By Steve Newton
The heavy-metal world is still in mourning after yesterday’s news that former Motörhead and Fastway guitarist “Fast” Eddie Clarke has passed away from pneumonia at the age of 67.
Clarke was part of the “classic” Motörhead lineup, with also included singer-bassist Lemmy Kilmister and drummer Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor–both of whom died in 2015.
Clarke played on the first five Motörhead albums–1977’s Motörhead, 1979’s Overkill and Bomber, 1980’s Ace of Spades, and 1982’s Iron Fist–before hooking up with former UFO bassist Pete Way to form Fastway. (I liked UFO much more than Motörhead, myself.)
In 1983 I did an interview with Clarke before Fastway’s opening gig with Iron Maiden at the Pacific Coliseum, and asked him if he missed being in Motörhead at that point in his career.
“I do and I don’t,” he offered. “I did start playing the guitar to make serious music, really, and I was hoping that Motörhead would get classier. Because it started pretty rough and it got quite classy at one point. Then I just felt it was going back down again.”
At one point in the interview we started talking about his replacement in Motörhead, former Thin Lizzy guitarist Brian “Robbo” Robertson, which led to talk of “guitar heroes” like ex-Lizzy member Gary Moore. Then Clarke told me that he didn’t want to be a guitar hero, so of course I asked him why not.
“Well, I want to be a member of a really hot band,” he replied. “I don’t want to just go out and put a band around my guitar playing. I want to put a band around the songs.”
R.I.P. “Fast” Eddie