Motorhead

Edward Allan Clarke better known as “Fast” Eddie Clarke, is a guitarist who was a member of British heavy metal bands Fastway and Motorhead.

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 band, Zeus, as lead guitarist. In 1974, the band recorded an album called The Second Coming at Olympic Studios. Clarke wrote the music to Knight lyrics, on a track entitled “The Confession”.

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.

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 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 Motorhead 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 Ai not Over Till It is Over, which blends Motorhead 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 Motorhead. 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’s Download Festival.

In an interview with Komodo Rock at the Hard Rock Hell Festival in November 2007, Eddie Clarke 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.”

Clarke left Motorhead in 1982, whilst on 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 take turns in covering each other’s songs, Clarke felt that this compromised the band’s principles and resigned, Clarke was replaced by former Thin Lizzy and Wild Horses lead guitarist Brian Robertson after Anvil frontman Lips (Steve Kudlow) turned down the offer to play with Motorhead. Clarke last gig with Motorhead took place at the New York Palladium on May 14, 1982.

Another cameo from Clarke on a later Motorhead 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”.

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