“The more you search, the more you will find.” Guided by this phrase I found Budgie!
Of course, what piqued my curiosity to find out who they are, was mainly their name, but also Metallica.
Specifically, the cover they did for the song “Breadfan” (1988).
But who are Budgie?
Let’s start from the beginning…
This is a band from Wales, founded in 1967. According to author Garry Sharpe-Young, they are probably one of the first Heavy Metal bands.
It is a band that has influenced important Metal names, as they themselves have mentioned from time to time.
Among them are: Iron Maiden, Metallica, Megadeth, Van Halen, Melvins, Queens of the Stone Age, Alice in Chains, and Soundgarden.
Their first appearance was under the name “Hills Contemporary Grass” and later as “Six Ton Budgie”.
But, as the singer and bassist of the band Burke Shelley mentioned, the pure Budgie was more ideal, as…
“We liked the idea of playing noisy heavy rock, but we called ourselves after something diametrically opposed to it.”
After they came up with the name and after several appearances, in 1968 comes their first demo.
Their first official album “Budgie”, full of noisy, hard Rock, but close enough to Blues, was recorded at Rockfield Studios by Black Sabbath producer Rodger Bain and released in 1971.
The second album in 1972 was entitled “Squawk” and the third was in 1973 “Never Turn Your Back on a Friend”.
Changes… Replacements… Recordings
As is often, compositional changes have begun, as have replacements.
Without, however, changes in their sound quality.
Their drummer Ray Philips, leaves shortly before the release of their fourth album “In for the Kill!”, which is replaced by Pete Boot.
Later in 1974, Boot left, Steve Williams came and released “Bandolier” in 1975.
For the promotion of this album, but also of the next “If I Were Brittania I’d Waive The Rules” (1976), another guitarist comes, Myf Isaac.
Their seventh album “Impeckable” was released in 1978, which we hear in the 1979 film “J-Men Forever”.
Both Isaac and original guitarist Tony Bourge left the band and are replaced by Robert Kendrick (ex-Trapeze) and Huw Lloyd-Langton (ex Hawkwind).
Langton’s stay was extremely short, but so was Kendrick with the second leaving 12 months later.
This time the replacement is the “Big” John Thomas, who came in late 1979.
This line-up records two new albums, “Power Supply” (1980) and “Nightflight” (1981).
In 1982 they signed to RCA for “Deliver Us from Evil” their last recording for a “big record company”.
The “new wave”
Rock (and therefore metal) is entering a new era in the late ’70s, with the sweeping “new wave” of British Heavy Metal.
Budgie are not affected, on the contrary, their success remains.
In fact, in 1980 they appeared as a support act at the Reading Festival and later as headliners of the same festival in 1982.
But their presence in 1981 on Ozzy Osbourne’s tour, “Blizzard of Ozz Tour”, is remarkable.
One of the most important moments of the band is in 1982 in Poland, where they become the first Heavy Metal band to appear behind “Iron Curtain“.
Just before the end…
Budgie stopped touring and recording in 1988.
However, several members occasionally appear with other bands, such as Thomas who played on the album “Phenomena” with Glenn Hughes.
In 1995 the band was reorganized, using a variety of drummers for some concerts, mainly at open-air festivals.
Between 2002 and 2006 they toured mainly in Britain and Europe, including the Sweden Rock Festival.
With a new album in their luggage in 2006, “You All Living in Cuckooland”, they start a 35-day tour in Britain.
In July 2007, Simon Lees announces his departure from the band.
Shortly after Lees left, Ronnie James Dio guitarist Craig Goldy accompanied Budgie on their first tour of Australia in 2008.
Unfortunately, the end is near. In November 2010, they were forced to cancel their European tour as Shelley was treated for an aortic aneurysm.
Williams announces on March 3, 2016, that their former guitarist John Thomas, died of pneumonia.
Parkinson’s hits Pete Boot, who passed away in February 2018.
What I do know is that as long as you are remembered, you remain successful and alive.
And that’s exactly what happened to Budgie…