Who Is Groovy Bob Fraser?

February 1, 2013

Who Is Groovy Bob Fraser?
R.E. Prindle

While writing my biographies of Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull it has become apparent that some persons seemingly peripheral are more central to the story than one may at first have thought. One of these is the art dealer, Robert Fraser or Groovy Bob as he was known.

However, behind the scenes underlying all the action are the two Kray Twins, Ronnie and Reggie. As with underworld figures in the US little is going to happen in which their presence is completely absent. Ronnie and Reggie were two Jewish homosexuals. They thus had as much protection as Jews can provide for their own. On the homosexual front the Krays were procurers of young boys for members of the above ground establishment, men prominent not only in government but in the music business.

At the same time the brothers owned, or possibly fronted, prominent gambling establishments, thus people like Fraser and Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein who gambled heavily losing large sums came under their influence or control. Robert Fraser and the Krays thus became intimately connected.

Now, what about Robert Fraser? Fraser is the link between many participants in the 60’s drama. He befriended Richards, Jagger and Faithfull. He was close to Paul McCartney of the Beatles, who is somewhat of a mysterious figure in the drama, as well as being familiar with their manager Brian Epstein among many others of the rock musicians. And then he was linked with artist/film maker, David Cammell as well as arch Satanist, Kenneth Anger, and the main American link to these people, Andy Warhol. He brought Tony Sanchez to the Stones as well as the rock community while Sanchez was his link to the Kray brothers. Fraser’s friend Chris Gibbs is a shadowy eminence grise of this situation. So far, I’ve gotten little other than he was and is an antiques dealer who helped establish the Bohemian tastes a la Oscar Wilde of the rockers.

Fraser himself came from a moneyed family who financed his ventures. He was a public school boy, Eton. He served in the African Rifles in Uganda. There, as a homosexual he says he buggered a young Idi Amin. I have no doubts. Returning from the African happy hunting grounds he promptly left for the even happier hunting grounds of New York City, the sybaritic capitol of the world. There he soaked up the art scene where he learned the ins and outs of being a gallery director. He was in New York during the seminal years from 1960-62 just as the pop art scene was taking off. There he met Andy Warhol who would be the outstanding pop artist. As they were both homosexuals and revolutionaries they bonded.

Fraser, Warhol, Epstein, Gibbs, the Kray Twins and most of the cast were all homosexuals. Jagger was at least ambiguous so sexual lines blurred and those who may not have been homosexual by nature may have found it convenient to act like one. Certainly after Stonewall in 1969 the music scene became predominantly gay.

There are pictures and videos of Fraser on the internet so that we can gauge his appearance and manner. His manner was very engaging and while fey, not exceptionally so. He wasn’t camp, at least not in public.

What exactly his role in the scene was is less than clear. While apparently an excellent pop art gallerist his role among rock musicians while prominent is not clear. He frequently had large parties in his apartment attended by the cream of the rock community. Of course he sold them art work but perhaps through his drug connection Tony Sanchez he also dealt on the side to augment his income. Drugs were always prominent at his parties. Paul McCartney bought many artworks from Fraser which all appreciated significantly although Fraser is accused of overcharging. But then, why not, a collector always thinks he’s being overcharged as he buys one of a kind items.

Perhaps also Fraser was indoctrinating the musicians in tolerance for gays and other political matters. Perhaps he was seeking homosexual alliances from among these yobbos. Certainly after Stonewall it seemed that everyone in rock was fruity. It was then that Rock and Roll began to lose its appeal. When the homosexuality became so obvious rock declined in interest to non-gays leading it further into a gay audience that augmented by the evolution into all-gay Disco. YMCA and all that, and then the end.

Whatever his political intent the goals were subverted by personal defects. Of course drugs will reduce your effectiveness by a little more than somewhat, but gambling and its resultant debts were much more deleterious of personal autonomy. While gambling has never been mentioned in connection with the rockers one wonders whether McCartney and others didn’t become involved.

Now, the record business in both the US and Britain was in the hands of homosexual Jews. The British groups, especially the Beatles and the Stones were god’s gift to his Chosen People. Between the Beatles and the Stones probably a billion dollars was generated in just four or five years including ongoing royalties and residuals. The entire billion was siphoned off by the Jews in both the US and Britain with only tip money going to the musicians.

