'You've got the gig': Motorhead 1976-1982

‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke looks back on his time in the band
By Peter Lindblad
[Ed. note - Please forgive the lack of umlaut]

The classic Motorhead lineup
Accustomed to sleeping in and not receiving unexpected visitors in the morning, as is the way with most rock and roll artists who do not subscribe to the “early to bed, early to rise” ethos, “Fast” Eddie Clarke had no intention of getting dressed to see who was calling on him at such an ungodly hour.
One Saturday well before noon in the winter of 1976, the guitarist, irritable and cranky, got up to see who had disturbed his rest. Had he known who was waiting for him on the other side, his mood would have brightened considerably.
“There’s a knock at my door, and I say, ‘What the f**k is this?’” recalls Clarke. “And so I go to the front door, and Lemmy [Kilmister] is standing there, and he’s got a bullet belt in one hand and a leather jacket in the other. And he hands them to me and he says, ‘You’ve got the gig.’”
Clarke was as surprised as anybody to hear those words come out of Lemmy’s mutton-chop framed mouth. Just like that, he’d been hired to play alongside Larry Wallis as a second guitar slinger for Motorhead, then a dirty, brash wild bunch of rock and roll outlaws dead set on building the fastest, loudest chopper of grimy, rumbling, vice-ridden proto-thrash metal nastiness that anyone had ever seen, and nobody would dare categorize it as street-legal. Before Clarke could recover from the shock, however, Lemmy was gone.
“And then he turns around and walks off (laughs),” said Clarke. “So I’m standing there in me underpants holding a bullet belt with this leather jacket, and I just say, ‘Oh, f**king great!’ I mean, I really was over the moon."
A week earlier, Clarke’s mood wasn’t so elevated. His audition for these holy sonic terrors had ended rather unceremoniously with him slipping out the door before things got worse.
“I did the audition with them,” remembers Clarke. “And Larry came down, because Larry, who was in the Pink Fairies, was the guitarist then. And he wasn’t getting on with anybody. He didn’t even talk to me. He just came in, plugged in and played the same song for half an hour. And I said, ‘Oh, bloody hell. I haven’t got this gig, have I?’ And he and Lemmy went outside and they were having words, and it’s all getting a bit tense. So I packed up me guitar and I went home, and I left Phil [“Philthy Animal” Taylor, the band’s drummer] and them there to play on. I paid the bill on the way out, though (laughs) for the rehearsal. And then I didn’t hear anything.”
That is until Lemmy showed up on his doorstep. Soon after, Wallis would leave, having rejoined a reunited Pink Fairies lineup that intended to get back to touring. All that remained then was Lemmy, “Fast” Eddie and “Philthy Animal” – the classic Motorhead lineup that would shake the earth from 1977 through 1982 with rumbling, fire-breathing touchstone LPs Motorhead (1977), Overkill (1979), Bomber (1979), Ace of Spades (1980), No Sleep ‘til Hammersmith (1981, a live album that reached #1 on the U.K. album charts) and Iron Fist (1982), the threesome’s swan song.
“Those were great days, man. They were great. I mean, there were some tough times, obviously. Motorhead was a special time for me. I mean, we were like brothers. We went through so much shit together,” said Clarke.
As siblings often do, the three had their differences, and in 1982, as Motorhead was touring America, simmering tensions bubbled over and Clarke was dismissed. Shell-shocked by the turn of events, Clarke took the first plane back to England. Back on his native soil, the exiled Clarke, still reeling from his abrupt firing, attempted to regroup, even as a growing substance abuse problem was threatening to consume him. Unbeknownst to Clarke, his next project was waiting for him at – of all places – Motorhead’s office, and it would yield an under-the-radar classic heavy metal album, Fastway’s self-titled debut.
Still, although Clarke would later experience a rollercoaster ride of emotions with Fastway, it was nothing compared to what awaited him as a member of one of the most notorious acts in metal history, Motorhead.
Life Before Motorhead
A child of the 1950s, Clarke was born in Twickenham, London to a family that immersed itself in music and did what it could to see that Clarke took an interest in it.
“My parents played a lot of music,” said Clarke. “I was lucky because they played all the old 45s they used to get, but my sister also, she was playing things like ‘Cathy’s Clown’ and Paul Anka’s ‘Diana.’ And my parents were playing a lot of the MGM stuff. So they were quite musical. There was always music going on, even though I wasn’t particularly involved in it. My dad did take me out when I was about eight or 10, he took me down to the little record shop down here, and he said, ‘Right, pick yourself out a tune.’ So the guy in the record shop played some singles, and the one I picked was Jerry Keller, ‘Here Comes Summer.’ I remember that, going back to the ‘50s.”
