There is a live clip floating around online of Greenback High pulling off a great cover of Belgian punkers The Kids’ 1978 song “I Wanna Get a Job in the City”. It’s a rip-roaring cover that should give untrained ears a good idea of the force with which this local four piece have behind them. Their sound is rough around the edges but tight in the right places, taking cues from the Replacements, The Clash, Stiff Little Fingers and other old-school favourites. Without encroaching into over-seriousness their lyrical output borders on tales of life in the crunch, political kicking against the pricks and of course, having a good ol’ time.
A bit of melodic punk, rock ‘n’ roll, and an honest love for playing music, Greenback High have at times been forced to the side burner during their history. “We’ve been together for over two years but it still kind of feels like a new band sometimes,” bassist Rob Beardo shares. “When we first started it wasn’t always easy to get all of us together for shows or practice because of our other commitments.”
These commitments came in the form of several other bands members were and still are currently active in. While Beardo also does time in The Vicious Cycles, former guitarist Matt Snakes and current member Josh Atomic play in The Jolts, and FloorTom Jones has been with DOA for a couple of years. But this is just the beginning of the lineup story.
Last year, Greenback High entered into SHiNDiG, in what Beardo passes off with a laugh as “just a whim.” Well, that whim turned into a first and second round win, which earned them a second placement overall, but not without some shuffling of band members while getting there. “Matt had to leave the band after we won the first round,” says Beardo. “Because (drummer) Jones could sing and knew the material, he took on guitar. We also had a friend who’d done recording for us and was a drummer as well, so JJ Heathen was a natural fit.”
With this lineup the band played, and won, the second round. Then Heathen broke his foot and face by falling off of a ladder, which took him out of action and put Jones back on drums, leaving the band a three-piece. All said, they managed to place second and won some studio time for their troubles, which they were perfectly happy with. “We were just surprised to get as far as we did and are happy to have gotten free studio time, which will be at Vogville Studios in Port Coquitlam,” he says.
All of this as well as some sweet spots sharing the stage with DOA, The Pointed Sticks on their farewell tour and contributing tracks to the upcoming Shake! Records and Devon Clifford benefit compilation called The Party Lives On, it appears that things are coming up roses in the Greenback High camp. Also, along with tracks that will be recorded at Vogville over the next few weeks the band is stoked to be releasing their vinyl seven-inch for “Bombs Away” alongside Slow Learners on March 1st at the Astoria. Rob shares in closing, “I’m kind of glad things have turned out the way they have. This band is fun and even though there’s a lot of other stuff going on for all of us, like Jones having to finish up the final DOA shows and stuff, it still feels like this band is building steam. But whatever the case, I just love playing music and working hard.”
Indeed, working hard for the love of it is really all there is, and the only way forward.
The EP and 7-inch Bombs Away b/w All Of Us Or None releases March 1 at the Astoria Pub, available locally at Red Cat, Zulu, Neptoon, Dandelion, Zoo Zhop and Audiopile.
By Nathan Pike
Photo: Skinny Tim