Band Budgie

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Budgie are a Welsh hard rock/heavy metal band from Cardiff. They are described by author Gary Sharpe-Young as one of the earliest heavy metal bands and a seminal influence to many acts of that scene, with fast, heavy rock (an influence on the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) and acts such as Metallica and Cirith Ungol) being played as early as 1971. The band has been noted as “among the heaviest metal of its day”.

Cirith Ungol has done a few covers of them.

I haven't posted in a while been very busy with the band. I have always been a big fan of Budgie as they are one of the…

Slået op af Robert GarvenOnsdag den 29. januar 2020

 

In Pecking Order is second book of total three books. Send an email if you eventually buy one of these:

  • Chris.PIkenz@gmail.com (Rest In Peace, Sep 2021)
  • fish_flower@paradise.net.nz
  • sixtonbudgie@yahoo.com

Perry Grayson, Feb. 16th, 2009 at 3:33 PM

[As this piece belongs to me and Metal Maniacs will no doubt be taking it down from their site within the next few days/weeks, I’m posting it here for your reading pleasure. Heavy Rockin’ Raw! -PG]

Budgie – “If You See the Sign of a Riffing Bird”
By Perry Grayson
Text and Photos © Copyright 2008 by Perry Grayson

Budgie: An unlikely name for the most powerful heavy rock band to come
out of Cardiff, Wales. A product of the late-1960s bluesy psychedelic
explosion, Budgie main-man Burke Shelley (bass/vocals) was an
innovative forerunner of the proto-metal movement that began to peak
with Led Zeppelin’s first disc, Blue Cheer’s Vincebus Eruptum (1968)
and Black Sabbath’s eponymous 1970 LP.

Though not quite as widely recognized as Zeppelin or Sabbath, Budgie have remained a constant on the scene since those bygone days of fuzz pedals and fuzzier sideburns. They have stuck it out through every imaginable music trend and survived virtually unscathed with their own potent blend of balls-to-the wall riffs, dynamic changes and emotionally-charged mellow shades.

Two decades after I first discovered Budgie I managed to track them down for a chat and a chance to catch them live in top form. Budgie recently barnstormed through Australia for the very first time with guest guitarist Craig Goldy (Dio) along for the ride, leaving sore necks and thrilled sweaty bodies in their wake. I worried about missing out on the wealth of gigs Southern California had to offer when I left LA in 2006, but through the good fortune of my recent move to Sydney the squawking riffmeisters brought their no-nonsense rock straight to me. Previously I’d considered flying to Texas to see one of their infrequent US dates. “Texas was a rock capitol back then with ZZ Top and so forth,” Burke notes. We chimed in together, noting that British power trio Trapeze — Glenn Hughes pre-Deep Purple, Mel Galley pre-Whitesnake and Dave Holland pre-Judas Priest — first broke in Texas. “It might still be the same, but in those days they were very big on rock. We lived in Dallas for a short space.”

If you’re a born-too-late Budgie fan, like me, chances are you discovered the band through Metallica’s 1987 cover of the Welsh rawkers’ “Crash Course In Brain Surgery” on Garage Days Re-Revisited (or “Breadfan” as the b-side to “Harvester Of Sorrow” in ’88) — whether you care to admit it or not! Though Shelley and drummer Steve Williams have been road dogs for 30 years plus, they still somehow manage to exude the raucous cry of youth clear into in their 50s. It’s that energy that undoubtedly attracts the growing punters to the gigs along with the pensioners. “In Sheffield, one of the warm-up gigs in Britain [for the Australian tour], the whole front was young lads. Sometimes they’ve found out about us through their parents or the fact that we were covered by Metallica,” Burke explained. “Honestly a lot of young lads are into rock music. Not just Budgie. I ask them, ‘why are you into Jimi Hendrix?’ And they say, ‘I just dig out my old man’s records.’ Particularly young guitarists, and so much of that good guitar work is around from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. Now they’re doing the nü-metal scene. It’s all detuned and baritone guitars, but it’s the same principal. And we riff. It’s all about riffs. Because they’re rocky and sort of gutsy, aren’t they?” Clearly, Budgie had that gusto from the get-go, considering they titled the opening track of their 1971 debut “Guts.”

