FAST EDDIE CLARKE – …it really is about feel
No matter what Lemmy says, Motorhead was one of the first real heavy hard rock bands in the late 70th and early 80th century. Although I didn’t quite got the hang of them before "Ace of Spades" came out in 1980 and completely wasted I became the following year when the live album "No Sleep till Hammersmith" was released. Fast Eddie Clarke was my first guitar idol, and much of the reason probably was because the tough image he had on the coverart on the "Ace of Spades" album. I remember being totally shocked when the news that Fast Eddie Clarke was replaced by a new guy on guitar after the release of "Iron Fist" and even worse when "Philthy" disappeared nine years later. I lost a lot of interest in the band in the years after Fast Eddie Clarke left the band and when an e-mail with the opportunity of an interview with my old idol popped up in my mailbox, I answered yes straight away. Fast Eddie lived up to his name. 12 hours after I had sent the questions to the first of the 3 press persons between me and Fastway, the interviewed returned. Here is Fast Eddie Clarke, former guitarist of Motörhead and later in Fastway and his contributions to The G–String Series.
When did you start playing the guitar? In what age and which band was actually the one that made you wanting to grab a guitar and start playing?
I was about 12 when I first picked up the guitar…The Yardbirds with Eric Clapton were my first real influence. They played every Sunday in Richmond at the Crawdaddy which was near where I lived. The Rolling Stones started there as well.
What actually makes a guitarist unique? Feeling or technique? Many people for example cannot stand Satriani…who is absolutely a master when it comes to technique!
I think there are several different types of player. As you say Joe Satriani is heavily into technique and probably has to practice a lot. I on the other hand rely on feel. Being distinctive is probably down to what you do when you first pick up the guitar. If you spend too much time learning other peoples techniques you are in danger of being a clone. I was fortunate I did not have much luck copying other guitarists solo’s so I had to come up with my own which at the time did not sound that great but as time went on what I was playing became my own style. Thats not to say I did not learn an awful lot from Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix I just could not play like them.
I am sure if I could have I would have…
What was your first guitar? Do you still have it?
My first guitar was a 3 pick up Black Watkins Rapier..Unfortunately I no longer have it as I left it with a so called friend of mine who thought I know longer wanted it and believe it or not on Guy Fawkes night in the early 80’s he set fire to it.
Do you think that the guitarist is making the quality or maybe the equipment can do magic?
I think it is a bit of both. Back the early days when I was starting out there was no magic equipment like there is now there were not even tuners. Lemmy and I used a pitch fork back then. So I believe the guitarists from that era were better players. We had to work very hard to get a good sound back then. Now you just buy a box that says GREAT SOUND..
I think this is the reason that there is not so many lead guitar players about these days you really need to work through every process to become a good lead player.
All that LA speed playing was not really playing it was just like a sport. Lead Guitar comes from the heart not from hours of practice it really is about feel.
What kind of equipment do you use? Guitars…pick ups…amps…? Do you use different equipment in the studio and different while playing live? If yes then what is the reason?
I still use my Motorhead Stratocaster live and in the studio. I also use my blonde Les Paul which I bought from new in 1972. The strat has a Di Marzio Super Distortion on the bridge and D/Marzio SD1 on the neck. The Les Paul has 2 Humbucking replacement P90 style P/Ups made by Di Marzio. I have an original Les Paul Junior from about 1960 which I use at home and a little in the studio but not live..and a Nasville Fender Telecaster for when I feel a little bit oe Blues coming on.
Now form the band of your dreams…with you participating of course…Which individuals you think would fit like a glove to your style?
Right now I have to say Toby Jepson is the best vocalist I have ever worked with so we have a singer. Jerry Shirley would be the Drummer and John Mcmanus from the Mama’s Boy’s would be the Bass Player…Its not really about names as they can’t always deliver.,
Are you participating in the composing of your bands material or you’re just a performer? How important is it for an artist to be able to express himself? I mean, if for example you were in a band only for performing someone else’s musical themes…would you handle it not participating…not being able to express yourself?
I can only play my own music. I think it is very important to start writing your own stuff as soon as possible. My sound is a bit shit at first but the more you do it the better it will get just do not give up. I have always written my own material from Motorhead to this Fastway Album. But i like to work with a singer such as Lemmy or Toby who also plays great Bass Guitar. We had a lot of fun writing the material for this album..
Have you ever run out of ideas while composing a new album? How did you fight it? What was the solution?
Of course this happens. It happens to all bands. Thats why usally at best the first 2 or maybe in some cases the first 3 albums are the best. I believe you only have a certain life span when writing together. Iron Fist was the first time Motorhead found writing difficult and Fastway after All Fired Up. The writing almost completely dried up..
Do you have endorsements? Do you think endorsements are important for an artist?
I do not have any endorsments. I think they are a bit of a waste of time. People rarely use the stuff they endorse so whats the point or it means you have to use an instrument you would not normally use just for money. I do think greed plays a part in this and thats not good for the soul so in turn not good for the playing.
In all the years that you’ve been playing did something go totally wrong during a concert of yours? If yes, what was it. Please go ahead!
There was a lot of things that go wrong over a career as long as mind so pinpointing one thing is not easy..
Ok then…thank you for answering these questions. One last thing now! Who is the guitarist that you admire or that you would like to "punish" by have him answering these same questions?
Thanks again and good luck with your project(s).
No one springs to mind