Classic Motörhead guitarist Fast Eddie Clarke has died at 67 after a battle with pneumonia. Of Motörhead’s classic lineup, which consisted of Lemmy, himself and Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor, he was the last surviving member. Guns N’ Roses members Axl Rose, Slash, and Duff McKagan have tweeted out their condolences.
Clarke was working on re-fitting a houseboat, when he met drummer Phil Taylor. Taylor had recently joined Motörhead and introduced Clarke to Lemmy; it was not long before he was playing with them. In the early days Eddie rehearsed with Motörhead, before going on the road, at Snobs Rehearsal Studios, part of a converted brewery on the corner of Kings Road and Lots Road, Chelsea, known as the “Furniture Cave”. Motörhead’s popularity increased along with their UK chart successes. The threesome (Lemmy, Clarke, Taylor) are considered the classic Motörhead line-up and have the Motörhead, Overkill, Ace of Spades, Bomber, No Sleep ’til Hammersmith and Iron Fist albums plus a string of hit singles to their credit. He performed a lead vocal on five Motörhead songs: “Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers” (on which he traded vocals with Lemmy), “I’m Your Witchdoctor” (on which he duets vocals with Lemmy), “Step Down” and an alternative version of “Stone Dead Forever” (which later appeared on the Bomber Deluxe Edition), and “Emergency” one of the B-side tracks on The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre EP, upon which they performed “Please Don’t Touch”, with Girlschool, under the combined band names of HeadGirl.
Clarke left Motörhead in 1982, whilst on tour of the United States. Becoming unhappy at the results of the Iron Fist album, the recording sessions with the Plasmatics were the final straw. For the B-side of the Stand By Your Man EP the bands took turns in covering each other’s songs, Clarke felt that this compromised the band’s principles and resigned, Clarke was replaced by former Thin Lizzy and Wild Horses lead guitarist Brian Robertson after Anvil frontman Steve “Lips” Kudlow turned down the offer to play with Motörhead. Clarke’s last gig with Motörhead took place at the New York Palladium on 14 May 1982. Another cameo from Clarke on a later Motörhead album was on 2000s Live at Brixton Academy, released in 2003, on which the band featured many guest appearances from other guitarists, of which he was one, playing on the songs “No Class”, “The Chase Is Better Than the Catch” and “Overkill”.
RIP Fast Eddie Clarke
— Axl Rose (@axlrose) January 11, 2018
RIP Fast Eddie.
— Duff McKagan (@DuffMcKagan) January 11, 2018
Very sorry to hear today the sad news about Eddie Clarke… his iconic riffs inspired many and will remain dear in our hearts…. RIP FAST EDDIE CLARKE
— Phil Campbell (@MotorheadPhil) January 11, 2018