· BANDOLIER KINGS - WELCOME TO THE ZOOM CLUB ·
· (A TRIBUTE TO BUDGIE) · (GYR183) ·

::T R A C K S::

01. BREADFAN (ROCKING MAN)
02. CRASH COURSE IN BRAIN SURGERY
03. BREAKING ALL THE HOUSE RULES
04. GUTS
05. NUDE DISINTEGRATING PARACHUTIST WOMAN
06. NAPOLEON BONA PART 1 & 2
07. IN FOR THE KILL
08. YOU'RE THE BIGGEST THING SINCE POWDERED MILK
09. ROLLING HOME AGAIN
10. MELT THE ICE AWAY
11. I CAN'T SEE MY FEELINGS
12. ZOOM CLUB
13. BREADFAN (SLIGHT RETURN)


FORMAT: Audio CD / 6 PANEL WALLET
GYR183 - $14.99

Mega-Awesome Budgie Tribute disc featuring Janne Stark (Mountain Of Power) on guitar & Tony Spinner (Toto) on lead vocals & guitar. Both outstanding, seasoned hard rockers who land kick-ass authentic with true admiration & respect to re-create and shine a bright modern day musical light on the brilliant, classic retro-70s, heavy rock excellence of Budgie. The Bandolier Kings: "Welcome To The Zoom Club" disc is an amazing, outstanding musical document with an excellent group of killer special guests including original Budgie band members Tony Bourge & Steve Williams and also featuring a cast of bad-ass rockers from around the world who land on the mighty "Zoom Club" which includes Bill Steer (Firebird), Mats Karlsson (220 Volt), Ian Haugland (Europe), Kyoji Yamamoto (Bow Wow), John Gallagher (Raven), Don Mancuso (Black Sheep), Peter Hermansson (220 Volt), Micke Nord Andersson, Jesper Persson, Joe Romagnola (Grooveyard Records) & Darren Welch (Impeccable). Prepare to dig deep and rock your ass off with the Bandolier Kings at this essential, brain-damaging, killer Grooveyard Records heavy guitar rock disc that celebrates the awesome music of Budgie.

Look up Budgie in the dictionary and instead of a bird, the description should read “The ultimate bad-ass heavy rock power trio.” Back in the day (the glorious 70s), I first heard Budgie being played on a kool local radio station called “WSAY” in Rochester, NY where I still reside today. From the second I heard the first killer heavy Budgie riff by Tony Bourge along with the incredible, powerful lead vocals of Burke Shelley I was hooked forever. Budgie have their own unique, identifiable sound that is all their own and make no mistake: It is definitely ALL about the ROCK.

Budgie released seven phenomenal albums with Tony Bourge on guitar through the years (1971-1978) with the first two Budgie albums being produced by Rodger Bain who also produced albums by Black Sabbath & Judas Priest among others. Mr. Bourge is one of heavy rock’s finest & most memorable Riffmasters. The epic Budgie riffage he created is classic & heavy and will live on eternally in the Guitar Rock Hall Of Fame. Burke Shelley’s awesome, identifiable lead vocals and low end bottom kool bass playing land rock solid bad-ass to the core and the three powerhouse 70s drummers of Budgie (Ray Phillips, Pete Boot and Steve Williams) all kicked serious rock n’ roll ass & laid down the heavy groove.

In producing Bandolier Kings: “Welcome To The Zoom Club” (A Tribute To Budgie), we decided to feature songs from the 70s era (Chapter One) Budgie. It was a difficult task selecting the songs to land since every Budgie song is killer. Clocking in at 77 minutes, we set out to produce a Budgie tribute album that shines a current day musical light on them and one that celebrates the awesomeness of their outstanding music. The (Chapter Two) era of Budgie saw John Thomas replace Tony Bourge on guitar in 1979 and the band produced and released four awesome albums with him. We are huge fans of John Thomas and the music he created with Budgie. We hope to produce a second Budgie tribute disc in the future featuring his excellent riffage, guitar playing and songs. May our good musical Budgie guitar rock brother John Thomas rest in peace.