Near where Clarke grew up, the musical scene of the West London area exploded with vibrant creativity and an adventurous, hedonistic spirit in the 1960s.
“As I got older, living where I was in west London, well, of course, we had the Rolling Stones kicking off here up the road,” recalled Clarke. “We had Eel Pie Island just down the road here, where John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers were playing and Pink Floyd played there. Then the Cream started up over here and Fleetwood Mac – all going on in this area. So I got to walk out the door and there was a gig to go to. And I think that helped a lot. You know, I was on the front door of it all, and of course, when I realized how much people liked that, I thought, ‘Well, I’d fancy doing that.’ And I got really heavily into Eric Clapton when he was with the Yardbirds, and we used to go to the Rolling Stones, but we’re going back a few years now (laughs). That’s going back to ’63 or ’64. And the Yardbirds, of course … Eric Clapton is playing his Telecaster up there, and all this great stuff like ‘Smokestack Lightning’ and all these great blues, and I loved them to bits. And so of course, I wanted to play like that, so I started learning those tunes.”
Through the prism of the British blues boom of the ‘60s, Clarke got an education in American blues. “I was actually learning American blues tunes, but I was learning them third-hand, because they liked to copy the guys in America and I was copying them. So I was kind of like the third generation, and I had my own take on it, which I think gave me my  … I like to think I had a little bit of my own style, and I developed out of that.”
A quick study, Clarke cycled through various local bands – the Bitter End being one of them – by the age of 15. The neighbors were not so accepting of Clarke’s musical escapades.
“I was very fortunate, and then of course, there was a little band at school … we had a little band together,” said Clarke. “We used to play in me dad’s garage, and all the neighbors used to throw stones on the roof to get us to shut up (laughs). But I loved the guitar. I used to get up in the morning before I went to school, and the first thing I’d do is get clean out of bed, put my feet on the floor, and grab the guitar and have a quick five minutes on the guitar.”
Clarke’s development allowed him a chance to turn professional with Curtis Knight’s band, Zeus. As lead guitarist, Clarke helped Zeus record the album The Second Coming at Olympic Studios. He even wrote the music that backed Knight’s lyrics on a song called “The Confession” and continued on with Zeus through the making of Sea of Time. But then, Clarke got together Allan Callan, a guitarist friend of his, and keyboardist Nicky Hogarth and drummer Chris Perry for a jam session at Command Studios in Piccadilly that resulted in a record contract with Anchor Records. Calling themselves Blue Goose, Clarke, Hogarth and Perry abandoned Zeus, and Knight, to concentrate on their new project. It wouldn’t last.
Arguments erupted and Clarke left Blue Goose, going on to form another band called Continuous Performance that went nowhere and another act with Hogarth, bassist Tony Cussons and drummer Terry Slater that also flamed out. Frustrated by what seemed like a stalled career, Clarke went to work re-fitting a houseboat as he attempted to get his solo career off the ground.
“I was working and I was doing my solo album,” said Clarke. “I was working building a houseboat on the river Thames. And the money I was earning I was putting into my solo album, to record my solo album.”
Through various jobs, he had gained other skills, some of which would make him a more attractive candidate for hire than simply his guitar-playing ability.
“The reason why I started working was I had to get an amplifier became my little one use to blow up all the time,” said Clarke. “And I used to stick a screwdriver in the back and go bang! And then it would start working again. So I went to get this job fixing televisions. And the guy said, ‘Why do you want this job?’ I said, ‘We’ll, I’ve got this amplifier that keeps blowing up and I need a new one,’ and being in Motorhead, we didn’t have any money for repairs. Well, I’ll tell you, it did come in handy. It did come in handy. It helped me to no end. So, it was a great career move at the time. I didn’t realize what a great career move it was, but later on in life, it turned out to be a winner, you know.”
So was the gig working on that houseboat, through which he made a contact that would lead him to Motorhead. It was Phil Taylor.

Getting Stiffed
Lemmy, having played in Hawkwind, was certainly well-known around the haunts Clarke used to frequent. He remembers seeing Lemmy once at a party before the days of Motorhead, though Clarke didn’t get an introduction.
“So, he came in. Nobody spoke to him,” said Clarke. “But he plugged in and started playing … and I thought that he was playing rhythm guitar. I thought, ‘Oh, he keeps it together well,’ because he keeps the songs up, where other bassists are just jamming. And then I started to [see him] a little bit about, because where we started hanging out, Lemmy was always around. He’s one of these guys who’s always around. He was always around the scene, you know.”
But, it was Taylor who first made contact with Clarke.
