Budgie are a hard rock band from Cardiff, South Glamorgan, Wales.
Formed in 1967, their original line-up consisted of Burke Shelley (b. John Burke Shelley, 10 April 1947, Tiger Bay, Cardiff, South Glamorgan, Wales) on bass guitar and vocals, Tony Bourge (b. Anthony James Bourge, 24 November 1948, Tiger Bay, Cardiff, South Glamorgan, South Wales) (guitar, vocals), and Ray Phillips (b. Raymond John Phillips, 1 March 1949, Tiger Bay, Cardiff, South Glamorgan, South Wales (drums). Some might say that Budgie was one of the first Heavy Metal bands, with fast, heavy music (the likes of which wasn't really made popular until Iron Maiden and other NWOBHM acts played) being played as early as 1973, even before bands like Judas Priest. Notable Fast Heavy Metal style songs include, Breadfan and Napolean Bona-Parts 1 & 2. The current line up is Burke Shelley (bass, vocals), Simon Lees b. 16 May 1970(guitar), and Steve Williams b.17 september 1953(drums).
Their debut album in strong blues oriented hard rock lines was recorded at Rockfield Studios with Black Sabbath producer Rodger Bain and released in 1971, followed by Squawk in 1972. The 3rd album, Never Turn Your Back On a Friend (1973), ensured their place in rock and roll history, containing possibly their best-known song, "Breadfan", later covered by Metallica. (Metallica also covered another Budgie song, "Crash Course In Brain Surgery"). 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).
By late 1974 Bourge and Shelley were joined by drummer Steve Williams for the album Bandolier, but Bourge left mid 1978 and finally was replaced by "Big" John Thomas (b. 21 February 1952) late 1979. 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 1980's) which is now a cult classic. The band successfully rode the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) until 1982, even headlining the Reading Festival that year (a year before they played there a main show with headliner Whitesnake). They built a particular following in Poland, where they played as the first heavy metal band behind the Iron Curtain in 1982. Also notable was their tour support of Ozzy Osbourne in 1984.
The band stopped gigging in 1988, members went into studio production, occasionally guesting on other projects; "Big" John Thomas most notably worked on the Phenomena CD with Glenn Hughes out of the Black Sabbath studios. Thomas left the band in 2001 after headlining the "Welsh Legends Of Rock" outdoor festival.
Enjoying much popularity in Texas, somewhat thanks to legendary promoter DJ and restaurateur, Joe "The Godfather" or "Mr. Pizza" Anthony on KMAC/KISS radio in the 1970s, the band reformed for one-off gigs 1995, 1996 and 2000 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. The reunion was the subject of much faux hype by Mark Radcliffe and Marc Riley-Lard on their Radio 1 show, but the pair then "forgot" to do their special Budgie day.
Budgie recenty underwent a thirty five date UK tour that ran until December 2006, and their new album, entitled, You're All Living In Cuckooland was released in the UK on 7 November 2006. They may play some dates in the U.S. & possibly Australia.
On 4th July 2007 Lees announced his departure from the band to concentrate on his teaching and solo career. A statement on his personal website read as follows; "I am sad to report that I have resigned from my position as Budgie's Lead Guitarist. This is so that I can give my full attention to my guitar students and my One Man Rock Show. It has been a huge honour to work with such an influential band and I know that Burke and Steve will have absolutely no problems in finding a replacement. I wish the lads all the very best for the future."
- Budgie (1971)
- Squawk (1972)
- Never Turn Your Back On A Friend (1973)
- In For The Kill (1974)
- Bandolier (1975)
- If I Were Britannia I'd Waive the Rules (1976)
- Impeckable (1978)
- Power Supply (1980)
- Nightflight (1981)
- Deliver Us From Evil (1982)
- Life in San Antonio (2002)
- The Last Stage (2004)
- You're All Living in Cuckooland (2006)
Compilation & other live releases
- Best Of Budgie (1975)
- Best Of Budgie (1981)
- An Ecstasy Of Fumbling - The Definitive Anthology (1996)
- Best Of Budgie (1997)
- Heavier Than Air - Rarest Eggs (1998)
- We Came, We Saw... (1998)
- Radio Sessions 1974 - 1978 (2005) - double CD with live recordings in London (1974) and Los Angeles (1978)
- The BBC Recordings (2006)
- The Extreem - From Out Of The Sky - pre-Budgie late 60's efforts, Japan only CD (1999)
- Tredegar - Tredegar featuring Tony Bourge and Ray Phillips (1986)
- Six Ton Budgie - Unplucked - drummer Ray Phillips' band (1995)
- Budgie And Beyond - 80's solo works, out-takes, unreleased demos ~ Australian Fan Club "Sabre Dance" release on VSC label (Gold CD) (1999)
- Six Ton Budgie - Ornithology v.1 - drummer Ray Phillips' band (1996)
- Booty's B-Sides - Boot 66 with ex-Budgie Pete Boot and various artists (2003)
- The Battle Of My Mind - Pete Boot with Andy Colley (guitar) (2006)
Singles and E.P.s (UK only unless stated)
- Crash Course In Brain Surgery / Nude Disintergrating Parachutist Woman 1971 MCA MK 5072
- Whiskey River / Guts 1972 MCA MK 5085
- Whiskey River / Stranded 1972 MCA MCA 2185 US 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
- If Swallowed Do Not Induce Vomiting E.P. 1980 Active BUDGE 1
- 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 RCA 271