As winter solstice is here again, I give you this article with one of those bands that had a lot of musical output, and worked hard without ever really breaking it big in the same way other contemporary bands did. Why some succeed and others fall by the wayside is due to a lot of factors – good or bad luck is sometimes all the difference there is. Thanks to Metallica, many modern rock fans know who this band were, and I guess they finally found a sort of fame because of that. Now, if only someone really big could do the same for Lips & co. in Anvil, the world would be a better place.
Budgie: the support is getting stronger
By Pete Makowski
Budgie – heavy metal veterans – are what could be classed as one of yer working class bands. They`ve been smoothly coasting along, steadily building a strong core of followers since the release of their first album around four years ago.
They are nowhere as rich as bands like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, but they are regarded the same in terms of energy and respected equally by their fans.
The band have recently completed recording their new album “In For The Kill” which is the first with their new drummer Peter Boot. They were looking worse for wear when I spoke to them, and when we attempted to play their album on a dire stereo system with speakers that looked and sounded like egg cartons they looked even worse: “Oh fucking hell”, moaned guitarist Tony Bourge, face buried in hands, “It can`t sound like this.”
The band have just returned from Spain and have recently been spreading their wings, if you`ll excuse the pun, across the water: “We`ve been going down well in Europe, we even had a number one in Lebanon!”, said bassist Burke Shelley: “We`re going to Germany tomorrow to do three nights at the Zoom Club.”
“Zoom Club” happens to be the title of the band`s forthcoming single, a cut down version of a track on the album. One interesting feature of the album is that the cover won`t be by Roger Dean whose illustrations have become a virtual trademark for the band. “It`s not good if you become too heavily associated with one thing, you know people associate Dean with us, Yes and Greenslade.”
Peter Bott is quite a novice to the trade: he`s played in few local bands so Budgie was quite a step forward for him. The band were originally going to use him as a “fill” until they could rehearse some other drummers who had applied for the job. But soon enough they realized that Pete was breaking in well, and they didn`t have time to rehearse anyone else. “We haven`t had any time to really sit down and relax. We`ve got a British and European tour in front of us. America is on the list as well.
“When we first started off we were playing anywhere just to get our name around. But then business gets involved and now we have to promote ourselves all over the place.”
Although the band are growing in popularity, they haven`t reached any definite peak. “I think every band hopes the next album will be their big break,” said Tony. “We make a living, enjoy what we`re doing and accept the position we`re in. If it gets any better, then it gets better. The support`s getting stronger all the time but if you get hopes up too much you could get disappointed in the end. I think we were like that when we brought our first album out – it kinda hits you, but then you begin to settle down.”
Of course their forthcoming tour of the States could put them in the big league, but they don`t want to rush it. “We want some assurance of security when we go over there”, said Burke, “we don`t like the idea of being bundled into any gig, it`s an expensive business.”
Budgie are the last band to be associated with hype so I asked Burke how he felt about the overnight wonders that have been cropping up recently. “Oh you mean bands like Queen, they`re kept in the lap of luxury so they can just go in and record whatever they want when ever they want.”
Does that kind of pampering make Burke feel bitter? “Oh no! I wouldn`t mind if someone came to us and offered us an opportunity to spend a few months recording with wages. But if you get into this kind of self-indulgence, apathy can set in.” “It also can work the other way”, interjected Tony. “A band can take only so much. Like in the early days we would travel around in a bum van, we had bum equipment, we slept in the van on a freezing cold night. You have a certain amount of get-up-and-go in you when you first start, but as you go along your resistance begins to break down.”
“We must be getting old”, continued Burke. “I couldn`t do that now. But that`s because we`ve had six and a half years of it. But when you think of bands like Queen and Roxy Music, those bands seem to have appeared from nowhere with a nice album, with nice gear, a tour – they`ve got nothing to improve on. It doesn`t make me bitter but I just wonder if they`re really as good as they could be. Maybe they need to go through all the hard grind.”
“Both those bands Burke mentioned are good, they`ve made good albums,” said Tony, “but they had the money and that helped a lot.”
The band`s present album has been a bit of a rush job, and I asked Burke if they`d like to spend more time on the next one. “We won`t be able to, and I don`t particularly want to. You know Rory Gallagher goes in the studio and within 24 hours he`s got an album. He`s after one sound, one take, bugger the mistakes. I like to rehearse well, then go into the studio do one take, no farting about, because you seem to get a certain feel, like when you go on stage. That`s the only way to do it.”
I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!
This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Procol Harum, King Crimson, Dr. Hook, Casablanca, Carol Grimes, Strawbs, Nektar, Ann Peebles, Graham Nash, Ace, Lesley Duncan, Rick Wakeman.
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