Budgie (musician)

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Budgie in Oakland, California, June 1986
Background information
Birth namePeter Edward Clarke
Also known asBlister, Budgie
Born (1957-08-21) 21 August 1957 (age 61)
OriginSt Helens, Lancashire, England
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
InstrumentsPercussion, drums, guitars, keyboards
Years active1979–present
LabelsGeffen, Polydor, Sioux
Associated actsBig in Japan, Pink Military, the Spitfire Boys, the Slits, Siouxsie and the Banshees, the Creatures, John Grant

Peter Edward Clarke (born 21 August 1957), known professionally as Budgie, is an English drummer. His first recording was with the Slits in 1979. He then became the drummer of the influential band Siouxsie and the Banshees (1979–96) and the drum-and-voice duo the Creatures (1981–2004). Budgie worked with other musicians including John Cale, Leonard Eto (formerly of the Kodo Drummers) and John Grant.

In 2013, Spin rated him at No. 28 in their list of "The 100 Greatest Drummers of Alternative Music",[1] writing: "Post-punk introduced a lot of amazing drummers, but none more influential than Budgie. With the Banshees, Budgie didn't just play rhythms—he played hooks and leads, brilliant parts that set the songs on fire. His tom-tom-intensive approach, [was] enlightened by his awareness of world music".Spin considered his "most booming moment" to be "Into the Light", from 1981's Juju, saying: "Budgie drums up a marvel of kinetic syncopation and invention".[1]

Budgie was hailed in 2013 by peer Stewart Copeland of the Police as one of the 16 most interesting drummers. Copeland described Budgie's playing as "very economical and offbeat", adding, "Budgie didn’t play your standard hi-hat–kick–snare; there were a lot of tom-toms and a big throb."[2] Ari Up of the Slits praised him as "a very sensitive drummer", saying, "He could go from reggae to punk to funk to jazz [...] but still very steady."[3] NME named Budgie the best drummer of 1983.[4]


He debuted as a drummer with the Spitfire Boys and Big in Japan before playing with the Slits on the 1979 album Cut. Years later in 2010, Slits singer Ari Up commented:

Budgie could play anything. [...] Sting loved the Slits album Cut and what he said about it was that the drumming, he was fanatic about the drums. A lot of people at the time were raving about the drums. They knew that he had a lot of technique but he had a sensitivity, you know, and a variation about him. He could go from reggae to punk to funk to jazz, you know, all over the place, but still very steady.[3]

In September 1979, he joined Siouxsie and the Banshees on their Join Hands tour. Initially he was intended to be a temporary replacement for Kenny Morris, who had left the band two days into a tour, but Budgie remained with the group. He first performed with renowned guitarist John McGeoch on the album Kaleidoscope: Budgie became a permanent member of the band until they split up in 1996.[5] He released nine studio albums with the Banshees.

Budgie with Siouxsie and the Banshees after joining the band as a full-time member in 1980, left to right: John McGeoch, Budgie, Siouxsie and Steven Severin

In 1981, he formed a second group with Siouxsie Sioux, named the Creatures. Their music was based more on drums and percussion, with marimba and vibraphone. The 1981 Wild Things EP and 1983 full-length Feast were their first releases.

On subsequent Creatures albums, Budgie also played keyboards, guitars and harmonica. He co-wrote brass arrangements with Peter Thoms on 1983 single "Right Now" and 1989's Boomerang album.[6] Budgie married Siouxsie in May 1991. Within the Banshees, he wrote the lyrics of several songs, including "She's Cuckoo", "Silver Waterfalls", "Staring Back", "Sick Child", "Hang Me High" and "Return" (the latter was co-written with Siouxsie). For the Creatures, he wrote the lyrics for several Boomerang-era songs, including "Willow", "Morriña" and "Pluto Drive" (the latter was co-written with Siouxsie).

