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Edward Clarke (born 5 October 1950, Twickenhammarker, Londonmarker) better known as "Fast" Eddie Clarke, is a guitarist who was a member of Britishmarker heavy metal bands Fastway and Motörhead.

Career

Early days

Clarke began playing guitar and by the time he was aged fifteen had been through many local bands, one of whom went under the name of The Bitter End. He continued playing local gigs until 1973, when he turned professional by joining Curtis Knight’s band, Zeus, as lead guitarist. In 1974, the band recorded an album called The Second Coming at Olympic Studiosmarker. Clarke wrote the music to Knight’s lyrics, on a track entitled "The Confession".

Clarke also recorded the album Sea Of Time with Zeus. Later with guitarist friend Allan Callan, keyboard player Nicky Hogarth, and drummer Chris Perry, Clarke attended a recorded jam session at Command Studios in Piccadillymarker. As a result of the tracks from this session, the quartet secured a deal with Anchor Records, and called the band Blue Goose. With a recording contract secured, Clarke, Hogarth and Perry left Zeus to focus on their own project with Callan. Knight was so angry with their behaviour, he put the word around that if he ever met up with them again, he would beat them up for leaving him in the lurch.

An argument soon erupted between Clarke and Callan, because Callan did not have any amplifiers. Clarke had allowed him to share his during rehearsals, but Clarke then found he could not hear his solos because Callan was drowning him out. The argument ended with Clarke being sacked. Still short of amps, the band asked him to re-join a few days later. Clarke refused, feeling that they were doing Anchor Records an injustice because they had been paid an advance to record an album, but had done nothing productive towards making it. Blue Goose finally released their eponymous album through Anchor in 1974, crediting an instrumental track, entitled "Over The Top", to Clarke-Hogarth-Perry.

Clarke soon formed another band with Be Bop Deluxe bassist, Charlie Tumahai, vocalist Ann McCluskie and Jim Thompson on drums. Called Continuous Performance, this line up lasted until early 1975, when their demo tracks failed to secure them a record deal and then band split up. Still out to secure a record deal, Clarke then formed a group with Nicky Hogarth from Blue Goose, bass player Tony Cussons and drummer Terry Slater. Their efforts to get a deal were also unsuccessful, and Clarke temporarily gave up the music industry.

Motörhead

Clarke worked on re-fitting a houseboat, where he met drummer Phil Taylor. Taylor had recently joined Motörhead and introduced Clarke to Lemmy; it was not long before he was playing with them. In the early days Eddie rehearsed with Motörhead at Sound Management studios, under "The Furniture Cave" in Lots Road, Chelsea before going on the road. Motörhead became more popular and produced more and more UK chart successes. The threesome (Lemmy, Clarke, Taylor) are considered the classic Motörhead line-up and have the Motörhead, Overkill, Ace of Spades, Bomber, No Sleep 'til Hammersmith and Iron Fist albums plus a string of hit singles to their credit. He performed a lead vocal on four Motörhead songs: Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers (on which he traded vocals with Lemmy), "I'm Your Witchdoctor" (on which he duets vocals with Lemmy), "Step Down" (from Bomber), and "Emergency" one of the B-side tracks on The St. Valentine's Day Massacre EP, upon which they performed Please Don't Touch, with Girlschool, under the combined band names of HeadGirl.

Clarke left Motörhead in 1982 whilst on an United Statesmarker tour. Becoming unhappy at the results of the Iron Fist album, the recording sessions with the Plasmatics were the final straw. For the B-side of the Stand By Your Man EP the bands take turns in covering each other's songs, Clarke felt that this compromised the band's principles and resigned, to be replaced by former Thin Lizzy and Wild Horses man, Brian Robertson after Anvil frontman Lips (Steve Kudlow) turned down the offer to play with Motorhead. Clarke’s last gig with Motörhead took place at the New Yorkmarker Palladium on May 14 1982. Another cameo from Clarke on a later Motörhead album was on 2000's Live at Brixton Academy, released in 2003, on which the band featured many guest appearances from other guitarists, of which he was one of, playing on the songs "No Class", "The Chase Is Better Than the Catch", and "Overkill".

