Fast Eddie Clarke : Chomping At The Bit



By Jeb Wright, April 2012

Fast Eddie Clarke is a true rock and roll icon. Most known for his role as guitarist in Motorhead, Clarke also had success with the band Fastway, which he founded with UFO’s Pete Way. Now, Clarke has resurrected the Fastway name and on April 10th will release the first studio album by the band since 1990.

Fastway began a comeback in 2007 and 2008 when they played some high profile gigs in the UK. They recorded new tunes at that time but it took several years to complete the album due to constant interruptions. Usually, when that happens the music suffers but in this case, it had the fine wine effect and actually got better with age. Fastway’s new music is loud, aggressive and full of Ed’s wah-wah soaked solos.

In the interview that follows, it is obvious to see that Fast Eddie and I made a connection. The longer we talked the more open Eddie became. What started out as an interview about a new album turned into Fast Eddie Clarke 101. We delved deep into subjects not often discussed including how Motorhead formed, how they broke up, how Fastway came to be, why Pete Way disappeared and everything else in-between.

Fast Eddie Clarke has nothing to lose by telling the truth and he laid it all out in this interview. His charm comes shining through and his honesty is spellbinding. The tale of being the butt of the joke concerning the Plasmatics will have your eyes watering with laughter until you realize that this was the final straw and the reason Eddie left Motorhead.

Clarke openly discusses how he felt when he realized Motorhead was a thing of the past for him and he recounts the numerous problems he had with keeping Fastway together.

The interview that follows is informative, interesting and insightful. It will make you laugh at times and shake your head in disbelieve at other times. The important thing to remember, at the end of this massive read, is that Fast Eddie Clarke is back with a new album that was made for the right reasons and represents what was best from era of music from which it was spawned.


 

Jeb: You actually wrote these songs a few years ago and played a few festivals, then you went away. Now you’re back.

Eddie: We played some festivals in 2007 and 2008 and then we stopped to write this album. Toby Jepson then went off to do some other things and we didn’t meet again until 2009. Toby was playing with Dio Disciples.

Jeb: You must be chomping at the bit to get out on the road.

Eddie: I would really, really like to get something happening in the States.

Jeb: I would love to see that. I think the album is good enough for a proper tour and it is coming out here on April 10th so why not? I think you’ve got the best sounding band since the debut album.

Eddie: The first record was fantastic and I think this is the best album we have done since the first one. If this one had been the follow up to the first album then we would have been off and running and never looked back.

Jeb: One song that could have been on the first album is “Leave the Light On.”

Eddie: That came along later in the process – well I say that but in 2008, we had all the ideas down. We did some rehearsals with the drummer and we did some vocals. When we went to record them we thought that we only needed ten songs, so we left the backing track to “Leave the Light On” to one side. We finished the ten songs and then we got a deal with this German company called SPV and they said that they wanted us to include another song. We said that we didn’t have another one but then we remembered that track. Toby did some vocals on it and I did some guitars and we added it to the album. “Leave the Light On” nearly got left off.

Jeb: That is a great accident!

Eddie: “Say What You Will” on the first album was very similar, as it was the last song we wrote for the album. They said they needed one more song and we were like, “Oh fuck, what are we going to do?” We threw the thing together and we didn’t like the song, so we put it on the B side. It really was one of the bands’ least liked tracks when we cut it. We cut it in New York in Sterling Studios. George Marino, the guy who recorded it, looked at us and said, “Man that is a great track. That is going to be a hit.” Jerry Shirley and I looked at each other and said, “We don’t like this one very much.” George said, “This is going to be a smash.” It ended up being the biggest track we ever had in America. They tell me they’re still playing it today. I think it just shows that us musicians don’t know fuck because we’re so stupid [laughter].

Jeb: Judas Priest has a similar story for “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’.” It was a last minute thrown together song. Sometimes that hurry up attitude can turn out some great stuff as you don’t have time to think about it.

Eddie: “Say What You Will” has a certain kind of simplicity to it. Musicians want to be a bit clever so you do all these fancy bits that only you and other musicians get, but the listening public doesn’t get them. When we do a quick one and don’t have time to be clever then it makes much more sense to the listening public. We are a bit like that; we like to show off when we can.

Jeb: If you didn't like "Say What You Will" then how did you feel about having to play it every night after it became a hit?