The music of Budgie always landed dynamic, creative, melodic and awesome beyond belief. The band matured through the years and with each new album they produced an incredible legacy of heavy rock power trio music that stands tall and rocks forever. Bands like Metallica, Megadeth, Iron Maiden, Van Halen and Soundgarden have all covered Budgie songs through the years and I believe they would agree with my commentary about the greatness of Budgie along with the influence and inspiration their music has given heavy rockers around the globe. Budgie are true pioneers of the Stoner Rock movement. And of great personal note: Budgie is one of my all-time favorite bands and I can’t imagine a musical world without them and their incredible, timeless, classic heavy rock music.

In closing, I would like to send a very Special Thanks to Janne Stark for co-producing & for doing such an amazing professional rock solid job at this Budgie Tribute disc. Janne is an awesome, prolific Swedish guitarist, producer and good musical brother of mine for many years. Many Special Thanks goes out to Tony Spinner for landing and doing such an outstanding job at the vocals and for laying down several killer guitar solos. Tony’s incredible dynamic vocal range combined with melodic soul-power lands legit with excellence & perfection throughout the disc. Of special note, we would like to send great amounts of deep Thanks & Appreciation to both Tony Bourge & Steve Willams for guesting & being part of our Budgie Tribute disc. Last but not least, I would like to Thank all of the excellent guest musicians from around the world who have joined the ranks of the “Bandolier Kings” to be part of this incredible musical document to celebrate and honor the legendary heavy rock music of Budgie.

Welcome To The Zoom Club • Joe Romagnola / Grooveyard Records (November 2019)


MP3 Sample Clips

01. BREADFAN (ROCKING MAN)
02. CRASH COURSE IN BRAIN SURGERY
03. BREAKING ALL THE HOUSE RULES
04. GUTS
05. NUDE DISINTEGRATING PARACHUTIST WOMAN
06. NAPOLEON BONA PART 1 & 2
07. IN FOR THE KILL
08. YOU'RE THE BIGGEST THING SINCE POWDERED MILK
09. ROLLING HOME AGAIN
10. MELT THE ICE AWAY
11. I CAN'T SEE MY FEELINGS
12. ZOOM CLUB
13. BREADFAN (SLIGHT RETURN)

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· VIDEO ·

 

Check out the way-kool, killer Bandolier Kings: "Guts" promo video featuring Janne Stark, Tony Spinner and original Budgie Rockers Tony Bourge and Steve Williams!!! From the mega-awesome Bandolier Kings: "Welcome To The Zoom Club" (Budgie Tribute) disc released by Grooveyard Records. Long Live Budgie Rock N' Roll!!!

 

 

· reviews ·

‘Welcome to the Zoom Club,’ was a revelation for me. I came in cold: I had never heard Budgie before. Now, having listened to this, I have to explore all their records — and fast. But, truth be told, I doubt they can match this tribute album. Swedish musician Janne Stark on guitar is superb, and Tony Spinner, one of my all-time favorites, outdoes himself on vocals & guitar as well. In fact, the disc includes a large smattering of lead guitar players who make each song vibrate with unique and innovative soloing. This is an all-star cast, and they all make Budgie shine, dare I say it: More than the original. This is intense rock at its best, equal parts Deep Purple and Black Sabbath, hard rock meets heavy metal — but rendered with taste and artfulness. If you don’t know Budgie, you should, and if you don’t have this tribute disc yet, go out and get it — immediately.