“What happened was, I met Phil first,” recounted Clarke. “And I met Phil and Phil had gotten into Motorhead. And then Phil contacted me, and he said, ‘Look, we’re looking for a second guitarist. Would you fancy it?’ I said, ‘Yeah,’ because I wasn’t doing anything. I was working and I was doing my solo album. So, I said, ‘Yeah, fine.’ And I didn’t hear any more from Phil.”
Communication having broken down between him and Taylor, Clarke kept plugging away at finishing up the houseboat, while also taking in some of the local nightlife.
Lemmy Kilmister, Phil Taylor and 'Fast' Eddie Clarke
“Quite by chance, I picked up this bird at [this place] called the Greyhound in Fulham,” said Clarke. “It was a real big gig back in the ‘70s. I picked up this bird there, and she stayed over with me that night. And I brought her to work the next day, and she happened to work at the rehearsal room in the King’s Road in Chelsea. So I took her to work that morning. It was 11 o’clock. She had to open the doors. And who walks in? Lemmy (laughs). I said, ‘Hey, Lemmy. I’m supposed to be auditioning for your band.’ He said, ‘Oh, are you?’ I said, ‘Yeah, yeah Lemmy.’ And he said, ‘Oh, yeah, yeah.’ So I said, ‘Well, can I put it together?’ And it all seemed to come together. He said, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah.’ So, he gave me his number, and I had to organize the rehearsals. I had to pay for them, because they didn’t have any money. And I had a car, so I went and picked them up, put all their gear in the car and then dropped it off and went back to get the rest of the gear. So that was the first time I ever really had a chat with Lemmy. He seemed fine. He was one of these guys who, because he liked a bit of speed, wouldn’t sleep much. He was always on the go. Not to put too fine a point on it, and of course, I became a speed freak as well after that. He was already a speed freak. So we were speed freaks together.”
Before the sharing of drugs commenced, however, there was the little matter of Clarke’s audition. Having passed the test, Clarke soon took over as sole guitarist for Motorhead, with Wallis quitting. What Clarke wasn’t prepared for was the struggle that lay ahead.
“It was like that, it was like that, because nobody liked us,” said Clarke. “Of course, we were all wearing bullet belts and a lot of Hell’s Angels used to come to our shows. People were generally a bit scared of us. They never knew what was going to happen, you know. Although we were fine, everything was fine, but people conceived us as being … and they didn’t like our music either, because they didn’t conceive it as music. It wasn’t considered music. It hadn’t happened yet. We were sort of breaking new ground with this (makes loud guitar-like noise) and so people were actually working against us all the time. And it was difficult the first year, but the thing was solid, man. The plans were there. We’d turn up in Shitsville, Birmingham or wherever, and there’d be 30 kids there, but they were diehard fans. And Lemmy said to me, ‘Don’t worry, man. Those kids are going to go away and the next time, they’re going to bring their mates with them. The next time there’ll be 60.’”
Kilmister’s confidence was a calming influence on Clarke, whose patience was tested by the band’s poverty and a troublesome incident with Stiff Records after recording the single “Leaving Here” in December, 1976 for the label.
“Lemmy kept us all going on that, and it was true,” said Clarke. “We had quite a following in a year. But then we had this deal with Stiff Records, and we did a recording for Stiff. We didn’t have any money, so we borrowed the money and we got into all sorts of trouble, and then Stiff Records didn’t put the f**king record out. They said we’re not putting the record out because we want to put it on this Stiff compilation, which f**king finished us. We were f**king done. We were relying on that to give us a bit of a profile and get us some shows, ‘cause we didn’t have a pot to piss in. We were living off porridge and pancakes. It was one of them. And so, Stiff Records really f**ked us over. I f**king hate that label – we all, the three of us do. It was supposed to be an independent label, and sh*tsville. They really did bad by us.”
‘ … On Our Way’
“We are Motorhead … and we play rock and roll!” growls Lemmy, the way he usually does when introducing a Motorhead show. In 1976, Motorhead wasn’t playing rock and roll for very many people, and the sparsely attended gigs were demoralizing to Clarke and Taylor. In fact, it got so bad that breaking up the band seemed the only logical option.
“We were on the verge of breaking up, and we had more gig to do,” said Clarke. “It was the Marquee, and Phil said, if nobody turns up, we might as well break up after this gig. And I said, ‘Shove off.’ And he said, ‘Well, what’s the point of going on?’ I said, ‘What are you going to do anyway?’ (laughs) It wasn’t as if we had anything else to do, you know what I mean. Phil was adamant, though.”