Eddie: When I said we didn’t like the song it was because we thought at the time of writing it that the track was too simple. Musicians like to make things complicated to show them in a better light. Once we realized people loved it, we loved it and I can’t remember a night where I did not love playing it.

Jeb: Is it exciting for you to have this release coming out in the USA?

Eddie: I told the record company to get it out earlier if they could because I really can’t wait. Toby is very excited, as well, but I think I am even more excited.

We released the album in Germany but we never meant much in Germany. I think the Motorhead fans held it against me that I was no longer in Motorhead, even though it was not my fault.

When we put the first album out, we played over here and we were only selling out about two thirds of the venue. We were dying. Someone called us from the States and said that we were huge over there and that people were playing the B side of our 12 inch single and that we needed to get our asses over there and play some shows. America saved Fastway's life.

Jeb: Who was the initial tour with?

Eddie: We initially toured with Iron Maiden and Saxon. Saxon supported me when I was in Motorhead, so that was kind of nice because we knew each other and we fell in well. The first gig was in Casper, Wyoming. We got off the plane and we were in middle of nowhere and we walked out of the gate and people were yelling, “Hey, Fast Eddie!” I thought, “How in the fuck do they know who I am?” This was back in 1983 and MTV was just getting big then. We had thrown together a video together before we left and they were playing it. It was fabulous, actually. After that, we went on tour with AC/DC and we did three months with them.

Jeb: What a great band.

Eddie: They were fantastic and it was a brilliant time. Are they not the best rock band in the world?

Jeb: I have never heard anyone say they hated AC/DC.

Eddie: You just can’t help but like them because they are always right on the money. They are the epitome of simple. Angus [Young] is just a great guitar player and Brian Johnson has a great voice and Malcolm [Young] writes great songs. Every night when we didn’t have to be moving on, I used to stay and watch them. I couldn’t always stay for the entire show but I used to like to stay for the cannons. I knew the guy who used to put the powder in the cannons and sometimes he would put a bit of extra powder [laughter].

Jeb: The new album is called Eat Dog Eat, most people say “dog eat dog.”

Eddie: Even I do, as well. We were in the studio and trying to come up with names for the album. Toby came up with this one. I still, to this day, don’t quite know what Toby meant when he said to call it that. This is the one that came to the forefront. We did the cover like we did because of that.

Jeb: I hope this album does well but the honest truth is that classic hard rock is a hard sell for new material in the USA.

Eddie: I think it is everywhere. In England, it is almost dead and buried but Europe is still flying the flag. They still have a bit of a hardcore audience there. We have the Download Festival but even that is changing slightly.

Jeb: I think this album is the best since the debut. When people hear it they will like it but the hard thing is to get people to hear it.

Eddie: All I can do is to try to talk to as many people as possible. If people do get to hear it then maybe it will get a bit of momentum. I’m not fooling myself, as I know it has all changed out there. The record companies are running scared, aren’t they?

Their heyday was when they put out CDs, as they got to remarket everything and it really didn’t cost them a penny. They made hundreds of millions of dollars a year then. Before that, they didn’t make all that much money. If you could pay the wages and get a few quid out of it then everyone went home happy. You could bring new acts on and try it again because there was not this huge greed mentality. Once they made all of those hundreds of millions of dollars then they wanted to keep making them, so all of the corporations got involved. If they only make five million dollars in a year then that is not good enough for them. I think that’s crazy. I think the music industry is a bit of a joke. I don’t know where the next round of musicians are going to come from because there is no incentive. Bands have to pay to play here; it’s ridiculous. There is no incentive for them to play.

Jeb: You have an audience built already, so I would think you are taking a more hands on approach to marketing this album.

Eddie: That’s right; I paid for everything on the album. We have been slightly helped by the distributor over in the USA. I told them to send me a box of albums and I will get on the case and talk to people. It really is a very hand’s on thing now. In the USA, I have heard things are more streamlined and that the gigs have all the equipment ready for you when you get there. I think that helps.

Jeb: The opening riff of “Sick as a Dog” is great.

Eddie: That is almost a Motorhead song, that one. It really reminds me of Motorhead. I had not done anything for a long time, so I had a load of ideas. When Toby and I sat down I said, “What do you think of this one?” We did it and I said, “Oh blimey, another great one.” Toby matched me with his vocals.