Budgie left no stone — or egg — unturned in their Australian tour set list, touching on the aforementioned “Crash Course In Brain Surgery” along with classics like “Nude Disintegrating Parachutist Woman,” “Hot As A Docker’s Armpit,” “Breadfan,” “Napoleon Bona Parts 1 & 2,” “Melt The Ice Away,” “In For The Kill,” “Parents,” “Zoom Club” and “I Turn To Stone,” as well as tracks off their latest CD You’re All In Cuckooland (“Justice,” “Dead Men Don’t Talk” and “Compressing The Comb From A Cockerel’s Head”).

Budgie’s humble 1967 Beatles-worship beginnings may have been loud, but Burke Shelley is quick to give credit where it’s due for the most pivotal turnabout in the formative era of hard rock: “Zeppelin synthesized a lot of those things from the blues and the past. Concentrating on the riffs and the driving force — the drums — in the riff. The major thing was Plant’s voice, but you could say there was some similarity between the actual music itself and Hendrix, Cream or Free. Zeppelin was much more raw. Jimmy Page didn’t always have a big sustain sound on his guitar. You think of Eric Clapton and Hendrix and there was a lot of sustain. Pagey’s playing in the riffs was subdued and laid in the track more. And [Sabbath’s] ‘Paranoid’ was influenced I thought — there’s a part there in everyone whether you like it or not — by ‘Communication Breakdown.’” Burke starts mouthing guitar lines and we both erupt into laughter.

Budgie’s lighter side peeked out between massive slabs of groove and heaviness, with tunes like “Make Me Happy,” “You Know I’ll Always Love You, “Wondering What Everyone Knows,” and “Don’t Go Away.” “I was secretly a bit of a folk guitarist on the sly,” bassman Burke confirmed a long-standing suspicion of mine. “Just strumming away. The credits were irrelevant.”

The thing about Budgie’s first several records that strikes you is the big, earthy, almost live vibe. “I just like the raw edge. ’Cause we’re a rock band, not smoothed-out. Producers are all scared of spillage.” Burke is quick to point out later troubles in the studio around the time of Power Supply (1980), “I couldn’t stand the dried-out studio sound that producers kept giving us. And then they try to put the ambience back on with some reverb or something, but they never could. There were too many fingers on the buttons and they wouldn’t let me [make the right moves on the console]. They never did, the swines!”

When Simon Lees, the guitarist who took part in You’re All Living In Cuckooland, had to bow out of Budgie, manager Paul Cox looked up old friend Craig Goldy. Goldy’s reputation with Dio precedes him, but the fat, vintage tone of original Budgie axeman par-excellence and the subsequent classic riffage of Bourge’s replacement, Big John Thomas, are big shoes to fill. Craig dons his axe in Budgie with a mixture of finesse and feel that harkens back to the oldschool. “I’m actually new to all of this,” Craig admits. “I only first knew of Budgie when we [Dio] did a concert together. But my life is so topsy-turvy that I rarely get a chance to listen to music much anymore. So, when Paul called me I got the CDs sent out and listened to song after song going, ‘wow!’ It presented a challenge. It’s not that hard for me to learn songs, but they gave me 17 songs and a lot of the arrangements are quite interesting. None of them sound the same. I fell in love with the band. But I was stressed out thinking, ‘am I gonna be able to remember all this shit?’”

Burke has a good chuckle over this and nearly takes over the interview at that point to ask his new guitarist some questions of his own: “Well, you bloody fooled me, Craig. You turned up and seemed to know every bloody thing. You’ve certainly done your homework. I’ll give you that. You have no idea what a relief that was. ’Cause I thought we were going to have to sit down with somebody I don’t know and go through bit by bit. When Craig turned up it immediately registered. He’s a professional player this boy! Knows his stuff!”

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