnings to the present day. This included band members, roadies, managers, record company people, promoters, producers, friends and fans, contemporaries from other bands, actors, merch people, etc. These included Pete Waterman (his first silver disc was Poison Ivy by The Lambrettas), and some of the endorsements came from Neville Staple (from The Specials), Toyah, Mike Read, Chris Waddle and Dave Davies.”
“Although I kept the stories as much as possible in their own words, I did steer people as to what I wanted them to write about so I could fit the stories into the places I wanted them to be chronologically.
“Everyone I contacted was really helpful. Some emailed me their stories, others just chatted on the phone and I wrote down their memories.”
The book is a music biography laid out as a coffee table book.
“The Lambrettas are an English Mod revival band formed in Lewes. Named after the iconic Italian Lambretta scooter brand, the band were first active in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The book contains stories and memories from over 70 people and around 450 photos. I decided to put the book together as a light-hearted look at the lives and adventures of The Lambrettas over the past 42 years. Although not written as a serious biography, it covers a lot of what happened as it travels chronologically through the years.
“I think the book appeals as it is very easy reading and because there are so many stories from other people interspersed all the way through it breaks it up into bit-size chunks and there are photos enhancing just about every story. It also appeals to any music lover, but most specifically Mods as it covers everyone’s stories about the 1980s as well as now. I think what comes through is not just the love for music, but also the people. That is why I’ve said that the eras of part one and part three were more fun and happier. When you get on well with the people around you it makes you happier and therefore you produce better stuff.
“Also, in the latter years it has kept the longevity, I think. Since 2009 we have made friends with quite a few people who come to the gigs and this has been the biggest surprise and pleasure for us. Mods have their own little community and you see the same faces over and over at gigs and online, and we are lucky to be a part of that. As well as the Mods, we have made friends with most people wherever we go – other bands and the people around them, festivals, stage and sound people, promoters, photographers, and often just general.”