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BUDGIE

Current Members

Past Members

Biography

An endearingly monikered Welsh act hailing from Cardiff. BUDGIE spent most of the 70s building a loyal cult following based on riff barrages way ahead of their time married to songs with some of the most bizarre titles in Rock such as 'Hot As A Docker's Armpit', 'You're The Biggest Thing Since Powdered Milk', 'In The Grip Of A Tyrefitter's Hand' and 'Nude Disintegrating Parachutist Woman'. BUDGIE formed in 1967 and was originally known as HILLS CONTEMPORARY GRASS then SIX TON BUDGIE with a line-up of vocalist / bassist Burke Shelley, guitarist Brian Goddard, the mysterious 'Kevin' on second guitar.

As BUDGIE in 1968 they debuted with a revised line-up of Shelley, Goddard, guitarist Tony Bourge ('Kevin' having departed) and drummer Ray Phillips. The band's first demo was laid down in 1969 and by the following year Goddard had opted out leaving BUDGIE as the classic power trio.

The band soon gained a reputation for strong songs and relentless driving riffs and was destined to be signed to MCA Records in 1970. Their eponymous debut, produced by the highly respected Rodger Bain of BLACK SABBATH notoriety, emerged in June of that year. Second outing 'Squawk' gained recognition for its distinctive Roger Dean artwork depicting the SR-71 Blackbird aircraft with a bird skull. Live work in 1971 would include a brief spate of ill-matched dates opening for Funk outfit OSIBISA before their first forays into Europe. The following year would see no respite with shows across France, Italy, Holland and Germany and an intensive UK schedule which included opening slots for THIN LIZZY and MOTT THE HOOPLE as well as a showcase performance on the 'Giants of Tomorrow' stage at the NAZARETH headlined Great Western Festival in May.

1973's 'Never Turn Your Back On A Friend' opened with the tour de force 'Breadfan' but also included such oddities as 'You're The Biggest Thing Since Powdered Milk' and 'In The Grip Of A Tyrefitter's Hand'. Budgie extended their reach into Europe with gigs in Switzerland, Spain, including a 9 night stand at the Double Zero Club in Barcelona, and Austria. Once again their UK priorities witnessed a mammoth series of shows with shows throughout July and into August supported by the up and coming JUDAS PRIEST.

1974 opened in traditional style with a further round of British concerts, once more seeing JUDAS PRIEST landing the opening spot. March and April had the group on German soil before a rapid round of Norwegian gigs upfront of May UK concerts backed by JUDAS PRIEST yet again.

BUDGIE remained stable through their first three major label albums until Ray Phillips quit. The drummer would join ex-SASSAFRAS vocalist Terry Bennett in KRACOTOA and later to surface in RAY PHILLIPS' WOMAN then TREDEGAR. Phillips was to be replaced by former EXTREEM and BULLION man Pete Boot for the 'In For The Kill' LP. Boot was, in turn, superseded by ex-QUEST member Steve Williams later in December 1974. Boot was to join SWEATY BETTY and POSSESSED before forming LION with ex JUDAS PRIEST vocalist AL ATKINS.

BUDGIE pulled in Steve Williams to man the drum kit for 1975's 'Bandolier' and used this record and used this record to penetrate deeper into European territories, including their live debut in Yugoslavia. In usual BUDGIE fashion the record sported titular quirkiness with the close out track 'Napoleon Bona, Parts 1 & 2'. The word games continued with 1976's 'If I Were Britannia I'd Waive The Rules'. The year also brought about the group's inauguration onto US stages, although a projected start date of February was cancelled the trio finally made their live debut in front of an American audience at the Royal Oak Theatre in Detroit on 11th November. Further US shows saw BUDGIE sharing stages with SPARKS, MONTROSE and CAPTAIN BEYOND. BUDGIE returned to the USA in the summer of 1977. Meantime, in the UK, their standing had risen to headlining status at London's Hammersmith Odeon venue.

