In Memory Of “Fast” Eddie Clarke – 5 October 1950 to 10 January 2018

Review by Nathan McLeod: It is still hard to believe that a month has passed since the great “Fast” Eddie Clarke of “Motorhead” & “Fastway” has passed away. And with just a little over two years since the late & great Philthy “Animal” Taylor & “Lemmy” Kilmister passed away respectively in 2015. “Fast” Eddie’s untimely death was also truly a grim beginning for 2018 in my opinion.

I never knew Eddie as I did “Philthy” & “Lemmy” over the years. Never did even get to meet the bloke. Did get to see Eddie with during the “Iron Fist” tour & with “Fastway” during the “All Fired Up” tour. And spoke to Eddie briefly on his Facebook page on his 66th birthday wishing him a happy birthday & a “thank you” response.

“Fast” Eddie Clarke was & will always be one of my personal guitar faves & influences! I can still remember hearing the “Motorhead” song off their self-titled “Motorhead” album forty years ago & had that immediate WOW affect on me, & as a very young kid too. Until this turning point in my life, I had not heard anything like this before. Not in early-1978 anyways. “Motorhead” themselves were barely known after three short years of existence. Then again, no one was doing WTF “Motorhead” was doing, & in 1975. Well, maybe some were to some extent, but not with the heaviness & raspyn.

You see, for me, “Motorhead” was the first band that I had discovered that just blew me the fuck away upon hearing them. And it just wasn’t lets say Philthy’s drumming, Eddie’s guitar playing, nor Lemmy’s vocals & bass that stuck out. It was everything as a whole! It was the dynamics of all three men that accented one another that created the unique “Motorhead” style & sound. And it was fucking heavy! Have a listen: … And since we are taking about the man “Fast” Eddie himself, listen to the iconic dirty bluesy guitar solo! The if you may, just listen to “Philthy’s” erratic & heavy hitting drums, then onto Lemmy’s bass that was basically a cross between a bass sound & crunchy rhythm guitar, (and played like a guitar). Then of course Lemmy’s raspy hoarse vocals.

But come on ladies & gents, I think most would actually say that if this were late-1977 to early-1978 & they heard what I just described, most would have been turned off, let alone in 1975 when “Motorhead” formed. They weren’t everyone’s cup of tea for that era, that’s for sure. Take someone like myself & a lotta others that lets say are eccentric, different, out casted, well, something like ‘Motorhead” was right up our alley’s. In addition, pull the blinders off & listen to the supreme & superb musicianship as singular & as a unit! WOW!!! Blown away!!!

At this juncture, sure, as you can probably imagine I was like, “who the fuck are these guys”, ‘where are they from”, & “where can I hear more”?! Wasn’t long before I am bugging my mom to go to the record store & find this album. Take a stroll down memory lane & have a listen: …

“Motorhead” plain & simple were fucking as genius as they were innovators of a new era of “metal”, & whether they knew it or not, “Motorhead” did! And upon hearing the entire “Motorhead” album, (thanks mom!), the album got better, in my opinion. The title track was just a teaser I thought.

“Keep Us On The Road”: & “White Line Fever”: … really defined “Motorhead” as “Motorhead”! In my opinion also, the “Snaggletooth” logo of theirs was extravagant! Deadly! Bold! And sent a statement alone.

As we move on here, yes, once again with each “Motorhead” release, I was hooked! They got better & better with the  call five “Fast” Eddie studio albums with ‘Motorhead’. And onto now my top live album ever released: “No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith”!!! The original as well as the deluxe version. Fuck, it just got better, richer, when the deluxe version was released & getting to hear more classics like “Bite The Bullet / The Chase Is Better Than The Catch”: & “Jailbait”: … Whether people knew this or not, “Motorhead’s” only #1 album to date is: “No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith” !!! A “live” album…..

Eddie I thought was not a bad vocalist either with his number “Step Down” from “Bomber”: … Know what else is great about “Step Down”? The guitar solo! That dirty blues scratchy signature “Fast” Eddie sound written all over it. Just as most his solos were. A lotta the rhythms thru out “Motorhead” were based upon “Blues” backrounded styles. Add a gram of speed & a fifth of “Jack Daniels”, & voila, the heavier this “Blues-based” material became. No different than most of “Metallica’s – Kill ‘Em All” album. Of the “classic” era of “Motorhead”, “Bomber”:  & “No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith” are my faves.

Admitingly I was bummed when “Fast” Eddie left “Motorhead”. And thought “Fastway” was OK. Their “Say What You Will” hit from the self-titled debut album was good: … Nice collaboration of musicians with “Pete Way” from “UFO / Waysted” on bass, “Jerry Shirley” from “Humble Pie” on drums, & an unknown young “Irish” vocalist of “Dave King”. Who I honestly thought was an alright vocalist. His style fit perfectly with the “Fastway” type of hard rock / heavy metal they were. Great discovery there, Eddie.

Honestly after the “All Fired Up” & “Trick Or Treat” movie soundtrack efforts, I really could not get into the “Fastway” material. And these last two were pivotal at best with me. It’s not saying that what Eddie did beyond this with “Fastway” was bad. No, just did not appeal to my heavier more hardcore approach to music was all.

Anyhow, thank you Mr. “Fast” Eddie Clarke for you outstanding contributions in the metal & rock world that brought us some kick ass years of music. You’re very much respected & missed by many! You will always be one of my fave axemen that ever lived.

Rest In Peace…

“Fast” Eddie Clarke Wikipedia –
“Fast” Eddie Clarke Official Facebook –
“Fast” Eddie Clarke Fan Page –
“Fast” Eddie Clarke Metal Archives –
Fastway Website –
Motorhead Website –