Fastway

Hearing that UFO bassist Pete Way was keen to leave that band, the two met and decided their new band's name would be an amalgamation of their own two names, resulting in Fastway. They advertised in the music press for a drummer and a vocalist. Meanwhile, a rehearsal was organised for which The Clash drummer, Topper Headon, filled in on drums. Headon was doing this as a favour so that Clarke and Way could rehearse. The ads began showing positive results, cassettes from potential band members arrived; one of these was from a young, Dublin-based singer by the name of Dave King. Clarke was impressed with his voice and financed a trip to London for King and, after an audition together, he became the Fastway vocalist. Ex-Humble Pie member, Jerry Shirley, became the drummer.

The band sent out demo tapes and were approached by CBS Records for a recording deal. Way announced his departure to play bass for Ozzy Osbourne’s Blizzard of Ozz just as they were about to sign the deal, however, CBS had faith in Fastway and decided to sign them despite this setback.

Touring had been strenuous for the band and, upon returning to Britain, they decided to split. Clarke stayed in London and soon received a call from King about giving Fastway another go. Clarke agreed and moved to Irelandmarker. With another album for CBS in view, they rehearsed with three of King's friends, guitarist and keyboard player Shane Carroll, drummer Alan Connor and Paul Reid on bass. The record label was happy with the sound and had them record at London’s Abbey Road Studiosmarker, releasing Waiting For The Roar in 1986.

Clarke toured America with Fastway, supporting AC/DC, followed by a lengthy European tour, which produced 1992's Say What You Will - Live album. Fastway were also engaged to provide music for the Trick Or Treat film soundtrack, for which they composed the title track and performed "Heft" and "If You Could See" from their albums.

Later days

After the band split up again, Clarke moved back to London and met up with Lea Hart, a solo artist in the Far East. Clarke's record deals had now expired, so the pair took a demo tape to Douglas Smith (Clarke’s former Motörhead manager) at GWR Records, who willingly signed a deal. Still using the name Fastway, they recorded the On Target album. It featured Don Airey and Paul Airey on keyboards, Neil Murray on bass, plus Bram Tchaikovsky of The Motors and Christine Byford as backing vocalists.

Clarke's group now consisted of Riff Raff on drums, keyboards and bass, plus assorted friends helping out; Biff Byford and Nigel Glockler of Saxon, Don Airey, and Kim McAuliffe and Kris Bonacci of Girlschool. Following the production of two albums, Clarke and Hart split up.

However, the excesses he had indulged in with Motörhead had taken their toll, and led to Clarke being admitted to hospital, spending time afterwards in recuperation. Having recovered, Clarke released a solo album, It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over, which blends Motörhead and Fastway styles. Lemmy also helped out on the album by writing and singing the track "Laugh At The Devil".

The double CD release, Fast Eddie Clarke Anthology, on Sanctuary Records showcased a collection of Clarke's music spanning his career before and after Motörhead. It also marked a return to live performances with a re-formed Fastway. During summer 2007, the band will be playing festival dates across Europe including an appearance at the UK'smarker Download Festival.

In an interview with Komodo Rock at the Hard Rock Hell Festival in November 2007, Eddie Clark confirmed that he and Toby Jepson would be working on new material for Fastway. He said "Toby and I are going to sit down and maybe do a few tunes over the winter. See if we can write some tunes."

Discography

Albums



Singles

  • 1974 Curtis Knight and Zeus - "Devil Made Me Do It" / "Oh Rainbow"
  • 1974 Curtis Knight and Zeus - "People, Places and Things" / "Mysterious Lady"
  • 1983 Fastway - "Easy Livin’" / "Say What You Will"
  • 1983 Fastway - "Easy Livin’" / "Say What You Will" / "Far, Far From Home"


Guest appearances

  • 1994 J.B.O. BLASTphemie - on "Greetings from Fast Eddie Clarke"
  • 2000 Necropolis End Of The Line - solo on "A Taste For Killing"
  • 2003 Chinchilla Madtropolis - solo on "When The Sand Darkens The Sun"
  • 2005 Masque Look Out - solo on "I've Had Enough Of The Funny Stuff"
  • 2008 Sheep In Wolves' Clothing Motorheadbangers fan club tribute CD - lead guitar on Girlschool's re-mixed version of Motörhead's "Metropolis" song.
  • 2008 Legacy album by Girlschool - lead guitar on their cover version of Motorhead's "Metropolis" song.


Motörhead



References

  1. White Line Fever Lemmy and Janiss Garza pub. Simon & Schuster 2002 p. 162. ISBN 0-684-85868-1
  2. Komodo Rock | Komodo Rock Talks With "Fast" Eddie Clarke Of Fastway


External links




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