30 Guitar & Bass SEPTEMBER 2011 SpeedThrills
With his band Fastway resurrected and a cracking new CD fresh out, one-time Motörhead guitarist ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke is busy working his way back up through the gears. Interview by Pete Langman
FAST EDDIE INTERVIEW
orry mate, I’m old. I tend to babble on a bit about the old days,’ Eddie Clarke chuckles at home in Twickenham. Chatting with Eddie is an uplifting
Eddie’s first experience of seeing himself on Top Of The Pops – with Motörhead’s cover of Louie Louie – is one example of just how desperate things were. Moonlighting as a decorator in order to make ends meet, Eddie found himself with paintbrush in hand at the very moment that his band’s performance came on the television. ‘That was funny. The people’s faces were a picture. I was standing there in my overalls and I had experience – the stories and jokes come at you as thick and fast as the machinegun riffs for which he’s famous. He’s playing better than ever with the newest incarnation of his Fastway project, but there’s still something romantic about hearing the tales of three British boys – Ian ‘Lemmy’ Kilminster, Phil ‘Philthy Animal’ Taylor and ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke – who changed the world of rock’n’roll forever.
to say: “Excuse me, could I quickly watch the telly? I’m on in a minute.”’
‘When I first played with Motörhead I used to say to myself: is this a real band?’
‘When I first played with them I used to say to myself: is this a real band?’ Eddie laughs. ‘Phil would be clumping about on the drums, speeding out of his head, Lemmy was playing his bass like a rhythm guitar, and I’d be trying to tag along. After a couple of rehearsals I remember taking a cassette home with all this rehearsal noise on it to my girlfriend and saying to her: “Does this sound like a band to you?” She said: “Well, not really!” But over time we worked it and got some great albums and some great songs out of it.’
But the success of Louie Louie led to the recording of the iconic Overkill album, and thus began Motörhead’s road to success. ‘I remember
Lemmy and I at our first gig at the Hammersmith Odeon and we were quite nervous and we were saying to each other: “Man, we’ve made it to Hammersmith, fucking hell.” It really was a landmark for us. We were like kids – even though I was in my mid-20s and
They surely did, although initially Motörhead had to bludgeon the British record industry into accepting their brand of high-speed rock’n’roll. ‘It was tough for us, but it was the ’70s and you could live on a scrap of bread. We put the band together and we kept going by doing little shows. We’d play the Marquee or we’d do the Greyhound – there were always little gigs you could do to make a crust. But with Motörhead we couldn’t get a record deal because nobody wanted to sign a band that had long hair, bullet belts, leather jackets and a crowd of Hell’s Angels behind them. That made it very difficult for us.
‘We had a manager at one point called Tony Secunda – he used to manage Marc Bolan and Steeleye Span. In fact, when we were in his office, he had just signed Chrissie Hynde. He had a good ear, but he just couldn’t get a bloody record deal for us and it almost drove him to ruin… well, he did sort of end up ruined!’ Eddie recalls. ‘Of course, eventually when we got on Bronze Records and the albums started to sell, they were all over us then.’
‘I have my 1975 Fender Strat which I used with Motörhead,’ Eddie says. ‘That always gave me a bit of edge to get over the top of Lemmy’s very trebly bass sound. And I also have a goldtop Les Paul which is a bit softer and mellower and syncs in nicely with a more typical bass guitar sound.’
FEBRUARY 2012 Guitar & Bass 31