Jeb: Were you impressed with Toby right off the bat?

Eddie: When we were putting this thing together back in 2007, there is an old drummer I knew, who is now Coldplay’s agent. He has made an awful lot of money and he contacted me and said, “Listen mate, I want to put Fastway back together. I’ll pay for it all. All you have to do is turn up with your guitar.” I said, “I can do that.” Since he was an agent, he got us all of these great festivals. We didn’t have a singer and he said, “I know this guy named Toby Jepson from The Little Angels.” I knew of The Little Angels from the early 1990’s.

Toby came down to rehearsals and he’s a singer, you know what singers are like, they’re a pain in ass. If they are not a pain in the ass then they can’t be much good [laughter.] It’s like guitarists; they’ve got to be very moody and they are always looking unhappy – that’s a guitarist. You can tell the guitarist in a band because he’s the one who doesn’t smile very much. The drummer is the one who smiles all the fucking time [laughter].

Anyway, Toby was a nice bloke straight away and he had to sing all of Dave’s [original vocalist Dave King] stuff, so we had to detune a little bit; we moved it down a semi-tone. He did a great job on those songs. They were not his songs and Dave was one hell of a singer. When we did the shows I learned that Toby is really a great front man. All in all, it really worked. Â@

Jeb: Singers are not people you have been able to keep around during your career.

Eddie: What has kept me out of the business for all of these years is not being able to find a singer. I’ve had some bad luck with singers in the past. I was a bit damaged in the ‘90’s. Actually, I was bit damaged right up until this album, as I felt let down by people. You go out on a limb for people and they let you down and you wonder where they are coming from.

Jeb: Fastway has been a difficult band since day one when Pete Way left before you even recorded the album.

Eddie: When Pete left it kind of spoiled it. It was our band; we did it together. When he disappeared and then he turned up playing with Ozzy I was devastated. I was like, “Bloody hell.”

Jeb: Was the band ready to record when Pete left?

Eddie: We were on our way. Once again, when I left Motorhead, I was bubbling with riffs. Pete said, “Let’s have a jam” and when we did every jam turned into a song. Pete was there when we got Dave. We did this all together. When he left, I got a bit bitter and twisted and I decided to carry on anyway.

Jeb: Did he really just disappear? Did you know where he went right away or did you find out after the fact?

Eddie: I had no Idea where he had gone. For a couple of days, I was quite worried but then my management told me what was going on. I actually did not believe he had gone with Ozzy; it didn’t really make any sense as I really thought he was 100% committed to our band. I thought it was going really well and I wrongly thought we were good buddies.

Jeb: Did you have words with him when he turned up with Ozzy?

Eddie: I didn’t see Pete again until 1988. I actually ran into him in the street; I kid you not. I was outside of my flat in London and I saw him and said, “Pete, what are you doing here?” He came in and had a cup of tea. It was six years after he left before I saw him again.

Jeb: Did he ever say he was sorry for leaving you high and dry?

Eddie: No, I didn’t push him on it. I really like Pete, he’s a lovely fellow. His biggest problem is that he was too soft and that led to people taking advantage of him. Sharon wanted him in Ozzy’s band and she told him how great it would be and how famous he would be and he took the bait.

There were some issues with his UFO record company, Chrysalis, but it was nothing that we couldn’t have sorted out between us. We got off to a rocky start and then it all got really fucked up. Fastway seemed to be doomed from the start, really.

Jeb: Now that you’re back with 11 new songs you must be chomping at the bit to play live.

Eddie: We are going to have a great set as we are going to have the best of the new ones and the best of the old ones. I would like to play at least six of the news ones if we were the featured band. If we are a support band then we will have only 45 minutes and then that will get a bit tricky.

We actually rehearsed these songs live in the studio and we know they will all work. In real terms, we can really do all of the songs but that would be a bit of a stretch. I even went out and bought a double neck guitar so I can do the Jimmy Page thing on stage too.

Jeb: We have to mention “Freedom Song” from the new album.

Eddie: “Freedom Song” is great, isn’t it? It is a bit of a sleeper. When I came up with the riff I didn’t know what to do with it. Toby heard something in it and we did that one right away. We did the vocals to “Freedom Song” and “Deliver Me” almost on the day we wrote the song. That says something to me that Toby was busting at the gut to sing. We only did three sessions in my little studio here. It was really flowing and it was cooking.

