WORMZ Obituaries

Fast Eddie Clarke

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Fast Eddie Clarke died aged sixty-seven on 10th January 2018 in a hospital where he was being treated for pneumonia.photo of Eddie Clarke
Eddie Clarke played guitar as a youth and by the time he was fifteen years old, he had played in a number of local bands including 'The Bitter End'. Eddie continued playing local gigs until 1973, when he turned professional by joining Curtis Knight's blues prog rock band, Zeus, as lead guitarist. Eddie recorded the album Sea of Time with Zeus. Later with guitarist friend Allan Callan, keyboard player Nicky Hogarth, and drummer Chris Perry, Eddie attended a recorded jam session at Command Studios in London's Piccadilly. 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, Eddie, Hogarth and Perry left Zeus to focus on their own project.

Eddie 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 the band split up. Still out to secure a record deal, Eddie then formed a group with Nicky Hogarth from Blue Goose, bass player Tony Cussons and drummer Terry Slater. Eddie was working on re-fitting a houseboat, when he met drummer Phil Taylor. Taylor had recently joined Motörhead and introduced Eddie to Lemmy and it was not long before he was playing with them.

Eddie left Motörhead in 1982, whilst on a tour of the United States. 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 took turns in covering each other's songs and Eddie felt that this compromised the band's principles and resigned. According to Joel McIver, Eddie himself later denied this version of events and had said: "[Philthy] was the main instigator in my being excluded from the band. Notice I do not call it leaving, as it was not my choice. I had imagined dying onstage with Motörhead, so it was a blow when they didn’t want me in the band any longer." Eddie was replaced by former Thin Lizzy and Wild Horses lead guitarist Brian Robertson after Anvil frontman Steve "Lips" Kudlow turned down the offer to play with Motörhead. Eddie's last gig with Motörhead took place at the New York Palladium on 14 May 1982. Another cameo from Eddie on a later Motörhead album was on 2000s Live at Brixton Academy, released in 2003, on which the band featured many guest appearances from other guitarists, of which he was one.

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 Eddie Clarke and Way could rehearse. The ads began showing positive results, cassettes from potential band members arrived; one of these was from a young singer named Dave King. Eddie was impressed with his voice and financed a trip to London for King and, after an audition together, King 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 just as they were about to sign the deal, but CBS had faith in Fastway and decided to sign them despite this setback.

Eddie 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.

After the Fastway split up again, Eddie moved back to London and met up with Lea Hart, a solo artist in the Far East. Eddie'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.

Eddie 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 Cris 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 Eddie Clarke being admitted to hospital, spending time afterwards in recuperation. Having recovered, he 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 Deimage of Eddie Clarkevil".

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

In 2014, Eddie Clarke went back to his blues roots and released a new studio album through Secret Records. Make My Day – Back To Blues was a collaboration between Clarke and the keyboardist from Shakatak, Bill Sharpe. Eddie also played guitar on the 2017 Warfare album by Evo released on High Roller Records.

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song:'Walking Too Slow' by Eddie Clarke