The back cover of Melbourne-based punk band GOD’s 1987 single ‘My Pal.’
First things first. Yes, a band actually had the balls to name themselves GOD. Although historically they are not the only band to ever do so in the name of punk or rock and roll, they weren’t calling themselves the Godz or something like that, but GOD. The difference might be subtle, but it’s there.
Aside from their cheeky name, the Melbourne-based group GOD had a short but impactful history in the Australian music scene. Though they are generally characterized as a punk band, some musical historians credit GOD for one of the earliest cultivations of grungy sounding grooves that did not originate from the Pacific Northwest area back in the late 80s.
So who exactly were this GOD? Well, they were kids, teenagers quite literally, when they got their first taste of success. Vocalist/guitarist Joel Silbersher was only fifteen when he penned “My Pal” and bass player/guitarist Sean Greenway was the oldest member of the band at the ripe old age of seventeen. In fact when it came time for GOD to sign with Au Go Go Records in Melbourne the details of the contract were negotiated by their parents on their behalf. When the single hit the stores it even included Silbersher’s home address which was noted to be the address to send fan letters to the “GOD Army” (pictured at the top of this post.) That probably made things very weird, and also pretty great back when “My Pal” was the go-to song for punk youth in Australia back in 1987. Because who doesn’t want a legion of female groupies and fans camping out on your lawn when you’re just fifteen? The answer to that question is no one, because everyone does. End of story.
GOD’s first album, Rock is Hell would come out a year later in 1988 and for some strange reason did not include “My Pal.” What it does include are a bunch of kooky-titled songs like “Tommy the Toilet” (remember these are teenage boys we’re talking about), “Worm Sweat,” and “Rok Zombi.” Despite the juvenile naming conventions I just mentioned, Rock is Hell is actually a pretty great, super fuzzy listen. There is also pretty much no doubt that the boys from down under were channeling the emerging grunge sounds of Seattle and the PNW that ring clear in the songs posted below. Sadly, they would disband shortly before the release of their second and final record, 1989’s For Lovers Only which, while different sounding from their debut, really isn’t half bad either. I’ve included fantastic live footage of the band performing “My Pal” and a few other songs from both albums, as well as an adorable interview with GOD from 1988 where they talk about adjusting to their new-found fame in which vocalist Joel Silbersher is still wearing his braces. Awww.
See GOD performing “My Pal” live (and much more) after the jump…