Earlier this year I read an interview with Burke Shelly of Budgie that “he’s suffering from a life-threatening illness and has ruled out having the operation which could save him”. Very sad news indeed.
Back in 2010 Budgie had to stop all touring as Burke was diagnosed with an aortic aneurysm, a dangerous and abnormal swelling of the main artery that supplies blood to the body. After the surgery Burkes diaphragm was “so messed up” that he could not sing properly again. Thankfully he could and can still play his bass, but it meant a halt to all Budgie activities.
Now, ten years later he’s got another even more critical aneurysm that needs an emediate operation, but Burke declines as he doesn’t want risk to be a “cripple” in his final years. To make things worse he also suffers from Stickler syndrome, a genetic disorder that can cause serious vision, hearing and joint problems.
Unfortunately, this means that any hope of a Budgie reunion is out of the question. Or does it?
Apparently there are a bunch of Budgie songs that Burke recorded vocals for before his aortic aneurysm that he says that he would like to use for one final Budgie album. Burke says that he will call it “One last Hurrah”. I’m not sure that he’s serious about the title or if it’s one of his well know humoristic takes on life. I also don’t know if any other instruments have been recorded for the songs, but I’m sure that Steve Williams would gladly play the drums, and wouldn’t it be a dream to get Tony Bourge to close the circle and take care of the guitars on this final Budgie album. It’s not impossible, remember that Tony played together with Burke on a bunch of the bonus tracks for the remastered versions of the seven first albums. Either way it doesn’t seem unlikely that there will be a one more album from Budgie no matter who is playing on it.
A more unlikely dream is that Budgie would also do one final live show. If Burke could agree to just play bass and let someone else take care of the vocals it would be possible. Of course, not anyone could handle Burkes vocal parts, but thankfully there is one obvious choice that we know could do it. I’m thinking of the excellent Tony Spinner whom you can hear on the recently released excellent Budgie tribute album “Welcome to the Zoom Club” where he handles all the vocals with an honor. Then if both Tony Bourge and Myf Isaac would join on guitar for this proposed final gig you a Budgie fan couldn’t ask for more, but even if they wouldn’t want to participate I’m sure that the brain behind Bandolier Kings, Janne Stark, gladly would stand in on guitar and we all know that he’s more than capable. Well, my personal whish for this “Final Hurrah Live” to happen is that it should all be filmed for a DVD/Bluray release, it would be a fitting end for a classic hard rock band that never got the recognition it deserved. Now some please convince Burke…
Well, Burke is now 70 years old and of course the most important thing is that he has his health as long as possible whether this happens or not, but it’s ok to dream…
Another band and musician that deserves one final hurrah is Rush and Neal Peart. Unfortunately, we lost Neil earlier this year, so he can’t take part. I’m thinking more in the lines of how musicians from all over the world came together to celebrate Freddy Mercury at Wembley when he passed all those years ago. Surely Neil deserves something like that to. Imagine a big stadium in Canada where the most well know drummers that where influenced by Neil Peart take turns on the drum kit backing up Geddy and Alex for one final hurrah. I’m one hundred percent sure that drummers would stand in line to take part in an event like this, and just like at the Freddy Mercury tribute other musicians like guitarists, keyboardist and vocalists could also guest on some of the songs. This event should naturally be televised live and later be released on various formats. Then to make it even more worthwhile all the proceedings could go to some Brain Cancer fund. I’m actually surprised that this hasn’t happened yet.
Well, in these times of Covid19 it will not happen, but wouldn’t it be a great way to start the concert season when the pandemic is over? It would also be a fitting celebration to have this one last hurrah for both Neil Peart and Rush. One can always dream…