Budgie (band)

Budgie (band)
Background information
Origin Cardiff, Wales
Genres hard rock, heavy metal, progressive rock
Years active 1967-1988, 1995-present
Associated acts Tredegar
Website Official website
Burke Shelley
Steve Williams
Craig Goldy
Past members
Tony Bourge
Ray Phillips
Pete Boot
"Big" John Thomas
Simon Lees
Rob Kendrick
Andy Hart

Budgie is a Welsh Hard Rock/Heavy Metal band from Cardiff. They are widely considered as one of the first heavy metal bands and a seminal influence to many acts of that scene,[1] with fast, heavy rock (an influence on the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) and such acts as Metallica)[2] being played as early as 1971.[3] The band has been noted as "among the heaviest metal of its day".[4] Notable Budgie songs include "Breadfan", "Crash Course In Brain Surgery", "Parents", "I Turned To Stone" and "Napoleon Bona - Parts 1 & 2".



Budgie formed in 1967 in Cardiff, Wales under the name Hills Contemporary Grass. Their original line-up consisted of Burke Shelley (b. John Burke Shelley, 10 April 1947, Tiger Bay, Cardiff, South Glamorgan, Wales) on vocals and bass, Tony Bourge (b. Anthony James Bourge, 24 November 1948, Tiger Bay, Cardiff, South Glamorgan, South Wales) on guitar and vocals, and Ray Phillips (b. Raymond John Phillips, 1 March 1949, Ely, Cardiff, South Glamorgan, South Wales) on drums.[5] After performing several gigs in 1968, the band changed their name to Budgie the following year and recorded their first demo.[1] The band originally formed under such names as Hills Contemporary Grass and Six Ton Budgie.[6] Burke Shelley has said that the band's name came from the fact that he, "loved the idea of playing noisy, heavy rock, but calling ourselves after something diametrically opposed to that".[7]

Their debut album in strong blues oriented hard rock lines was recorded at Rockfield Studios with Black Sabbath producer Rodger Bain[8] and released in 1971, followed by Squawk in 1972. The third album, Never Turn Your Back On a Friend (1973), contained "Breadfan", which was covered by Metallica in 1988, the band having covered another Budgie song, "Crash Course In Brain Surgery" earlier in their career. Ray Philips left the band before the fourth album In for the Kill was recorded and was replaced by Pete Boot (b. Peter Charles Boot, 30 September 1950, West Bromwich, Staffordshire).[9]

In late 1974, the band were joined by drummer Steve Williams for the album Bandolier, for live shows promoting this album and the follow-up, 'If I Were Brittania I'd Waive the Rules', the band were augmented by Welsh guitarist Myf Isaac, but both Bourge and Isaac left mid 1978 and were replaced by ex Trapeze guitarist Robert Kendrick. Music from the 1978 LP Impeckable was featured in the 1979 film J-Men Forever (shown frequently on the USA Network's "Night Flight" television series in the 1980s) which is now a cult classic. In late 1978, having been dropped by A&M and with no new recording contract, this line up floundered, and after 12 months Kendrick was replaced by "Big" John Thomas (b. 21 February 1952) in late 1979. This line up recorded two albums for Kingsley Wards 'Active' label: 'Power Supply' and 'Nightflight'. 1982 saw them signed to RCA for 'Deliver us From Evil' their final recording for a 'major label'.

The band continued to have success during the New Wave of British Heavy Metal scene, playing the Reading Festival in 1980 and then headlining the festival in 1982.[10] They built a particular following in Poland,[citation needed] where they played as the first heavy metal band behind the Iron Curtain, in 1982. Also notable was their tour support of Ozzy Osbourne's Blizzard of Ozz Tour.[11]

The band stopped gigging in 1988, members went into studio production, occasionally guesting on other projects; Thomas most notably worked on the Phenomena CD with Glenn Hughes[12][13] out of the Black Sabbath studios.

Although the group has had very little commercial success in America, they have enjoyed a strong fan following in Texas[14] and they have been known to receive radio airplay from Joe Anthony and Lou Roney on KMAC/KISS radio in San Antonio in the 1970s,[15] the band reformed using various drummers for one-off gigs in 1995, 1996 for outdoor festivals 'La Semana Alegre' in San Antonio, Texas. They toured in 2002-6, mostly in the United Kingdom, the NYC/NJ area, Dallas, and with a few shows in Europe including the Sweden Rock Festival and a return to post-Communist Poland. In 1999 the band reunited in Letchworth and officially reformed.

