He was Front Man of the Canadian rock band ‘The British Modbeats’
By Doug Draper
Posted April 13th, 2018 on Niagara At Large
In the last half of the 1960s when hippies and flower power were far more cool for many young people at the time than getting high marks in school, there was a rock band in Niagara that had the corner on groovy and cool.
That band was ‘The British Modbeats” (the name was a nod to the Beatles-led ‘British Invasion’ still dominating the music scene at that time) and for a few bright, shining in the late sixties it came closer than any other band in the Niagara region to joining Canadian groups like Steppenwolf and The Guess Who in rising to the top of the pops.
The Modbeats’ frontman and lead singer, Fraser Loveman, died earlier this April in his native St. Catharines. where the band had home base and broke out with a single, well received album of songs like ‘Somebody Help Me’ and ‘Sorrow’.
On the strength of that album and a catchy stage show, Loveman and his band mates got booked to some pretty impressive gigs, including one at Expo 67’, the site for Canada’s 100th birthday party in Montreal, and others with hot groups at the time s like the Byrds, with hits like ‘Turn, Turn, Turn’ and ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’, and Rick Derringer and the McCoys of ‘Hang on Sloopy fame. They were also getting quite a bit of air play on Canadian rock radio stations.
I remember seeing Loveman and the Modbeats performing as a warm-up group for The Rascals, a popular American band that was enjoying its second Number One hit, Groovin’, at the time, and was booked to do a big charity concert in Niagara way back in 1967 when that Modbeat album was released.
The Rascals already had a string of Billboard chart busters with song like ‘Good Lovin’ and ‘I’ve Been Lonely Too Long’, and what they were doing in Niagara between shows in New York City and Toronto, we didn’t know and possibly they didn’t either. But here they were, in a packed arena in Welland, and those of us who were lucky enough to get tickets couldn’t be happier as we watched the Modbeats winning more fans of their own as they warmed things up for them.‘
When the whole show was over, a friend of mine, Bob Thomas, who was a pretty good drummer, himself, managed to sneak backstage to meet one of his heroes, Rascals drummer Dino Danelli.
One of the first stories Bob told me when he got back was of Fraser Loveman’s father, beaming from ear to ear, as he went over to Dino and said; “You guys were really good. You’ll be as big as my son someday.”
We laughed about it at the time. Imagine, going up to a member of a band that had had already been on The Ed Sullivan Show twice and was enjoying their second Number One hit and saying something like that!
When I look back at it all these years later, Mr. Loveman probably grew up listening to Bing Crosby and big band music like my parents. Why should he have known who the Rascals were? He was being a proud dad, and rightfully so.
The Modbeats album, as far as I know, has been out of print for a very long time. I’ve had some dealers in used vinyl records tell me that anyone who is fortunate to still have a copy of it in good condition could possibly get more than $200 from the right buyer. So don’t put it out for a couple of bucks at a garage sale.
In later years, Fraser Loveman had another gig, teaching a course on the history of popular music at Niagara College. If I had known, I would have enrolled.
Thanks for all the good times, Fraser Loveman.
To find out more about The British Modbeats and to listen to some of the tracks on their 1967 album, click on – http://citizenfreak.com/titles/268811-british-modbeats-mod-is .
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