Brian Epstein was the chief beneficiary. It was perhaps through his gambling debts, described as enormous, that the extent of the cash being generated by the Beatles came to the attention of the Kray brothers. Epstein apparently lost and owed a fortune to them. The only way he had to pay his debts was the Beatles which with his contract expiring in 1967 he was afraid he would be dismissed leaving him without that extraordinary income.

The Krays conceived the idea of taking over the Beatles from Epstein. At this time Robert Fraser had gambling debts with the Krays for which he had no available resources. The Krays put the squeeze on him. Fraser didn’t know what to do but he did know a man about the scene named Tony Sanchez, the Spaniard in the works, who did. Sanchez was nicknamed Spanish Tony. He would soon figure in as Keith Richards’ factotum and bodyguard. Spanish Tony is an interesting character meriting much more serious attention. As a connection between the underworld and the above world one would like to know more about his associates both under and above. He certainly used his underworld persona to threaten Marianne Faithfull into bed.

At any rate Sanchez told Fraser that he had underworld connections and might be able to resolve Fraser’s problem for him. As usual with Fraser he only fed Sanchez half-truths and when Tony contacted the Krays he got the other side of the story. Bear in mind that the Krays were crazy. They were pimping boys from the orphanage to social figures of the status of former Prime Minister Edward Heath. I mean, the moral state of the British upper class was beyond questionable. I would like to hear what the boys who were so used have to say now that they are men. Where are those memoirs anyway?

The Krays showed Sanchez a pile of Fraser’s bounced checks they had received which made Tony reconsider his position. Whatever bargaining chips he may have had were nullified. However the Krays had a proposition. Conversant with all the gambling characters they thought that Fraser might have some influence on Epstein so that if Fraser could arrange the transfer of the Beatles to themselves they would forgive Fraser’s debt. Who wouldn’t?

Negotiations and time dragged on and 1967 appeared at the top of the calendar with nothing accomplished, no debts settled. 1967. A big year in our story. That was the year that Brian Epstein supposedly committed suicide, the year his contract with the Beatles expired. We know for certain he left this sportin’ life. And 1967 was the year of the Redlands bust in which Fraser went to prison.

Sanchez gives conflicting stories of what took place. In his published memoir Up And Down With The Rolling Stones of 1979 he says the Krays amiably reduced the amount owed by Fraser and Groovy Bob gave them a good check for it. Problem solved. Tony says in his memoir.

Improbable as that seems, a missing chapter of Tony’s book has surfaced. Apparently many of his revelations were deemed too controversial and deleted. In this missing chapter Tony says that Fraser, unable to deliver the Beatles, set up the drug bust at Redlands in order to go to jail where for some strange reason he thought that he would be beyond the reach of the Krays.

In any event he didn’t seem to resent going to prison. Shortly after he was released from prison the Krays were arrested in May of 1968 while being sentenced to life on 3/5/69.

Presumably Robert Fraser escaped payment of the debt, however with the stigma of a jailbird his career as a gallery operator drew to a close after his release. He ended his life as a casualty of AIDs in 1986.

In his prime one wonders what he was doing. He seems to have been closely connected to Warhol and his crew. Andy himself seems to have been the center of what appears to be a political conspiracy. On their trip to Paris they made a Bee line to visit Fraser. So there is probably a strong political bent to Fraser’s activities.

Much more research is needed on Groovy Bob as well as his underworld connection Spanish Tony Sanchez.

10 Responses to “Who Is Groovy Bob Fraser?”

  1. dizzydezy Says:

    Have you Looked into the indica gallery/bookstore crowd that was surfacing at this time? Frasier was a part of that scene, as was Peter Asher, Paul McCartney, John Dunbar and Barry miles (Miles is a top Paul McCartney biographer). John Dunbar was dating and living with Marianne Faithful at the time. Some very interesting happenings going on there.
    I believe the International Times paper also came out of this venture.

    • dizzydezy Says:

      and, pardon my ignorance, but what is the source of that “lost chapter”? I have only been able to find it online- is there any sort of published, authentic citation for this writing? Where did it come from? I notice it is credited to “Antiphony” who is that?

