Guitarist “Fast” Eddie Clarke, who was best known for his work with heavy metal and hard rock legends Motorhead, passed away on Wednesday at the age of 67.
The announcement of Clarke’s death was made on Thursday morning on Motorhead’s official Facebook page, where it was explained that the veteran guitarist died on Wednesday after being hospitalized for pneumonia.
“We are devastated to pass on the news we only just heard ourselves earlier tonight…Edward Allan Clarke – or as we all know and love him Fast Eddie Clarke – passed away peacefully yesterday. Ted Carroll (who formed Chiswick Records) made the sad announcement via his FB page, having heard from Doug Smith that Fast Eddie passed peacefully in hospital where he was being treated for pneumonia…”
“Fast” Eddie Clarke’s death made him the third and final member of Motorhead’s “classic” lineup to pass away, following the deaths of drummer Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor, who died in November 2015, and lead vocalist/bassist Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister, who passed away just one month later. As recalled by Team Rock, Clarke joined Motorhead in 1976, not long after Taylor introduced him to band founder Lemmy, and with this three-man lineup in place, the English band gained a bigger following among rock fans for their blend of heavy metal and punk rock influences.
In his six years with the band, Clarke played on five Motorhead albums, including the 1977 self-titled release, 1979’s Overkill and Bomber, 1980’s Ace of Spades, whose self-titled track is arguably Motorhead’s most famous recording, and 1982’s Iron Fist. While the oft-repeated story is that “Fast” Eddie quit Motorhead around that time, as the band was in the middle of a U.S. tour, Clarke claimed in a 2014 interview with Classic Rock Revisited that he was fired from the band, with drummer Taylor allegedly the catalyst for his sacking.
After Motorhead, “Fast” Eddie Clarke went on to form Fastway together with former UFO bassist Pete Way, releasing six albums from 1983 to 1990, as well as a seventh album in 2011 which was recorded a few years after the band reunited.
Although “Fast” Eddie Clarke remained active in the music business in the years immediately preceding his death, he openly discussed his health issues in a 2016 interview with Eon Music, particularly lung problems that often made it hard for him to perform on stage. While he acknowledged that the hard-partying lifestyle of his youth may have been to blame for his health problems in his older age, Clarke said that he “had the advantage” over former bandmates Lemmy and Phil Taylor, as he had stopped drinking “many years ago” and quit smoking around 2008.
He did, however, express sadness in that interview over being the “last man standing” in Motorhead’s classic lineup, just as he did in a Facebook post shared shortly after Lemmy’s death in December 2015.
“I am just coming to terms with the great loss I feel. It was only a month ago I buried Phil. Lemmy has now gone and all the good and bad times we had together are now part of history,” wrote Clarke, as quoted by Blabbermouth.
“As the last man standing, I know Phil and Lemmy would wish me well but I miss them very much and all they meant [a lot] to me.”