The Village S.T.O.P. began as a specialty in the Hamiton area garage genre in the mid ’60s by guitarist Paul Marcoux and brothers Nick and Steve Urech on bass and guitar. They added Jim Hall on drums and the lads soon went from playing the YWCA on Saturday nights to the local high school dances.
Along with other local favourites like Mara Loves, Old Sailor, and Vehicle, they were regulars at the Camel Stop, and old converted movie theatre in Stoney Creek that was among the region’s hot spots. As the members got older, they were booked in Toronto while they experimented with their image and sound. Covering King Crimson, Hendrix, and Cream, they wore makeup and bell bottoms while figuring out all the kewl pedal effects at their disposal. Flourescent paint and strobe lights were all the rage, and they set out to be Canada’s first psychadelic rock band. Along with the acid rock as the backdrop, they made waves with the visual show, doing Zappa and Butterfly covers in the bars throughout the GTA.
Throughout 1968, they made two trips to New York, sharing stages with the likes of Booker T & The MGs in Greenwich Village, Rick Derringer, and The Box Tops, among others. They were becoming one of the wildest live acts on the circuit, and regularly did a ‘freak out’ section in their show, where they’d play naked except for flourescent body paints.
All gimmicks aside, the band was tightening up and had even written some material. In early ’69, Fraser Loveman (ex of British Modbeats) came on the board as the new frontman. Losing the mop top, he was looking to reinvent his career, far removed away from the Hermits, Pacemakers, and the like. Now he was doing a Hendrix meets Zappa show, and his theatre background lent itself perfectly to his new medium.
The band’s stock continued to rise, they signed a deal with Ruby Records later that year, and cut the single “North Country” b/w “Vibration” both written by the group. In all their trippiness, they failed to make a dent on CHUM’s chart, though some have argued over the decades that was partially due to lack of Canadian content regulations at the time.
Following another series of shows up and down the East Coast, the band dissolved before the end of the year. Loveman and Marcoux continued to work together, in the Fraser Loveman Group with ex-Rain and The Kidds personnel. When that fell apart, Loveman also did some theatre work in Hair and Annie Get Your Guns, before getting out of the business all together. He died in 2018.
The rest of the band meanwhile morphed into Crocodile, and signed a production deal with Kasenetz & Katz in Los Angeles. But although that deal fell through, the Urech brothers ended up joining the Kasenetz-Katz Super Circus for awhile, who were big for their version in the early ’70s of “Quick Joey Small.”
A bit of new life was breathed into the band’s legacy in the late ’90s, when “Vibration” (which was actually supposed to have been the a-side on their only 45 in ’69, except for a screw up at the press) found its way onto a bootleg compilation album called WORLD OF ACID.