Jeb: Why didn’t you finish the album then?

Eddie: Toby had to leave and do something else because he needed the money, you see. I’ve got a little bit but I ain’t got enough to pay people. My friend, the agent, had disappeared and was off doing stuff with Coldplay, so things really dried up.

Toby had to go and I understood, as he has three daughters and he has to make a living. In 2009, we got in contact again. I told him, “We’ve got these songs and we really shouldn’t let them go to waste. We should go into the studio and record them. I will pay for the sessions and we will take it from there.” He loved the idea and by then he had got out of his system what he thought he wanted to do.

Toby had done a bit of producing, so he knew an engineer and a drummer and he knew all of the modern technology. I am not up on all of that stuff. Doing it that way made it all work out.

Jeb: Do you ever wonder how, after all of these years, you were still able to come up with these new riffs?

Eddie: I think it was because I had a lot of time away. When you have time away, you don’t think anything is happening but when you pick up the guitar, and you are serious about it, then it comes flying out of you. I had no idea that it would come out of me the way it did. Toby and I would just sit down and I would start off on the guitar and I knew exactly where I wanted to go next; it just came naturally. I think that was because I hadn’t done any real songwriting for many years.

I found that to be true with Motorhead, as well. On the first two albums, Overkill and Bomber, the songs came flowing out. On Ace of Spades it got more difficult and by the time we got to Iron Fist it was very difficult. The first Fastway album was very easy but the second album, All Fired Up, was more difficult – you can really hear that in the album; we had to dig it out. It’s still a good album.

My biggest gripe about that album is the production. I really had a row with Eddie Kramer about it as it didn’t sound anything like the first album. I said, “Why would we want to move away from that?” We had a winning formula and the first album sounded really great. We used the same studio and the same equipment but Eddie was in a different place.

When we did the first album, Eddie had not worked for a while, so he kind of did it right down the line, as it was a good opportunity for him. Once that was a success, he went right back to, “Hey man, I’m the great Eddie Kramer.” You can tell that he didn’t pay as much attention to the second album. Quite often, I play the two albums back to back, just to remind myself. The second album sounds nothing like the first one; it hasn’t got it.

Jeb: What besides Eddie Kramer's production sound changed from the first album to the second? Was the attitude of the band different?

Eddie: There are a lot of things that change after a year in a band that has tasted success. I do think Eddie Kramer came up short only because we used the same studios and the same equipment but the second record did not sound as good as the first. Add to that the fact we had been touring for 8 months; I think we needed a bit more time to regroup. The material, at times, was also lacking in finish, by that I mean some of the songs sounded like we had not spent enough time on them. Once again, Eddie had a hand in this by wanting to cut the recording short, so he could get home. Sadly, all these things were part of the story and also personalities were becoming a problem, people getting carried away with our relatively small amount of success. Unfortunately, that is the nature of the beast.

Jeb: I bought those albums off the shelf and I loved the first one a lot. I liked the second one but it was not as good.

Eddie: Eat Dog Eat kind of reminds me of the first album. I’m as high on this album as I was on the first record. When I put it on I find that I end up listening to the entire album. Before you know it, you’re on the last tune.

Jeb: Before you joined Motorhead were you fed up with the music business?

Eddie: I was still chomping at the bit at that time. In my early twenties, I had kind of stopped playing. I used to jam with people and that was about it. I had some trouble with the law and that is when people told me that I needed to get serious about music and change things around.

I auditioned for Curtis Knight’s band and I got the job. Up until then, I was not that serious about music. Once I got in that band, I started to take things more serious. When I got out of Curtis Knight I did a thing that was on Anchor Records but I never finished it, as I fell out with the guys. I, then, did a solo thing and, at the same time, I was working on a houseboat; I was building it. I met Phil [Taylor] because he came and applied for a job on the houseboat. I gave him a job and then we got talking that he was a drummer and we had a jam and we had a bit of fun.

Phil went off and I didn’t hear from him for a while. The next time I did hear from him Phil said, “Hey, I’m in this band called Motorhead and we need another guitar player. I thought you might like to do it.” I went down to rehearsal and I was going to be a rhythm guitarist behind Larry Wallace. Larry didn’t really want to do Motorhead anymore and he left the band right there. He got me in the band so he could exit the band.