In 2006 Budgie undertook a thirty five date United Kingdom tour and a new album, titled You're All Living In Cuckooland, was released in the UK on 7 November that year. In 2007 they played dates in Sweden and Poland.

On 4 July 2007 Lees announced his departure from the band to concentrate on his teaching and solo career.

Following the departure of Lees, Dio lead guitarist and songwriter Craig Goldy offered his services while Ronnie James Dio was completing commitments with Heaven & Hell on their World Tour.

In February 2008 Craig Goldy accompanied Budgie on their first tour of Australia and has continued playing with Budgie as 'guest guitarist' for all of their shows.

Budgie's November 2010 tour of Eastern Europe had to be cancelled as Shelley was hospitalised on 9 November in Wejherowo, Poland, with a 6 cm aortic aneurism. After surgery, he returned to Britain for recovery, but no decision of the future of the band has been made. [16]

Band members

Current members

Past members

  • Pete Boot – drums (1974-1988)
  • Tony Bourge – guitars (1967–1978)
  • Andy Hart – guitars (2002-2003)
  • Simon Lees – guitars (2003)
  • Rob Kendrick – guitars, backing vocals (1978-1979)
  • Ray Phillips – drums (1967–1974)
  • "Big" John Thomas – guitars (1979-1988)


Studio albums

Year Album
1971 Budgie
1972 Squawk
1973 Never Turn Your Back on a Friend
1974 In For The Kill
1975 Bandolier
1976 If I Were Brittania I'd Waive the Rules
1978 Impeckable
1980 Power Supply
1981 Nightflight
1982 Deliver Us From Evil
2006 You're All Living in Cuckooland

Live albums

Year Album
1998 Heavier Than Air - Rarest Eggs
(live compilation of 1972-1981 material)
We Came, We Saw...
(live compilation of 1980-1982 material)
2002 Life in San Antonio
2005 Radio Sessions 1974 & 1978
(double album)
2006 The BBC Recordings
(live compilation of 1972-1982 material)

Compilation albums

Year Album
1975 Best of Budgie
1981 Best of Budgie
1996 An Ecstasy of Fumbling - The Definitive Anthology
1997 Best of Budgie
2004 The Last Stage

Miscellaneous albums

  • Tredegar (1986) - A release by the band Tredegar, featuring Tony Bourge and Ray Phillips
  • Six Ton Budgie - Unplucked (1995) - drummer Ray Phillips' band
  • Six Ton Budgie - Ornithology v.1 (1996) - drummer Ray Phillips' band
  • The Extreem - From Out Of The Sky (1999) - pre-Budgie late 60's efforts, Japan only CD
  • Budgie And Beyond (1999) - 80's solo works, out-takes, unreleased demos ~ Australian Fan Club "Sabre Dance" release on VSC label (Gold CD)
  • Booty's B-Sides (2003) - Boot 66 with ex-Budgie Pete Boot and various artists
  • The Battle of My Mind (2006) - Pete Boot with Andy Colley (guitar)


Singles (UK-exclusive unless stated otherwise)

  • "Crash Course In Brain Surgery" / "Nude Disintegrating Parachutist Woman" (1971, MCA MK 5072)
  • "Whiskey River" / "Guts" (1972, MCA MK 5085)
  • "Whiskey River" / "Stranded" (1972, MCA 2185) - US-exclusive release
  • "Zoom Club (Edit)" / "Wondering What Everyone Knows" (1974, MCA 133)
  • "I Ain't No Mountain" / "Honey" (1975, MCA 175)
  • "Smile Boy Smile" / "All at Sea" (1978, A&M AMS 7342)
  • "Crime Against the World" / "Hellbender" (1980, Active BUDGE 2)
  • "Keeping a Rendezvous" / "Apparatus" (1981, RCA BUDGE 3)
  • "I Turned To Stone (Part 1)" / "I Turned To Stone (Part 2)" (1981, RCA BUDGE 4)
  • "Bored With Russia" / "Don't Cry" (1982, RCA 271)


  • The New Musical Express Book of Rock, 1975, Star Books, ISBN 0 352 300744
  • Sharpe-Young, Garry (2007). Metal: The Definitive Guide. London: Jawbone Press. ISBN 9781906002015 
  • Crocker, Chris (1993). Metallica: The Frayed Ends of Metal. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0312086350. 


External links

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