Fastway - Biography

By Marcus Kagler

The British hard rock supergroup Fastway is the perfect example of how a good idea can be compromised by musically split personalities. Forged by former Motörhead guitarist Eddie Clarke, former UFO bassist Pete Way, ex-Humble Pie drummer Jerry Shirley, vocalist Dave King, and a constantly revolving cast otherwise, Fastway were poised as the new kings of metal by the time their debut full-length, Fastway (Columbia) was released in 1983. Unfortunately, founding member Way left shortly after Fastway was released to subpar reviews. After replacement bassist Charlie McCracken (formerly of Taste) joined up, the band retooled their sound toward streamlined Top 40 hard rock material for their sophomore full-length, All Fired Up (1984 Columbia). The album did moderately well in America, although it was almost completely ignored in their homeland of the UK.


After much of the rhythm section left, Fastway added drummer Alan Connor and bassist Paul Reid to record the slick party rock of Waiting For The Roar (1986 CBS). Awash in poppy synthesizers, Razor not only alienated what few metalheads Fastway had left and muddled the identity of the band forever, it was also a commercial flop. In a last ditch effort to salvage the enterprise, the band agreed to score the soundtrack to the heavy metal horror flick, Trick Or Treat (1986 DEG). The film was a bust and the soundtrack didn’t do much better, even though it did mark a return to Fastway’s metal roots.


Clarke forged a new incarnation of Fastway with Lea Hart on vocals, drummer Steve Clarke, bassist Paul Gray, and this iteration signed with Enigma Records. On Target (1988 Enigma) took another half-hearted stab at synth-laden pop rock, again with poor results.


Clarke and company—this time backed by the band British metal band, Girlschool and other unidentified guests—returned in 1990 for the ill-fated Bad Bad Girls (Enigma). The gussied-up material drew comparisons to something south of Quiet Riot, and was yet another big disappointment. Fastway disbanded shortly thereafter.


By 2007, however, Clarke had reconvened Fastway with yet another new line-up and embarked on several festival dates. Clarke also began writing material for another Fastway album with former Little Angels vocalist Toby Jepson.


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