Jeb: Talk more about your first day of rehearsal. Rumor has it Larry was late and after one song he left. What really happened?

Eddie: I set up a rehearsal for my audition, that’s the way it was with Motorhead. Phil had taken me over to meet Larry a couple of weeks before so I thought it would be fine. Lemmy, Phil and I started jamming about 3:00pm but Larry had not showed up. Lemmy called every half hour and Larry kept saying he was on his way.

The three of us were having a really good time playing together but at 6:30 the room was booked out to someone else. Fortunately, there was another rehearsal place upstairs, so we moved up there and Larry promised he was on his way. Around 7:30pm Larry showed up. He had a roadie who set up his Fender Twin amp. I only had an AC30 so I couldn’t hear shit. He said hardly anything to anyone, plugged in and started playing a tune off their album, which I fortunately had learned.

The vibe in the room was awful and it got worse but, no lie, we must have played the same song for thirty minutes. Lemmy was getting pissed. Lemmy suggested we do something else and the same thing happened. I am thinking, “I haven’t got this job.” Lemmy, then, took Larry outside and they were gone awhile I packed up my stuff. Phil was totally bemused by all this so we talked about other things. When Larry and Lem returned, I said my farewells, paid for the rehearsal room on my way out and that was that. I am thinking, “That didn’t go very well.”

I heard nothing over the next few days. Phil and Lemmy didn’t have phones, so I figured no gig. Three days later, on a Saturday, there’s this banging on my door. I drag myself out of bed in my underpants, open the door and Lemmy is standing there with a bullet belt in one hand and a leather jacket in the other. He handed them to me with the words, “You’ve got the gig” and then he turned around and off he went. I didn’t know what to think but I was over the moon. It’s always nice to be wanted.

Jeb: What became of your solo album?

Eddie: The money I was making on that boat is what I was using to make my solo album but, once again, I couldn’t find a singer, so I sang it myself. I am not a singer so it never went any further. I ended up putting a couple of tracks on my anthology but it was because of that boat that I met Phil and, as you know, the rest is history.

Jeb: Did you like Hawkwind?

Eddie: I was never a big Hawkwind fan because they didn’t have a lead guitar player. I think that kept me away from them. When I would listen to them I would wonder where the lead guitar was.

Jeb: Motorhead was more punk mixed with Metal. You are more of a hard rock player and soloist. I am wondering if playing Motorhead’s style of music was a challenge.

Eddie: I had to work into it, without a doubt. It was very difficult at first. Phil was having trouble as well. It was a difficult situation as Lemmy set the stage by the way he plays rhythm bass. He really plays the bass like a rhythm guitar so there was no real bass parts in that band, there was just this god awful noise coming from the other side of the stage [laughter]. Of course, that is what made us unique. I was really a blues player as I loved bands like Led Zeppelin. I had to adjust to work with Lemmy. I actually switched from my Les Paul to a Stratocaster as I found that the Strat cut through the sound better. I needed to cut through Lemmy’s sound rather than to try to get louder than Lemmy. The Strat sound is a bit thin but it does cut through and when you run that through a distortion box it sounds rather nice. I really did have to adjust my sound to fit Motorhead’s sound. It took a while to get it right. When we started out we had headlines saying that we were the worst band in the world.

After about twelve months we began to come to grips with it and that is when things started to happen. It really did take a year or so to get settled in but once we were in the saddle then we were off and running.

Jeb: Ted Carroll had Motorhead two days in the studio and you recorded an entire album. That must have been amazing. Describe those two day and any events you remember.

Eddie: The band was close to quitting and we had one more show at the Marquee in London on a Friday night in April 1977. We asked Ted to record the gig, as it might be our last and he said he couldn’t pay the type of money the Marquee wanted for recording there. Ted suggested we make a single and he would pay. Speedy Keen, from Thunderclap Newman, organized a studio in Kent and drove us down there after the gig. We got there about 2:00am and set up the equipment and started jamming.