BUDGIE's seventh album, 'Impeckable', arrived in January 1978. The following month saw a well attended clutch of UK theatre shows prior to engaging in their lengthiest US trek, taking the band right through the summer months. BUDGIE recruited another QUEST member in second guitarist Myf Isaacs. Their next foray stateside produced the much in demand 'Live At Atlantic Studios' live tapes, material much sought after by collectors. Upon their return to Britain BUDGIE unceremoniously split with Isaacs going onto various Welsh language acts such as BANDO, CRYS and EDEN. BUDGIE boosted their guitar arsenal with the recruitment of Rob Kendrick. The year was seen out with a further successful run of UK concerts throughout October and November.

February of 1979 had the group pitched alongside NAZARETH for US gigs but these would prove the last shows to feature Kendrick. BUDGIE drafted 'Big' John Thomas, affectionately known as JT, debuting their latest recruit at Stafford Bingley Hall on 15th December. The new look band recorded the infamous EP 'If Swallowed Do Not Induce Vomiting' and set about promoting the record with a June 1980 headline trek in the UK. Further valuable exposure would be garnered when Budgie was hand picked to open for OZZY OSBOURNE's Blizzard of Ozz shows, commencing on 9th December at Glasgow's Apollo. For these gigs the group expanded their sound by employing keyboard player Lyndsay Bridgwater, the new candidate also doing double duty for OZZY OSBOURNE.

In 1982 Budgie undertook a historic, and massively attended, tour of Poland. Performing in venues ranging up to 10,000 capacity, Budgie sold out a total of 12 shows plus matinee performances. This landmark was followed by a sizable set of shows in Yugoslavia. The band also took up a further offer to support OZZY OSBOURNE at his December arena concerts in the UK.

Bourge and Phillips attempted a reformation by recruiting bassist/vocalist Pete Dutton. However, before long, Burke Shelley had revamped BUDGIE and ensuring he had claim to the name. The Dutton / Bourge / Phillips trio was forced to adopt a new name, eventually titling themselves FREEZE. This act lasted a matter of months before Dutton left to form FIRECLOWN.

Shelley's revitalised BUDGIE drafted in ex-TRAPEZE guitarist Rob Kendrick before settling on ex EDGAR BROUGHTON BAND and GEORGE HATCHER BAND guitarist 'Big' John Thomas to replace Bourge and released the acclaimed 'If Swallowed, Do Not Induce Vomiting'' EP and began the task of re-building their British following.

BUDGIE would also land a valuable special guest role on the first OZZY OSBOURNE 'Blizzard Of Ozz' tour of the UK. For these shows OZZY OSBOURNE keyboard player Lindsay Bridgwater would double up on duties performing both BUDGIE and the headline act.

Such renewed effort paid off with a deal from RCA. The subsequent release of a pair of excellent Hard Rock albums, which included the 'Deliver Us From Evil' album produced by Don Smith and featuring keyboard contributions from ex-COCKNEY REBELS, 10CC and CAMEL man Duncan MacKay.

The band hit the road with vigour adding ex OZZY OSBOURNE man Lyndsay Bridgwater for dates, most notable being a successful string of shows in Poland during 1982. These gigs, commencing on 1st August to a sold out crowd of 4'500 at the Tortor Sports Hall in Torun, proved to be a career high. So successful was the band that four back to back concerts over just two days at the Spodek Sports Hall, Katowice had the group playing to over 20,000 fans.BUDGIE also played two sell out gigs in Krakow and a further brace of shows at the Torwar Sports Hall in Warsaw. Unfortunately the tour was capped on a sour note when 20,000 fans at the Bialystock Football Stadium rioted when lack of electricity supply forced the cancellation of the concert. Upon return to the UK, BUDGIE put in an appearance at the Reading festival before heading back out to Eastern Europe for an outdoor event in Yugoslavia. 1982 was rounded off on the live front by a batch of UK supports to OZZY OSBOURNE in December.

UK concerts in October of 1983, as support to DIAMOND HEAD, would find the trio pulling their services after completing just a few dates. A further album was recorded but remains unreleased, the band having surprisingly decided to suspend operations as BUDGIE bowed out with a UK tour throughout April and May of 1984.