Steven J. Rosen / Author + Journalist (January 2020)
 


To fully understand and appreciate the BANDOLIER KINGS’ “Welcome To The Zoom Club (A Tribute to BUDGIE),” one must first understand the seminal and legendary Welsh Heavy Metal innovators BUDGIE. Formed in Cardiff, Wales in 1967, and productive in the metal industry (although through several lineup changes) until 2010, BUDGIE has been called “The Heaviest Band of their Time.” They were innovative, blending their heavy roots with elements of Progressive and Funk music, and have influenced and been covered by countless acts; most notably METALLICA, when they recorded “Crash Course In Brain Surgery” on the Garage Days Revisited EP. Lead vocalist and bassist Burke Shelley has been compared, for good reason, to RUSH’S Geddy Lee, and could well have been a harbinger of his vocal style.

BANDOLIER KINGS is the love child of OVERDRIVE and MERRIWEATHER STARK’S Janne Stark and Grooveyard exec Joe Romagnola, both huge fans of the Welsh rockers. Janne, along with TOTO and Paul Gilbert collaborator Tony Spinner, and an absolute Murderer’s Row of special guest musicians, have assembled an hour and seventeen minute tribute to some of BUDGIE’S finest. As a matter of fact, two vets of the band, drummer Steve Williams and guitarist Tony Bourge, make appearances. Ian Haugland of EUROPE and Peter Hermansson of 220 VOLT are also onboard.

Opening the album with the rocker “Breadfan (Rocking Man),” the band wastes little time. The opening, iconic guitar riffs from the original are done sweet justice, and the song resonates with every bit of the same raw energy as the original. These guys have not just tried to parrot (pun MAY be intended) BUDGIE, but to add their own feel and exceptional abilities to the content. The song has an infectious and heavy groove from start to finish.

“Crash Course In Brain Surgery” follows, and is more faithful to the original than METALLICA’s bombastic cover. Janne and Tony show a lot of overdue respect to Burke Shelley’s vision, not only with this song, but later, as well. When you hear the beautiful acoustic guitar work that opens “Napoleon Bona Part 1 & 2,” the influence is undeniable… When the song crescendos into the heavy anthem that it is, the love these musicians display for the band’s work is amazing.

This record never feels like a retread. There is enough originality in the presentation to keep any feel of staleness at bay, and the material speaks for itself. There is not one sour moment I have heard. When taken as a stand-alone project, “Welcome To The Zoom Club (A Tribute to BUDGIE)” still shines. When taken as the heartfelt tribute that it is, to a criminally underrated band, it stands tall. Thanks to them for it.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

Mike McMahan / Metal Temple (February 2020)
 


Bandolier Kings is a collection of great musicians brought together by the relentless Swedish guitarist Janne Stark to celebrate the Wales power trio Budgie. Janne is of course no stranger to tribute albums as he has recorded several under the name Mountain Of Power. He is also one of the founders of one of Sweden’s earliest Heavy Metal bands Overdrive as well as being a member of numerous other acts, like for example Locomotive Breath, Grand Design and Merryweather Stark and so on.

“Welcome to the Zoom Club” features 13 tracks all from my favorite Budgie period, the seven albums from the seventies when Tony Bourge was the guitarist in the band. Janne actually managed to get Tony to guest on the track “Guts” together with Budgie drummer Steve Williams, how amazing isn’t that! Janne Stark himself is not only playing all rhythm guitars, all acoustic guitars and shared lead guitars but also all bass guitar, except for on one song (“I Can’t See My Feelings). The vocals are handled quite amazingly by American guitarist Tony Spinner who manages to sound almost identical to Burke Shelly. He also shares lead guitar duties with Janne on three of the songs. The drums are mostly handled by Peter Hermansson who started his career in 220 Volt, another early Swedish Metal band. Then there are also a bunch of other great guest musicians like Kyoji Yamamoto, Mats Karlsson, Mikael Nord Andersson, Don Mancuso, Joe Romagnola, Darren Welch on lead guitar. Ian Haugland and Jesper Persson on drums and John Gallagher on bass. Need I say that the musicianship on all the songs is “impeccable”.