      • reprindle Says:

        I have never sought the source. I’m unclear why the site is call Anti-phony. I don’t knew who the phony would be in this case. I don’t believe it is a lost chapter. I think it was probably written by someone who had studied or perhaps an inside source that wanted to get his story out.

        If Tony were still alive, hiding in Spain, he may possibly have done so himself; that’s just a wild guess though. The piece doesn’t read like a chapter as it covers two much ground to make its point, much more of an independent essay.

        Possibly it was by the publisher John Blake. Best guess from my point of view. Who else would have known Tony so intimately while having access to inside information. Perhaps Mick or Keith had it written.

        Now that you’ve piqued my curiosity I’ll have to analyze the text to see from whence the author is writing.

        By the way, I’m studying your doubles piece on McCartney. The Letterman interview is intriguing. The double? ‘You’re looking at him.’ I don’t think it’s possible, but then….

        • dizzydezy Says:

          It is quite possible that there are in fact- two Paul mccartneys’. I am not going to bet my house on it- but it is a good possibility.
          … And why the hell not? He is basically the king of the world you know- 🙂 just ask him.

          • reprindle Says:

            I have to ingest your essay. My initial feeling is that it is probably psychological. It will take a little to move me from that position but my mind isn’t set.

            I am especially intrigued by the icons that Paul drew or had drawn. Russian icons is probably something he learned at the Asher’s but not necessarily. He definitely seems to playing with at least sainthood. Perhaps there was a quarrel between he and John as to who was the real Jesus. Broke up the Beatles. 🙂

            His remarkable transformation from yobbo rolling drunk sailors in Hamburg to the exalted position of being a Beatle and writer of Yesterday and other hits, note his reference to being a hitmaker with Letterman, could turn anybody’s head.

            Are you in London Diz? Dylan himself feels above ordinary humanity as he thinks he was ‘transfigured.’ Why shouldn’t McCartney? I’m sure Jagger feels himself quite the genius.

            So, in that situation how does the Liverpool McCartney relate to the Beatles McCartney? Obviously two different people with the McCartney on Letterman being the double of Liverpool Paul. That’s what Paul said: You’re looking at the double.

            Not conclusive but that’s the way I’m leaning now although there are a number of things that have to be explained. You’re opening my eyes, Diz.

    • reprindle Says:

      All these people were associated. I consider Dunbar an ass who only came to any prominence through Marianne. Objectionable character as I see him. The Indica was next door to the St. James club too. Insider’s club.

  2. reprindle Says:

    PS: Check out the Who Is Mick Jagger essay. You might find it interesting.

  3. Heather O'Brien Says:

    Hello, Mr. Prindle,

    My name is Heather O’Brien. I wanted to reach out to you to let you know how much I appreciate your thoughtful writing and analysis regarding certain Beatles/Krays subjects on your I,Dynamo blog. During some exhaustive research on my current novel, I stumbled upon your work. Since then, I have saved, printed, read, highlighted, and re-read many of your articles.

    Your work on these topics has enhanced my own research into what I consider some delicate topics. Although I write fiction, these particular topics are crucial to my current work. So much so, I plan to include you in the Acknowledgment section of this book when it is published. I just wanted to reach out and let you know.

    Thank you again for the time you have put into your research. Of course, I am reading or have already read many of the same books you review. It’s your analysis and supposition I find fascinating – mainly because (years ago), I had come up with certain plotlines in my story that needed to connect. Your fuller knowledge and willingness to speculate has aided me in no small measure.

    Thank you again.

    P.S. This is the email I tried to send by guessing (incorrectly) your email address. While I did not want to necessarily make this communication public, I can’t find another way to contact you. So for what it’s worth, here it is. And thanks again.

    • reprindle Says:

      Thank you for the lovely tribute and the potential acknowledgement in your book. There are many ways to fictionalize elements of all these careers inventing our own characters, for instance, my essay A Fantasia On John Lennon In Leather, in which the leading character was Brian Epstein. I thought it was an interesting approach and not improbable. The email address I use most often is dugwarbaby@yahoo.com or if you’re in England REPrindle@hotmail.co.uk. Thanks again.

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