RIP "Fast" Eddie Clarke
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Thursday, 11 January 2018 11:35

All of us at Fastway HQ are absolutely heartbroken to have to post this - we have lost a legend.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends. He will be sorely missed.

RIP Fast Eddie

Eddie Clarke 1950-2018

I've tried to write this post all morning. I've kept scrubbing it out and starting again.
Really difficult to put into words my feelings of sadness about the passing of my friend and band mate Eddie.

I met Eddie over 10 years ago when I was asked by a mutual friend, to take part in the first revival of his band Fastway.
It was a pivotal moment in my life as it got me back onto big stages for the first time in years and introduced me to a whole new bunch of friends that have helped re-shape me in so many positive ways.

From the off, Ed and I got on very well, but I was in awe of him, as I'd spent one memorable summer as a teenaged pool hall attendant listening to nothing else but that famed and incredible first Fastway record. He was unlike anyone I'd ever met: he was tough, uncompromising, witheringly honest and fiercely intelligent as well as being one of the funniest people I'd encountered; Stories of his Motörhead days had me and the other guys in stiches!!!! Haha! Just remembering them now makes me howl!
It was, not to put to find a point on it, a baptism by fire, but we recognised a kindred spirit in each other that allowed us to spark through the periods we worked together. The first run of shows was breathtakingly fun and put him back in front of audiences that could marvel in his unique playing and that incredible sound he managed to make - to this day I haven't heard a better live guitar sound. I also consider some of the shows we did some of the best I've ever done in my career. The songs were a challenge in ways I didn't expect and really made me raise my game - a tribute to Ed' s songwriting prowess also.

Later, we made an album together under the Fastway banner - 'Eat Dog, Eat', which was, I know, something really important to him. He hadn't been in the best of places when he made the last Fastway album and so I think he saw it as a way of making things right for himself and to hopefully go some way to rediscovering his passion for the idea. I'll be honest, it was a tough session for us all, but he put his heart and soul and finance into making it and took it really seriously as well as trusting in me, which is something I will always be grateful for.
I still love that album, Eddie had such a clear vision of what he wanted, and despite it not being to everyone's taste - what is? - his approach and determination left an indelible mark on the recordings and me. Above all, I know he loved it and in typical Eddie fashion, he couldn't give a toss what others thought about it, if they didn't like it? F**k em!
That's good enough for me. Singular minded, uncompromising.

We went out on the Saxon UK tour with Girlschool in the winter of 2015, primarily because I think he needed to have one final go. He was already suffering quite badly with a lung complaint which was obviously very difficult for him, but he got on those stages every night and played his heart out. It was incredible to watch those audiences react to him and hear them chant his name. A man truly worthy of the 'icon' label. It was especially poignant as Lemmy hadn't long passed away and I'm certain he was doing the tour partly for his old mate and above all the fans.

Eddie was a giant of a man, an old school player who literally changed the musical landscape with his incendiary riffs. Not many can truly say that. An intellect without measure and a quick wit (why do you think they called him 'Fast' Eddie?) yes, he could be stubborn and hard to handle at times, but it was always for a solid reason and it was never malicious. I respected him thoroughly despite our different temperaments as you always knew where you stood with him. Above all, he could be the best support you could ever ask for, a strong hearted mate that would stand in your corner and I never experienced him baring a grudge; he said what he needed to say and moved on. Like I say, uncompromisingly honest.

Eddie had an enormous effect on my life, taught me so much, changed me, and I'll never forget him and cherish the times we were firing on all cylinders and enjoying every moment we spent on stage together with Steve and John. He was the glue that bonded us all together.

I last talked to him the week before this Christmas, when he rang me and enthusiastically talked about repackaging the 'Eat Dog, Eat' record. He wanted me to get back involved and help re-edit the album, even talked about re-recording some parts and give it an anniversary release. I would have been happy to do so in a heart beat. Sadly that won't happen now.

My eternal thanks Ed
Rock on brother X

Toby Jepson

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 January 2018 14:26