When you think of Mod music from the sixties that came out of Canada, The Modbeats are THE reference. They came out of the unlikely small city of St. Catharines, Ontario in the Niagara region. That didn't stop them from making a lasting impact on the thriving North American garage and psychedelic scene of that era.
Fraser Loveman, lead singer for The Modbeats, was not only in the midst of it all but also helped shape the landscape. He was there! This guy has seen it all! And he has a record collection of around 50 000 records to prove it!
The Modbeats LP came out in '67. On the cover, it boldly states "Mod is... The British Modbeats". So it was only natural that I would ask him what he viewed as Mod. He didn't start by reciting the usual "smart clothes, Italian scooter, Motown" rhetoric we usually reserve for people that are not part of the in-crowd. Instead, he gave a nuanced and insightful way of looking at things. "All of the music that the Mods attached themselves to was already here in North America. In England, they liked American music and here we liked British stuff. Today, people are living out what they think it was rather than what it was. The Modbeats during the sixties went way past the traditional Mod ethic and we expanded our look and sound."
|Rare photo of The Modbeats given to Fraser Loveman by Ian Sinclair|
|Fraser Loveman in his stunning white suit bought on Carnaby Street|
I have to admit that I never looked at it that way before and it does make sense. I think we sometimes idealize the way things were and the way things are somewhere else. It's true that in the sixties, North Americans were all about the British Invasion and at the same time, the English had a romanticized version of the American Soul scene. According to Fraser, Mod means "cutting edge, new and modern". It's hard to argue with that logic. His father, James Loveman, was The Modbeats manager. He certainly was a big influence on the band and had a reputation for being one of the few honest managers around. “Make a splash. Be flamboyant. Be different. Don’t fit in.” was the family motto.
|Joe Colonna, Greig Foster with James Loveman in the back|
Even if they never had a chance to record their own material, they had quite a reputation for being a band to see live. A 1967 Billboard article states: "The live performance was much louder than they sound on disk" and "[...] they are a highly professional outfit."
|Greig Foster in his fabulous suit from Carnaby Street|
|The Modbeats at The Castle in 1966|
|The Modbeats playing The Castle in 1966|
|Image artists roster circa 1966|
If you want to stay up to date with all The Modbeats activities, make sure to visit their Facebook page and their website.
The Modbeats Facebook page
|The Modbeats in 1965|
|The Modbeats in 1966|
To hear one of my favorite tracks from the LP, check out the link below and enjoy.
Somebody Help Me - The Modbeats
I want to thank Fraser Loveman for his generosity, kindness and for providing all the great photos seen in this post.