“Fast” Eddie Clarke, the Motörhead guitarist featured on many of the band’s classic albums and a founding member of Fastway, died Wednesday. He was 67.
The group confirmed Clarke’s death on Facebook, noting that he was in the hospital for pneumonia.
“We are devastated to pass on the news we only just heard ourselves earlier tonight. Edward Allan Clarke – or as we all know and love him Fast Eddie Clarke – passed away peacefully yesterday,” the group wrote. “Fast Eddie…keep roaring, rockin’ and rollin’ up there as goddamit man, your Motörfamily would expect nothing less!!!”
Clarke came into the Motörhead fold after drummer Phil ‘Philthy Animal’ Taylor introduced him to Lemmy, and he replaced original guitarist Larry Wallis. Taylor himself died in November 2015 at the age of 61, and as all rock fans and Motörhead devotees know, Lemmy passed a month later, at 70.
Clarke played on Motörhead’s eponymous debut album, released by Chiswick in 1977, and their next four releases, the 1979 sets Overkill and Bomber, 1980’s celebrated Ace Of Spades and the aforementioned Iron Fist. After leaving the band, he formed Fastway, with former UFO bass player Pete Way. Signed to CBS, they had modest chart success on both sides of the Atlantic. They returned in 2011 with the album Dog Eat Dog.
Clarke also made 1994’s It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over in his own name and guested with such bands as Saxon and Thor. Saxon posted on social media: “We’ve just heard our good friend Fast Eddie Clarke has died. Our thoughts go out to his loved ones and family. He will be greatly missed, but he’s gone to join Phil and Lemmy. We have great memories of our times with him.”
With Motörhead, Clarke played with loose, rock & roll abandon, as his guitar roared around frontman Lemmy Kilmister’s lead bass; his guitar solos were like Chuck Berry at 78 R.P.M. He took that style in a more metallic direction with Fastway, a more commercial hard-rock band he formed with former UFO bassist Pete Way. Where Motörhead’s grit achieved more success in the UK, Fastway’s slicker image, built on Clarke’s rock & roll riffs, resonated with American headbangers in the mid Eighties.
“Such a shock. He will be remembered for his iconic riffs and was a true rock n roller. RIP Eddie,” wrote Phil Campbell, one of Clarke’s replacements on guitar in Motörhead.
This story is developing. and