National News

‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke, Motörhead Guitarist, Dies at 67

Posted January 11, 2018 11:24 p.m. EST
Updated January 11, 2018 11:26 p.m. EST

LONDON — “Fast Eddie” Clarke, the quick-fingered hard-rock guitarist who was the last remaining member of the British band Motörhead’s best-known lineup, died Wednesday night in a hospital here. He was 67.

Todd Singerman, the band’s manager, confirmed the death in a telephone interview. The band released a statement on its Facebook page saying the hospital had been treating Clarke for pneumonia.

Clarke, who was born Edward Allen Clark, joined the band as its guitarist in 1976, alongside drummer Phil Taylor and singer and bassist Ian Fraser Kilmister, who was known as Lemmy.

Motörhead, known for its punishing and distorted heaviness, volume and penchant for rhythmic speed, which would inspire genres like thrash and speed metal, released 22 studio albums and went through numerous lineup changes. But the one with Clarke on guitar was regarded as the classic one, leading to some of the band’s best-selling albums, including “Motörhead” (1977), “Overkill” and “Bomber” (both 1979), and “Ace of Spades” (1980).

Taylor, known among the Motörhead faithful as Philthy Animal, died in November 2015 at 61. Kilmister died a month later at 70.

Clarke occasionally contributed vocals to the group, in addition to his chunky chords and squealing licks and solos. On “Beer Drinkers and Hellraisers,” a ZZ Top cover from a 1980 Motörhead EP, Clarke traded lines and harmonized with Kilmister, a strategy they would also employ on the band’s version of “I’m Your Witchdoctor” (originally performed by John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers).

“The best years of my life were in Motörhead,” Clarke said in a 2016 interview, “and what we did together I think still stands the test of time.”

Clarke, who was born Oct. 5, 1950, in Twickenham, a suburb of London, left the band while it was on tour in the United States after the release of “Iron Fist” in 1982. He went on to form the two-piece hard-rock group Fastway with former UFO bassist Pete Way in 1983.

Fastway released seven albums, including its 1983 debut, called simply “Fastway,” which Clarke called a personal favorite. “I loved it because it was all my pent-up stuff,” he said. The album “All Fired Up” was released the next year, and the band would go on to tour with AC/DC.

Clarke reunited intermittently over the years with Motörhead, including in 2000 at a 25th-anniversary concert at Brixton Academy in London. The show was documented on a live DVD titled “25 & Alive Boneshaker.”

Phil Campbell, Motörhead’s guitarist from 1984 to 2015, said in a statement that Clarke would be remembered for his “iconic riffs” and that he had been a “true rock ‘n’ roller.”

There was no immediate word on survivors.