There was talk of a fullscale reunion, but following a clutch of early 1985 concerts and one gig at Loughborough Town Hall, in August of 1986 supported by GRIM REAPER and RANKELSON, this amounted to nothing. A comeback Uk tour was apparently curtailed due to a thumb injury sustained by Shelley. Latterly another reunion attempt with ex MAGNUM and UFO drummer Jim Simpson also petered out. The new sticksman made his debut for BUDGIE on the 26th September 1987 at the Clarendon Hotel in London, with the band putting in sporadic dates until the end of the year.

John Thomas was to re-appear as a guest on the PHENOMENA concept albums 'Phenomena' and 'Phenomena-Dream Runner'. BUDGIE in 1988 included former MAGNUM and UFO drummer Jim Simpson but Shelley finally laid the band to rest the same year when he formed THE SUPERCLERKES. Thomas, meantime, joined BOMBSHELL. Simpson joined Newcastle band RED DOGS in 1990.

Renewed interest in BUDGIE came as METALLICA covered the infamous 'Crash Course In Brain Surgery' for their 'Garage Days Revisited' EP and the San Francisco based Metal legends have for many years used 'Breadfan' live as as a show opener. The other premier American act to pay homage was SOUNDGARDEN when the Seattle Grunge mongers cut their version of 'Homicidal Suicide'.

The BUDGIE legacy re-emerged in 1993 when ex drummer Ray Phillips was found to be touring the British clubs performing the band's standards under the band name SIX TON BUDGIE. More importantly for fans, in 1995 Shelley, Thomas and drummer Rob Jones played a festival in San Antonio, Texas, where BUDGIE are still of major headline status, repeating the process at the 1996 event playing to an audience of 25'000 fans.

Meantime ex drummer Pete Boot re-released the ultra rare EXTREEM album in 1999 on a Japanese label Birdman Records.

BUDGIE, consisting of Shelley, Thomas and Steve Williams, returned to their now traditional San Antonio festival in 2000 on a bill with DIO and LEGS DIAMOND. John Thomas was struck with a cerebral aneurysm that same year. Fortunately the guitarist made a full recovery in time to perform at the 'Legends Of Welsh Rock' festival held on 29th September 2001 on a billing with MAN, SASSAFRAS, KIMLA TAZ and RACING CARS. Thomas would then opt out of the band, BUDGIE drafting Andy Hart in his stead. The band was back at the Sunken Garden Theater in San Antonio in August 2002 on a billing with JUDAS PRIEST and REVEREND. BUDGIE put in their most extensive tour of the UK for a long time throughout September and October. That same year Stoner band FEDERATION X paid homage with a 7" single covering 'Nude Disintegrating Parachutist Woman' in two parts.

Fans by now used to seeing two different versions of the band on the live circuit, BUDGIE and SIX TON BUDGIE, would surprisingly see a third unit spring up. Guitarist John Thomas announced his new band unit going under the title of JT'S BUDGIE. Fronted by Matt Gillespie the band included bassist Paul Gaskin and drummer Martyn Shaw.

BUDGIE introduced new guitarist Simon Lees in 2003. The band's San Antonio gig in March of 2004 saw them partnered with the MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP and MOXY. A long overdue series of archive re-issues was announced that year, the early albums expanded with extra tracks. In addition the long awaited tracks from the band's shelved third RCA album would also be scheduled for release billed as 'The Last Stage'.

BUDGIE returned to the UK tour circuit in November and December of 2004. To coincide, remastered re-issues of the band's first two albums saw release. 'Budgie' added extra tracks including 'Guts' and 'Nude Disintegrating Parachutist Woman' recorded in late Summer 2003 by Burke Shelley, Steve Williams and Simon Lees as well as a previously unreleased alternative 1971 mix of 'Crash Course In Brain Surgery'. Meantime, 'Squawk' added a different mix of 'Stranded', 'Whiskey River' recorded in 2003 by Burke Shelley, Steve Williams and Simon Lees and 'Rolling Home Again' recorded by Burke Shelley and Tony Bourge in 2004.

BUDGIE headed out on a lengthy UK club tour in September 2005 before setting to work on a new studio album with a working title of 'Ears Pierced While You Wait'. The band had their track 'In For The Kill' covered on OVERDRIVE and LOCOMOTIVE BREATH guitarist Janne Stark's November 2006 MOUNTAIN OF POWER tribute collection.

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