This is an album that every true Budgie fan needs, not just because Bourge and Williams is featured but also because the songs are interpreted very close to the original arrangements but still with some creative diversions here and there to make it interesting. For example, when it’s time for the mellow part of “Breadfan”, that opens up the album, it’s exchanged for “Rocking Man”. The mellow part is actually featured as a song of its own as the final track “Breadfan (Slight Return)” of the album, very clever in my opinion. At the end of “Breaking all the House Rules” there is a very short snippet from “Hot as a Docker’s Armpit”. On other tracks there might be some cool unexpected harmony guitars and so on. To pick a favorite song is impossible as Stark has managed to pick almost all of my Budgie favorites. The only ones that I miss are “Black Velvet Stallion”, “Parents” and “Young is a World”, but I can see why they are not featured this time. There is talking about a second album featuring the John Thomas years, maybe they could add those three songs as a bonus…

Anyway, with all these great songs (you probably know my love for Budgie if you have read my chronicle “Budgie and me”) I must give “Welcome to the Zoom Club” the highest grade possible, 10 out of 10. The album is released both on a limited gatefold vinyl edition as well as on CD and streaming.

One final thought. Around the same time as I got this album I read a new interview with Burke Shelly where he said that there is a new and final Budgie album (One Last Hurrah) on the way featuring some songs that he recorded vocals for before he had an aortic aneurysm in 2010, where he lost his ability to sing. Thankfully he can still play bass. Well, I hope that someone will send Burke this album, because if he can’t convince Tony Bourge to play the guitars on that final album I think that he should seriously consider Janne Stark, as you can hear on this album, would be a perfect fit for Budgie!

Rating: 10/10

Stefan Björnshög / Stargazed Magazine (February 2020)
 


Budgie are one of those unsung bands from the 1970s. They wrote a big list of classics that you may know or may have heard. Probably not the original. Even though important bands as Saxon made covers of their songs, Budgie are the band that everybody knows a song but doesn’t know who originally recorded it. Funny thing, Bandolier Kings is a project of guitarist Janne Stark who is a huge fan of the band. Janne gathered a bunch of his related musicians including Budgie’s drummer Steve Williams and shared guitar solos with Budgie’s guitarist Tony Bourge, Bow Wow’s Kyoji Yamamoto and Michael Nord Andersson to mention only a few. Quite a team I must say.

Well, what to say about an album like this. Budgie are Budgie, man! A legendary unsung band that most Metal bands must pay all the honors and respect possible. If you are interested listen right away to the first track “Breadfan (Rocking Man)” and second track “Crash Course In Brain Surgery” paying attention to the incredible guitar riffing full of groove and energy. Do they not remind you a lot of modern riffing? Yeah, sure they do. Lots of famous Metal bands hail Budgie and list them as an important reference.

Tribute albums like this were like a plague in the late 1990s early 2000s. The difference is that they used to get a bunch of unknown bands to honor their favorite bands. The outcome was most of the time okay. Sometimes the team was made with famous bands and musicians. It was a gold mine. Unfortunately – or the opposite -, as each formula, people got sick and tired of them. Bandolier Kings opted for the most respectful way of making it; recording the songs as loyal to the originals as they could. The outcome I must say as fantastic. It’s Budgie, but it isn’t Budgie. You know what I mean. Well, from where I’m standing I’d rather listen to an album like this. Versions could result in a disaster as the dreadful Nazareth’s version of Eric Clapton’s “Cocaine.” They should’ve been fined for doing a thing like that. But not “Welcome to the Zoom Club (A Tribute to Budgie)” whose thirteen Budgie’s classics are very well represented.

My tip is: if you don’t know Budgie and want to get a hold on them, “Welcome to the Zoom Club (A Tribute to Budgie)” is a great start. Win-win situation, two birds-one rock because you’ll also get to know guitarist Janne Stark and his gang.

