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"Fast" Eddie Clarke, founder and lead guitarist of Fastway
|Genres||Hard rock, heavy metal|
|Associated acts||UFO, Motörhead, Flogging Molly, Katmandu, Humble Pie|
|Past members||"Fast" Eddie Clarke|
In 1983, both guitarist "Fast" Eddie Clarke and bassist Pete Way had become disgruntled with their own bands and decided to work together in a new outfit. They recruited drummer Jerry Shirley, formerly of Humble Pie, and the then-unknown vocalist Dave King. They took their name from a combination of the founding members' names. However, Way then discovered that he could not escape from his recording contract with Chrysalis Records and then received a tempting offer to play for Ozzy Osbourne, so he abandoned the project without ever playing on a single record. Bringing in session bassist Mick Feat, the band then recorded their debut album, Fastway (1983) (Feat was uncredited on the album).
After critical and commercial success, the band toured to promote the album (with one-time Fixx bassist Alfie Agius as their session bass player). The band then recruited Richard McCracken, formerly of Taste, as "permanent" bassist, and released another success in the form of All Fired Up the following year. After the hardships of touring, Shirley and McCracken subsequently left.
In 1985, Clarke and King reformed Fastway with a new line-up. Recruiting Shane Carroll (second guitar), Paul Reid (bass), and Alan Connor (drums) from Dave King's first band, Stillwood, this line-up released Waiting for the Roar. The record took an album-oriented rock approach instead of the driving bluesy-metal of the previous albums. The success of the record was limited, and it disappointed many fans. The same year, Fastway was approached to make the soundtrack for the heavy metal horror film, Trick or Treat. The film flopped, but the soundtrack re-established Fastway as a hard-hitting metal band. The soundtrack was a moderate success and stayed on the Billboard Top 200 chart for eleven months. The success of the soundtrack, combined with the little money the band received, caused in-fighting, and the group disbanded. King took most of the band with him and started Q.E.D., a more AOR-styled outfit. They released a two-track single.
King then got a call from David Geffen and John Kalodner to come to the United States to head up a heavy metal "supergroup" called Katmandu. Katmandu also featured Mandy Meyer from Krokus on guitars. The band was rounded out by Caine Carruthers of the soul band The Untouchables, and Mike Alonso of the Detroit rock band The Meanies. Katmandu released one self-titled album and had a couple of minor hits. Dave King would go on to form and front the successful Los Angeles-based Celtic punk band Flogging Molly.
Meanwhile, Clarke decided to restart Fastway again from scratch in 1988 using vocalist Lea Hart and session men, quickly releasing On Target in the same year, but it sold poorly.
In 1990, this duo of Clarke and Hart released Bad Bad Girls, employing various session musicians including members of Girlschool. It was widely ignored and sold poorly. After calling it a day in 1991, they released a perfunctory live album Say What You Will LIVE (an older recording, curiously with King on vocals). In 1997, Clarke and Hart reunited and released a reworked version of On Target, but there was no commercial success.
On 25 May 2007, Toby Jepson, former lead singer with Little Angels, announced he had accepted an approach from Fastway to perform lead vocal duties during the year's festival appearances. An updated line-up played the Sweden Rock Festival, Japanese Hard Rock Hell, and the Download Festival at Castle Donington. Besides guitarist Clarke and Jepson, the new band featured drummer Steve Strange (not to be confused with Visage singer Steve Strange) and John McManus (Mama's Boys).
In an interview with Komodo Rock at the Hard Rock Hell Festival in November 2007, Eddie Clark confirmed that he and Toby Jepson would be working on new material. 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." In 2008, Toby Jepson announced he would go on to front Scottish hard rockers Gun full-time.
In late 2010, "Fast" Eddie Clarke returned to the recording studio to record a new album with Toby Jepson, titled Eat Dog Eat. The album was released on 14 November 2011, by SPV/Steamhammer, and it is the first album of entirely new material from Fastway in over twenty years.
Clarke died on 10 January 2018, after a battle with pneumonia at the age of 67. No official statement about the disbandment or the future of Fastway has been made following his death. Two years and seven months later Way died on 14 August 2020.
- Studio albums
- Fastway (1983) #31 US
- All Fired Up (1984)
- Waiting for the Roar (1986)
- Trick or Treat (1986)
- On Target (1988)
- Bad Bad Girls (1990)
- Eat Dog Eat (2011)
- Singles and EPs
- We Become One (1983)
- Say What You Will (1983)
- Easy Livin' (1983)
- All Fired Up (1984)
- Tell Me (1984)
- The Stranger (1984)
- The World Waits For You (1986)
- A Fine Line (1988)
- I've Had Enough (1990)
- Bad Bad Girls (1990)
- Colin Larkin, ed. (1995). The Guinness Who’s Who of Heavy Metal (Second ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 131/2. ISBN 0-85112-656-1.
- Fast Eddie Clarke Archived 3 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine article by Alan Burridge. Retrieved on 9 June 2007.
- "Talks With "Fast" Eddie Clarke Of Fastway". Komodo Rock. 19 November 2007. Archived from the original on 13 October 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-26.
- "Motorhead's 'Fast' Eddie Clarke dies". Bbc.com. 11 January 2018.