On the second day of our road trip, we woke up in Ste-Catherines, Ontario. A quick stop at the I-Hop and a short hop over a bridge and we were in Niagara Falls. My partner in crime Ben and I were pretty excited to go pay a visit to a true pioneer of the 60s Canadian rock scene, Fraser Loveman, lead singer of The Modbeats. You can read an interview I did with him here.
He had extended an invitation to us into his psychedelic lair full of treasures. Talk about an impressive collection of music! He has amassed, over the years, over 20 000 records all neatly organized. Once the initial shock subsided, I told Ben to pull out a 45 at random and see what we would end up with. Low and behold, he pulled out a Canadian pressing of The High Numbers’ I’m the Face. What are the chances of that happening?
Ben had asked, in a previous conversation, if he had the uber rare 45 from the obscure Canadian 60s Garage group Underworld. Ben had only heard of it and had never seen an actual copy. Of course, Fraser had one. Just seeing DJ Papa Bill mesmerized and salivating over this 7” piece of vinyl had me laughing for 10 minutes, especially when Fraser called him a “poor, sad, little man.”
In fact, laughing is almost the only thing I did for the following 4 hours or so. Just listening to the banter between Fraser and Ben was the most entertaining thing I have heard in a long time. If I wasn’t laughing, my jaw was usually dropped. Fraser showed us some color footage of his band in the early 60s, all dressed in full Mod gear. The go-go dancers, shaking their tasseled mini-dresses perched up high, had me hypnotized. It was IN-CRE-DI-BLE! This was some rare piece of Canadian Mod history I had just witnessed.
|The Modbeats circa 1965|
|One of the lovely Go-Go dancers seen in the video|
Speaking of authentic 60s Mod fashion, Fraser showed me a stunning bespoke olive colored suit he had made back in the day. The slim fit jacket had some great period details like the Mandarin collar (also known as a Nehru collar) and the covered buttons. It was now my turn to be made fun of for being in awe in front a piece of clothing.
|Tapered leg with frogmouth pocket|
Fraser was a tremendously generous host. Aside from a towering pile of records (two of them being signed copies of his 45s) and a couple of magazines, I left with two great items of clothing from The Modbeat’s past. First was a great 60s leather cap that was sometimes known as a Beatle’s cap.
Next was this cool blue Arrow shirt with contrasting white Mandarin collar. Aside from the fact that I love genuine 60s clothes, especially smart shirts with a contrasting collar, we really bust the coolness scale when you think that this was worn by Fraser himself. I think it’s safe to say that this will stay in my collection.
I not only got to see some incredible memorabilia from the past decades but we got to listen to some amazing music as well. One of the highlights for me was when Fraser pulled out a 3-track test pressing of The Modbeats album. You want to talk rare my friends? The first two demos sounded familiar and eventually made it on the album but the last song was a cover of Walking The Dog.
How that song never got released, I have no idea. We also listened to Fraser’s audition tape that was made for Motown. It’s a shame that young white Canadians were not in huge demand at Hitsville.
I knew us meeting Fraser was going to happen eventually. What I didn’t expect was how hard I was going to laugh and how time would fly by so quickly. This is all thanks to a witty, sarcastic, funny and warm individual. Hope to see you again soon Fraser!