After a 35-year absence, Tony Bourge cranks it up again
Ex-Budgie guitarist Tony Bourge has a new album out – 35 years after leaving the Welsh band and 27 years after his last recorded output with heavy rockers Tredegar.
In May 1973 an unsuspecting world listened in awe as Bourge unleashed the riff to Budgie’s Breadfan – a song later covered by Metallica. Forty years on, the hugely underrated six-stringer has a new 20-track album named Crank It Up – released under the moniker of Anthony Bourge.
Crank It Up contains a wide variety of styles, from riff-based rockers reminiscent of the metal Bourge forged with Budgie, to songs and instrumentals steeped in the blues, to ethereal pop numbers.
The album’s Shw Mae Mama is a dark, heavy blues song – with a Welsh language chorus that translates as “How are you, Mama?”
“Mother Earth has a hole in her head but she’s not dead, and neither is Budgie,” Bourge says, referring to both the song’s subject and the influential Welsh band’s legacy.
East Bound is an instrumental inspired by a painting one of Bourge’s sons did before he left for China. “There was a large dragon’s tail and two birds flying over the sea, heading east towards a very large setting sun. Strangely enough, the red sun and the dragon’s tail seemed very Welsh,” Bourge says.
Artists such as Jerry Cantrell of Alice In Chains, Josh Homme of Queens Of The Stone Age and Kim Thayil of Soundgarden list Tony Bourge as an influence. Soundgarden recorded a cover version of Homicidal Suicidal, originally on Budgie’s 1971 self-titled debut album.
Crank It Up is available from online music stores.
The current line-up of Budgie – featuring Craig Goldy on guitar – appears to be on hold. In 2010 bassist/vocalist Burke Shelley was hospitalised after suffering an aortic aneurysm while on tour in Poland. He survived a two-hour, 40-minute operation and ended up in intensive care. Shelley returned to Britain to recover but now finds it difficult to sing and play bass simultaneously.