I had done an album with Curtis Knight in24 hours. I told the guys this, and as we had been playing the tunes over and over, it made sense. So we started recording about 4:00am on Saturday and finished everything at about 6:00am Sunday morning. We crashed out and left Speedy and John, the engineer, to do the mixing and they had anything that was left to keep them awake. Ted came at about 6:00pm Sunday evening and we proudly announced we had an album and not a single. He was bowled over by this and we did some remixing at Olympic Studios. We had our first album.

Jeb: You went in the studio with the intention of Motorhead breaking up. Did recording that album change your mind?

Eddie: Once we had an album the whole landscape changed. We had hope again and there was interest from promoters thanks to Ted and our part time managers Doug Smith and Frank Kennington. They had something to work with so it was game on.

Jeb: For the Overkill tour you took Girlschool out on the road. I have heard they could really play but also party like the guys in Motorhead.

Eddie: I don’t want to say much. Kelly, God bless her, died a few years back. All I will say is we had great times together and I have many fond memories. Yes, and they really could play.

Jeb: You opened for Ozzy on his famous Blizzard of Oz tour. What do you remember about that?

Eddie: This period is a little hazy as can imagine, so I better keep my mouth shut.

Jeb: As a guitarist, what was it like to get to know Randy Rhoads?

Eddie: Randy was a really good guy. He was very quiet and modest for such a great player. We talked a fair bit, as you would over three months and I watched the shows, whenever possible. He was a pleasure to watch. He played the LA speed style a bit but he had the ability to make it fit with the tune and he still had bags of feel, whereas a lot of the later speed guitarists were just quick with no real feel. I used to think guitar playing was becoming an Olympic sport all about who is the fastest -- not really my idea of guitar playing.

Jeb: No Sleep Till Hammersmith hit #1 in the UK. Do you remember that day?

Eddie: We were on the road in the USA with Ozzy in Beaumont, Texas with Mountain strangely opening the show. Because they had to be somewhere else, Leslie, who is a very good guy, used my amps that night and I can honestly say they never sounded so good. We missed all the free drinks we would have been eligible for back in London and it was all over by the time we returned to the UK. It was a bad time to have a number one album, but I can live with that.

Jeb: Why did Motorhead not succeed in the USA?

Eddie: I can only assume because we were a little bit ahead of our time. I think the sheer onslaught of our sound put a lot of people off. It was not until a couple of years later that Metal was accepted in the USA, although in places like Chicago, Seattle and New York we went down real well but in places like Omaha, not so good.

Jeb: You moved on from Motorhead and I would guess that was not an easy time for you.

Eddie: Obviously, it was a bit of a difficult time, at first. I will be honest with you; I never thought I would move on from that band. I really thought I would die in Motorhead. I didn’t want anything else but then they decided to do this thing with Wendy O. Williams, which I was really forced into doing. Lemmy always liked woman performers. When he told me that we were going to do “Stand by Your Man” with Wendy I said, “I am producing this album and that is not going to happen.” Lemmy got mad and started arguing. I got mad and was yelling back but what I didn’t realize at the time is that he had already had enough of me.

We went up to Toronto and we started recording it. I was always the one who cracked the whip. I was the one who did the production and I was the one who was involved in any business deals. They were always saying, “Eddie, what do you think?” It was always me that had to go in the room and do the talking. I think Lemmy just got fed up with it. It wasn’t my fucking idea to do it but they were always asking me and I was always the one that would say, “Fuck all, I will just go in and talk to them.” I had been a foreman on the boat and I had done a solo album and I knew a bit about putting bits and bobs together, on the other side of the business, as it were.

It got to the point with that song that I couldn’t live with it. I told Lemmy, “I can’t live with this. If you’re going to do this then I’m going to leave the band as this is rubbish.” Lem goes, “I will tell you what we will do…on the front of the record we will put that this has nothing to do with Fast Eddie Clarke.” I said, “Man, you’re missing the point, Motorhead is my band as well. It is our credibility that is on the line here.” I thought Motorhead was in danger of becoming a laughing stock. Lemmy said, “Well, if that’s how you feel then fuck off then.”

