Budgie formed in 1967 in Cardiff, Wales under the name Hills Contemporary Grass.
Their original line-up consisted of Burke Shelley on vocals and bass, Tony Bourge on guitar and vocals, and Ray Phillips on drums.
After performing several gigs in 1968, the band changed their name to Budgie the following year and recorded their first demo.
The band originally formed under such names as Hills Contemporary Grass and Six Ton Budgie.
Budgie is a Welsh hard rock/heavy metal band from Cardiff.
Many claim The MCA albums were arguably their finest work, with openers Budgie and Squawk providing the backbone of heavy riffs and melodic interludes which was to characterise the bands’ style.
Shelley’s high-pitched vocals were first aired on the charmingly titled single Crash Course In Brain Surgery.
Their sense of humour was often reflected in their song titles, “Hot As A Docker’s Armpit” proving Budgie didn’t take life too seriously.
1973’s Never Turn Your Back On A Friend with its Roger Dean designed gatefold sleeve boasted some classic moments, from the thoughtful 11 minute epic “Parents” to the blistering “Breadfan”, to be covered some 20 years later by Metallica.
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) being played as early as 1971.
Although the group has had very little commercial success in America, they have enjoyed a strong fan following in Texas 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, 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.
Thanks to promotion from Ray Cordell and Alan Howard and management from Paul Cox, Letchworth 1999 and featured their first UK live performance in 11 years and the return of Steve Williams on drums.
This was a warm-up show for the annual rock festival held in Sweden, with Budgie headlining on 12th June 1999.
The 80’s classic reformed line-up then played San Antonio for the 3rd time in April 2000.
At the start of 2002, Burke Shelley was in the mood to get back on the road once more and to engage the band into some serious touring.
Andy Hart, a Birmingham-based guitarist well known to JT was enlisted to replace JT.
In 2002, Burke, Steve, and Andy played over 30 dates, two of these being in the States.
The show at San Antonio on 2nd August was recorded and released as a live CD entitled Life In San Antonio in November 2002.
Due to commitments outside of Budgie, Andy Hart left the band in Feb 2003 to be replaced by Simon Lees who toured the US, Sweden, Holland, Poland and the UK with Budgie and also played on, and co wrote, much of the bands first studio album in over twenty years entitled You’re All Living In Cuckoo Land.