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The Greenback Blues
Label: Off The Hip (Australia)
Catalogue No: (OTH7013)
Format: CD (jewel case)
Released: August 2004
Asteroid B-612 - The Greenback Blues
Also from Asteroid B-612:  Not Meant For This World   Associated Releases:  Johnny Casino: Various
The liner notes by The Cosmic Commander (erstwhile Asteroids associate and sometime Johnny Casino collaborator) pull no punches. They plough the bloody fields of the band's acrimonious 1996 US tour, in which guitarist Stewart 'Leadfinger' Cunningham became irretrievably estranged from the rest of the band. It was a bitter falling out to say the least, and that line-up of the Asteroids has never played again.   (continued below)
Tracklisting: (37:22 m:s)
  1. Intro (Duncan / Cosmic Commander) (0:33 m:s)
  2. You Always Got Something To Lose (Spittles / McIver / Cunningham) (3:08 m:s)
  3. Not Meant For This World (Cunningham) (2:21 m:s)
  4. Edge A Little Closer (Cunningham / Asteroid B-612) (3:03 m:s)
  5. Can I Touch It (Spittles / McIver) (3:20 m:s)
  6. All This And More (Zero) (2:37 m:s)
  7. Straight Back To You (Spittles / McIver / Cunningham) (3:26 m:s)
  8. True Romance (Cunningham) (4:30 m:s)
  9. I've Had You (Spittles / McIver) (5:20 m:s)
  10. Down On The Street (Stooges) (5:58 m:s)
  11. Danny's Sister (Spittles / McIver) (3:10 m:s)
Continued ...
I wasn't there and won't take sides now (I like both Leadfinger and Johnny) because it doesn't matter. This was EIGHT YEARS AGO, for chrissakes. So what's achieved by airing it all again? Lines like "Stewart was just flat out being a fuckwit - no need to go into it now" are a complete joke when three-quarters of the liner notes are spent doing just that. The comments are just plain graceless and reek of a get-square that does the author no credit. It's disappointing, because the focus should be on the music. So let's go there.

If this was a band tearing itself apart it's not apparent from the performance, put to tape for a broadcast for New Jersey radio station WFMU towards the tail end of the tour. The liner notes laughably tag the gig as "a disaster", no less. (So why's the band releasing it?) This is pure, killer rock and roll with a few of the 11 cuts achieving more grunt than their paler album versions.

Straight Back To You sounds like the Oz radio hit it should have been, the peerless engine room of Scotty Nash and Ben Fox elicit both rock and roll, while the guitarists trade some stinging licks. Their tone is magic and they wreak a storm of pealing leads in Can I Touch It? that sound more like a forerunner to an air attack by F-18As than a band imploding. Bullett is typically gritty in the vocals department, albeit restrained in the between-song patter, which makes the tension evident. Elements of the band might have wanted to kill each other but that anger was obviously an energy when the count-in began. Covers of the Dead Boys' All This and More and the Stooges' Down on the Street sit well with the originals (the latter with some improvisational ivories-tickling by someone, presumably John Spittles).

Live was (and still is) the best place to experience Asteroid B612. (And I wish I'd caught more of the various line-ups over the years). So here's a tip: The current four-piece plays only sporadically, but a better night of soulful, no bullshit, genuine guitar rock you won't experience in Sydney).

The only sadder thing than the liner notes is the fact that that this band didn't break worldwide. Global domination looks even less likely these days, but I hope they at least have another album in 'em. C'est la vie. Buy this one for the music.