I told them that I would do the American tour and then I would leave the band and they said that was okay. Over the next couple of days they were all wearing Plasmatics t-shirts and they were digging on me. They also carried on doing the recording without me. They were playing it in the bus on the way to New York. I was losing it. I told them, “Man, you’ve got to stop playing this song or I’m going to fucking lose it.” I told the manager that he needed to do something or that war was going to break out. Of course, war did break out. In the hotel, we had a meeting and the war broke out. I had talked to management and told them that the track was rubbish and they said they all agreed with me. When I said, in front of the band, “You all said it was rubbish” they were all standing there being silent. All of sudden I was all on my own with six or seven people who were all saying I was a twat because I didn’t like this record. In your heart of hearts, you know it is rubbish but they won’t say it in front of the band. I had enough and I left.

What happened next was quite funny as I got chased out of the hotel by one of the big fucking roadies. I had to drop him in the corridor so I could get to the lift and get away. It was all a bit over the fucking top. All I had was a bit of Canadian money. I said to the guy at the desk at the Holiday Inn in New York, “Give me twenty bucks…quick.” I wanted to jump out in the street and get in the first cab.

It all got funny that night. We were supposed to play the following day. I sat up all fucking night waiting to hear some news. There was no news. They had two roadies minding me at this time so I couldn’t leave the room. When I look back on it now, it is all quite funny. Anyway, I get a call at quarter of ten the next morning and am told that Lemmy said he would do the show under one condition. That condition was that I had to go to the show and do my sound check first and then I would have to leave the building and then the rest of the band would go in and do their sound check. I am in fucking New York, man. I’ve flown all the way over here from England so I want to do the show. I do what they wanted and then I am ready to go to the dressing room. They have this huge dressing room but I don’t get to go in there. I get this little boiler room with one chair. There is a bottle of Vodka on the table and a little pile of white powder on the table and I am all on my own.

Jeb: Did you do the show?

Eddie: I did but it was a funny show as we were obviously fucking hating each other. After the show, this guy from this agency out of Detroit called DMA said, “Why don’t we go talk to Phil and Lemmy?” I agreed as I was high off the show and I wanted to do more shows, I didn’t want it to end there. I go into the dressing room and there are about 200 people there and they are all playing the Plasmatics and this huge dressing room, the size of a football field, is all full of smoke. This guy goes over and gets Phil and Lemmy as I wait just inside the door. They come over to see me. Lemmy looks at me and says, “Go on and speak.” I said, “Guys, I know a lot of shit has gone down here but I’d like to carry on and do the rest of the tour.” They said, “No man, fuck off.” I had to leave as that was it.

Jeb: When was the next time you saw Lemmy or Phil?

Eddie: I didn’t see Lemmy again until the summer of that year at the Reading Festival. I got up onstage with Pete Way and Twisted Sister, as Pete had been producing their record and I played on one of the tracks. I came off stage and turned around and ran right into Lemmy. It was kind of nice actually as it forced us to talk to each other. I certainly didn’t have an axe to grind. It took Phil a bit longer as he was a bit bitter and twisted. It was a sad end really, as I never thought it was going to end.

I had to fly back to England and I had nothing. All of my equipment, my guitars and everything, was still on the road with Motorhead. I remember kicking along the streets with a half a bottle of vodka in my pocket and hardly any money and thinking, “Fuck, I’m not in the band anymore. It was devastating.

Jeb: How long did it take you pick up the pieces.

Eddie: Fortunately, I was young. I also had a bit of a drink problem so that kind of helped, as well. You can drink yourself every night until you forget things. It was not long after that when someone called me and said, “Pete Way has left UFO and would you like to get together to have a meeting.” I had to do something so I agreed.

Pete was in a similar situation as me, as he had been kind of forced out of his band because of his behavior. I was forced out of my band due to my behavior. We both also liked to have a drink.

Jeb: Fastway was born.

Eddie: I met with Pete and we had a drink and then I went to see this guy I knew and asked him if we could use his rehearsal room on credit because we didn’t have any money. He agreed to let me pay him later. Topper [Headon] from the Clash was just down the road and we got chatting and he said, “Ah, this is fucking great, I’ll play drums.” The next thing I know we get to rehearsal the next day and Topper is on drums, Pete is on bass and I’m on guitar and it just sounds great. It was the first time I had played with a proper bass player in seven years.

Jeb: Fastway was such a different sound than Motorhead.

Eddie: Pete is a wonderful bass player. I was playing some solos and my guitar had never sounded so sweet. The underlying sound of Motorhead made it so I had no bass to lean on to play a solo. I was always struggling with my sound. I didn’t realize until I played with Pete that the problem was that I didn’t have a proper bass guitar for my sound to be soaked into. From there on it was fantastic. Topper was great but he had some issues and problems and he had to leave. We were really three outcasts. He told me that he was not in the right place and that he had to leave.

