The debut single ‘My Pal” by Melbourne youngsters GOD was released in 1987 on the Au-Go-Go label out of Melbourne.Written by the band’s vocalist Joel Silbersher when he was just 15 years old, it has since gained the reputation of a punk rock classic, and often referenced as a defining track in Australian underground music by critics and artists alike. Dinosaur Jr, on the final show of their recent Australian 2017 tour invited Joel Silbersher on stage to do a face melting rendition of the song.
The interesting thing about this track is that it predated what would later be refered to as Grunge. These young tear aways were the real deal which is what gives ‘My Pal’ it’s sense of authenticity. Critics love to lament over great teenage anthems but this is no Undertones or Buzzcocks tribute, it stands alone as a rollicking statement of isolation and angst, the kind of gem that only comes a long once in a while, luckily captured to wax to enjoy for prosperity.
The song revolves around a descending guitar riff, that stamps itself on your brain. The song lyrics whilst simple and minimal ‘you’re my only friend and you don’t even like me’ are confronting and relatable at the same time’ letting the listener have a peak into the dark side of the teenage psyche.
Legend has it the original single was financed by Joel’s parents, in fact copies of the original press run of 500 have his parents residential address on the back cover, something they were none to pleased about,hence the label staff used a marker to black out the house number (I’m lucky enough to have this release and can confirm it is in fact the case).
The single was both a blessing and curse for the band, whist they produced a follow-up LP, they never really repeated the success and acclaim of their debut release. Band members went onto to well-regarded projects including ‘Hoss’ and the ‘Powder Monkeys’. ‘My Pal’ remains as one of the greatest rock songs ever written, who would have though these ankle bitters from Melbourne would have been responsible.