Ray Phillips, drummer with pioneering heavy metal band Budgie, recalled how Metallica’s cover of their song “Breadfan” saved him from financial disaster.

The Welsh band released the original track on their 1973 album Never Turn Your Back on a Friend, while Metallica’s version appeared as the B-side to “Eye of the Beholder” in 1988, and ten years later on their Garage Inc. album.

Around the same time, Phillips, who’d quit Budgie in 1974, lost £40,000 (then about $68,000) when his next band, Tredegar, failed. “I was in a really dark place,” he told the BBC. “I was walking down the road thinking I was better off dead, but the moon was out and I saw my shadow come alongside me and out in front of me.”

Soon afterwards, he said, “thousands and thousands of pounds” began arriving as a result of the Metallica LP, which also featured a cover of Budgie’s “Crash Course in Brain Surgery.”

You can listen to both versions of “Breadfan” below:


Phillips said, “It's strange, I never considered us mega rock stars, but it started when I was 18 and I'm 70 next birthday and still having this conversation. [Budgie] had a massive impact on a lot of bands, including Metallica, Megadeth and Van Halen, who say we influenced them. Budgie wrote great songs, abstract songs about life. Music today is just rubbish… people don’t write about stories, history, politics anymore.” But he joked, “‘Breadfan’ is about nonsense. Burke [Shelley, frontman] wanted to write a song about nonsense.”


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