In August 2002, Budgie first collaborated with Japanese taiko player Leonard Eto (formerly of the Kodo Drummers), recording spontaneous drum-duet improvisations in Tokyo for the fourth Creatures album, Hái!. The drum performances were then edited, and the rest of the sessions took place in France. Budgie was the sound engineer of the album, and he mixed it near Toulouse before its release in 2003. After recording four studio albums as the Creatures, Budgie's final performance with Siouxsie (featuring Eto and the Millennia Ensemble) was filmed in 2004 at the Royal Festival Hall in London for the DVD Dreamshow. This was Budgie's last concert and collaboration with Siouxsie; in 2007, the pair publicly announced their divorce.[7]

Outside the Banshees and Creatures, the drummer also worked with Indigo Girls in 1992 on Rites of Passage, and briefly toured with them in the US at the end of that year. In 1994, Budgie recorded percussion on Hector Zazou's Chansons des mers froides, including a song for Jane Siberry. He later played drums for former Velvet Underground member John Cale during his summer 1998 US tour on a double bill with The Creatures. Budgie played two sets each night, one with Cale and one with The Creatures. In 2009, he toured Europe with Juno Reactor and moved to Berlin. Later that year, he also recorded drums for Jessie Evans' Is It Fire? album.[8]

In 2010, he teamed up with two other drummers, Eto and Mabi, plus multi-instrumentalist Knox Chandler and guitarist Sugizo, for a programme called "The Butterfly Effect: East-West Percussive Parade." It was described as a "drumming extravaganza, featuring Western kit, Japanese taiko and African drums, that will launch the musicians into a new sonic galaxy!".[9] The programme's world première took place in Hong Kong in November 2010 as part of the New Vision Arts Festival. "The Butterfly Effect" featured improvised solos and ensemble works as well as new pieces and arrangements specially created for the festival, inspired by the pace, rhythm and character of Hong Kong.[10]

In 2012, he served as the drummer for Efterklang on their worldwide tour. They were accompanied by an orchestra. The premiere at the Opera House in Sydney was praised by Time Out.[11] His last concert with Efterklang took place in Brussels in November.[12] A live album, recorded in Copenhagen, was later issued.[13]

In 2013, Budgie and Eto performed live material from Hái! in Tokyo, 11 years after conceiving the drum parts in that city. The concert took place at the Studio Coast as part of Juno Reactor's set.[14]

In 2015, he played drums on John Grant's third solo album, Grey Tickles, Black Pressure,[15] playing in November with Grant on the accompanying tour,[16] with a stop in London at the Hammersmith Apollo. During 2015, he also recorded unreleased sessions for CocoRosie.[16] In 2018, he performed again with Grant in the UK at the latter's March concerts.[17]


  1. ^ a b Azerrad, Michael (21 May 2013). "The 100 Greatest Drummers of Alternative Music: N°28 Budgie of Siouxsie And The Banshees". Spin.com. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
  2. ^ Bosso, Joe (24 June 2013). "Stewart Copeland picks 16 fun drum albums". Musicradar.com. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
  3. ^ a b Macia, Peter (21 October 2010). "Interview With Ari Up from the Siouxsie Sioux/Shabba Ranks Icon Issue". thefader.com. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014.
  4. ^ "NME awards history 1983". NME. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  5. ^ Budofsky, Adam. Budgie interview, Modern Drummer, September 1990
  6. ^ The Bestiary of the Creatures (booklet - cd 1997). Polydor
  7. ^ Cairns, Dan.Siouxsie Sioux is back in bloom. The Sunday Times. 26 August 2007
  8. ^ Jessie Evans – Is It Fire? [cd-liner notes]. 2009 Fantomette Records – Fantomette 001
  9. ^ The Butterfly Effect: East-West Percussive Parade newvisionfestival.gov.hk. Retrieved 6.09.2010
  10. ^ Budgie - Butterfly Effect on YouTube The Video. Live Excerpt. November 2010. Hong Kong. New Visions Festival
  11. ^ Efterklang The Danes make an art-music splash with the SSO. Time Out. Retrieved 27 June 2012
  12. ^ "We’re Looking for...". efterklang.net. Retrieved 27 August 2012
  13. ^ "The Piramida Concert". 10 June 2013. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  14. ^ "Leonard Eto & Budgie ~ Juno Reactor Japan Tour 2013" on YouTube. August 2013. Retrieved 3 March 2014
  15. ^ Hudson, Alex. "John Grant announces grey tickles black pressure LP". Exclaim!. 23 June 2015. Retrieved 3 June 2015
  16. ^ a b "Pop & Trash -interview with Budgie". Alex-berlin.de live stream. 6 September 2015.
  17. ^ "Budgie". Facebook.com. Retrieved 22 January 2018.

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