One of Pete’s fans told us that Jerry Shirley was painting and decorating in this town just outside of London. We met up with him in a pub in London and he comes in all covered in paint. Jerry was one of the greatest rock drummers of our time and he is standing there covered in paint. He liked to drink too, which was handy. We sorted it out and he agreed to join the band. We started rehearsing with Jerry and it sounded great.

Jeb: Looking back did drink and drugs have a negative effect on your career?

Eddie: I think the biggest problem was drink, which is legal. Sure there were some drugs around but drink was the main drug. Well, I suppose sometimes it caused a few problems but other times it was helpful. I am sure some of my drunken antics pissed people off. I think it comes with the territory, but it didn’t really have a negative effect. A lot of the fun was down to the heavy party lifestyle, but of course, I may have a twisted take on these things.

Jeb: How did the Fastway audience contrast with the Motorhead audience?

Eddie: To me, an audience is an audience. I have been lucky in my career to have been in two bands who had great fans and were crazy audiences. I wouldn’t want to choose between them.

Jeb: If you had to choose, are you more proud of Motorhead or Fastway?

Eddie: It is very difficult to choose between the two. I had some of the best times of my life with Motorhead, although it was a struggle with that band. We finally made it through sheer will and determination. Motorhead was very intense and suddenly I walked out of that intensity into this breath of fresh air that was Fastway. I started playing like I always knew I could.

I suppose it would have to be Motorhead but it is awfully tough to choose. The problem with Fastway was that Pete left and then Jerry left and then I was drinking too much and I got out of control. There are a lot of bad memories surrounding Fastway and that is why this new album is a salvation. I am very proud of this new album. If I never do anything more with my life then I will still be very proud of this album.

Jeb: I see what you mean know when you say if only Eat Dog Eat would have followed the first Fastway record.

Eddie: If we had followed it with this one then all of that shit wouldn’t have happened but you can’t change history, can you.

Jeb: How were offered to do the soundtrack for the movie Trick or Treat?

Eddie: We had a great disappointment with the third album not doing very well although it was no real surprise to me as Fastway was not the same kind of band it was in the beginning. Dave had already decided to leave the band when we were offered Trick or Treat but I managed to persuade him to do the album which he reluctantly agreed to. We sort of done it as our swansong and I think it worked very well. After that, he and the other members of the band, the management and the record company went off in another direction.

It was effectively the end of Fastway, I never really recovered from that episode. I was on the downhill slope. The band was then taken over by Lea Hart and because of the mess I was in I could only stand by and watch as two more albums were done in the Fastway name and I was hardly playing on either. It was a tragic end after something that had started with such great promise. It was after all that I went into rehab and put Fastway to bed, until now.

Jeb: Last one: Tell me the story behind “Ace of Spades.”

Eddie: This track was not as straight forward as it might have been. We had gone down to a live in rehearsal room in Wales called Rockfield Studios and had decided to write the album there; it was as yet untitled. Motorhead didn't really do the country thing, so we spent a lot of time drinking and falling over and at first, did very little work.

After about a week, we did start to do a bit of playing, surprisingly, and the songs started to take shape. We decided it would be good to record the rehearsals, so we hired in a 16-track mobile recording unit. We recorded the songs as they were so far and split back to London.

Eventually, we decided to go to a studio and put some vocals on the tracks and this was the first time the title “Ace of Spades” appeared. Lemmy threw down a few lyrics and we moved on to another track. Not much more was said at this time as they were; after all, only demo's for the album.

Discussions were taking place regarding producers and that is when we were steered towards Vic Maile, who was favored by the record company and management. We didn't really care too much, we just wanted to record the album and get back on the road.

We started laying down the backing tracks but when we got to “Ace of Spades” we decided that the riff needed a make over. This was unusual for us, as we were always in a hurry. The result was that the main riff was completely changed and wedded to the old part of the song. We all got very excited about the new arrangement and we knew we had a Killer track on our hands. This new approach was then applied to some of the other songs and the results were equally impressive. It was only a matter of hours before we agreed the album title would be Ace of Spades.

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