Poleto / Metal Addicts (January 2020)
 


Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Metal

Just got my copy of the Bandolier Kings’ “Welcome to the Zoom Club (A Tribute to Budgie)” (Grooveyard Records, 2019), and boy … it’s a good one. Yes, it’s a tribute album, but I could lie and tell you it’s all new material, and most of you wouldn’t know the truth. Budgie is the greatest metal band you’ve never heard of. They never achieved the commercial success of Black Sabbath, but their songs absolutely rock. The riffs are just as heavy as Sabbath’s, and guitarist Tony Bourge is one of the greatest free soloists to ever pick up an electric guitar. Co-founders of Heavy Metal, this Welsh power trio went in the opposite direction of Sabbath, choosing more of a party vibe for their music instead of nuclear war, drugs, and demonology.

The common thread between Budgie and Black Sabbath is producer Rodger Bain, who could easily be considered the “Midwife of Metal.” Bain produced the first three Sabbath albums … and the first two Budgie ones (he also produced the first Judas Priest album). Much of the early recording for these bands was done at Rockfield Studios in Wales – just a stone’s throw from Budgie’s base in Cardiff. Rockfield is also the place where the last real full reunion attempt by Sabbath began and ended: Bill Ward had a heart attack there while the Sabs were in the midst of recording a new album that was to include “Selling My Soul” and “Psycho Man.” The reunion was aborted.

The original Budgie – consisting of guitarist Bourge, singer/bassist Burke Shelley, and three different drummers, including the third and last drummer, Steve Williams – recorded seven albums over the span of the 1970s. The reason you have probably never heard of them is because their label, MCA, decided not to release their third album (and one of their best), “Never Turn Your Back on a Friend,” in the United States. And a planned early tour of the US that might have launched them to success had to be cancelled. The only place in the USA where Budgie took hold was San Antonio, Texas, after two local DJs continuously played Budgie’s songs on the radio.

This Budgie tribute album is the labor of love of Janne Stark – a Swedish guitarist who first heard them in 1975 on the radio. He scrambled to record that song on a cassette player so as not to lose it; shortly afterward, he recorded another Budgie song on his first-ever demo. Stark – a founding guitarist of the Swedish metal band, Overdrive – never lost his love for Budgie’s music, and now has led the effort to produce this tribute album by the Bandolier Kings. The band was actually assembled specifically for this tribute, and features a core of fine rock musicians – including singer Tony Spinner, drummer Peter Hermansson, and guitarist/bassist Stark – and a bevy of guest artists, most on guitar solos. There is even a track – “Guts” (the first song on the first Budgie album) – with Budgie members Steve Williams on drums and Tony Bourge on lead guitar. And both these original musicians have still got it.

The “Zoom Club” in the title of the CD refers to a Budgie song by the same name ... and to the music club in Frankfurt, Germany, where Budgie played back in the early 1970s. While the Beatles and Black Sabbath perfected their acts at the Star Club in Hamburg, Budgie instead honed their craft at the Zoom Club. It was a favorite of American GI’s on their way to Vietnam. Zoom Club also happens to be the Budgie song that got me hooked on the band; I bought the purported “Best of Budgie” CD (it’s not, by the way) and quickly got addicted to that track, putting it on a loop and wearing out my ears on it.

And now, I have a modern, “fresh” version of that song – and twelve more (some of which are medleys) – performed by vibrant, contemporary artists. All of them are the same Budgie songs, but these versions sparkle and pop, compared to the originals, because of an infusion of new energy. You can almost hear and feel the love these musicians put into making their versions. And not only are they keeping Budgie’s music alive, they are bringing it to a new generation of metalheads – one that may not even be aware of the original band’s existence.

It doesn’t matter if you have ever heard of Budgie; give this CD a listen. And I think you will discover an entire repertoire of metal that will surprise, astonish – and hopefully, delight you. And if you want to believe the Bandolier Kings is the hottest new group in metal – I think that would please Bourge, Shelley and Williams (and Ray Phillips, the first Budgie drummer) immensely. After all, they did these songs first … a long, long time ago.

Neoptolemus / The Xperience (December 2019)
 




 


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