If this was to be the end for Motorhead, they wanted to go out in a blaze of glory and record this final sendoff for posterity. “So what we tried to do was, we tried to get a mobile (recording studio) down to the Marquee,” said Clarke. “Well, it turned out, the Marquee had a recording studio linked up to the gig and they said they would do it, but it would cost … I don’t know, a thousand pounds or something, which was like the f**king king’s ransom. So Lemmy knew this guy, Ted Carroll, from Chiswick Records. He said, ‘Look, how about recording the band at the Marquee, ‘cause we’re thinking of breaking up. It’d be nice to have something to remember us by.’ And he said, ‘I can’t do that. It’s too expensive,’ because nobody had any money in the ‘70s. Those were poor times. He said, ‘But, I’ll pay for you to do a single.’”
That offer turned out to be a stay of execution of sorts.
“So after the f**king Marquee gig, we got Speedy Keen from Thunderclap Newman. He was going to produce it. He drove us down to this studio in Kent (Escape Studios), with a budget to do it … we had two days in there,” said Clarke. “And I said to the guy – ‘cause I’d done some stuff with Curtis Knight, and we’d done an album in 24 hours – ‘Look, we can do an album in this time.’ I said … ‘cause I noticed when we’d done stuff back at the pub, we’d only have to play it once. And they all go, ‘Okay, okay.’ So we laid all the backing tracks down, and then we did all the guitars and the vocals … you know, we had 24 hours and we had the whole thing down.”
When Carroll visited Motorhead to get a listen to what was supposed to be a single, Clarke and company presented all that they had done – 11 raw, unfinished tracks of cyclonic rock and roll fury, to be augmented later by two more cuts. “So when the record guy came over to hear it, we said well, we’ve got a bit more than a single,” said Clarke. “We’ve got an album. And of course, he said, ‘Wow!’ And when we played it to him, he loved it. He loved it. That was the first album, the black one [1977’s Motorhead]. And he loved it, this guy loved it. He was over the moon. And then of course, he put in a bit more money. We remixed a couple of tracks in Olympic Studios, and then we were on our way. We were on our way. There were some things that were to happen later on that would almost sidetrack us, but that’s what saved us from breaking up.”
Any thoughts of throwing in the towel were now erased completely from their minds. “It was a great thing, because we had nothing better to do … nothing” said Clarke. “And we really worked hard at it. People had pissed on us so much that we were like, ‘Well, f**k ‘em. We’ll show ‘em. We’re not going to die. We’re going to stay here and dig in.’ You’ve got to get that kind of mentality going, that sort of siege mentality.”
Clarke wasn’t the sort to throw up his hands and walk away. His background as a laborer would suggest he’d stay until the job was done. And as it turned out, Clarke was the perfect fit for Motorhead for that reason and many others. One was his look; the other was his take-charge attitude.
“Well, I had long hair and tight trousers and boots,” said Clarke, talking about the clothes he wore before joining Motorhead. “I used to wear boots and all that. But the leather jacket always eluded me. I never had enough money to buy one. And the bullet belt was a new thing for me. I didn’t know anything about the bullet belt. But I wasn’t a pansy. I was a pretty tough guy anyway, so the clothes were helpful. I think Phil had already assessed that, that I would fit in, because I was running things with this boat we were building. I was running the show. So, of course, I had to tell people what to do and people got a bit short with me. I had to deal with them, you know. And I think Phil thought that was something that would be good … I wasn’t a pansy, you know.”
The word “pansy” is not one that comes to mind when describing anybody in Motorhead. Still, there were cracks in their sneering veneer that implied a weakening of the bonds between them. After the untamed and savage Motorhead LP shot up to #43 on the U.K. charts, the band toured with Hawkwind, before embarking on the “Beyond the Threshold of Pain” tour with the Count Bishops. At home, management issues would rear up, with Tony Secunda taking over the reins. Meanwhile, as turmoil swirled within Motorhead, Clarke and Taylor branched off and formed The Muggers with Keen and Billy Rath.
Nobody was playing taps for Motorhead, though. In the summer of 1978, the band changed management again, opting to return to Douglas Smith. It was Smith who brokered a singles deal with Bronze Records that would lead to Motorhead recording “Louie, Louie.” The track charted at #68 in the U.K., giving them more momentum. In fact, it lead to their initial performance on the “Top of the Pops” TV show in England, the first of many.
“Well, we did that seven times,” said Clarke, who was not exactly comfortable doing the program. “We became the BBC’s pet band. Yeah, we were always on ‘Top of the Pops.’ Never sold any records, though, because of it, but we were always on ‘Top of the Pops.’ I think it’s because they liked to show that they could have a moody, ‘out there’ band, you know, to get a bit of credibility. What do you do? So, yeah, we did it. I mean, ‘Top of the Pops’ is the worst show. I mean, however much I drank, I could never do it without feeling like a complete prick. You stand there, and there’s an audience, and you’re miming it, and you’re thinking, ‘God, I’m f**king miming this.’ – yeah, really difficult stuff. I hated all that, you know. Lem and Phil didn’t mind so much, ‘cause Lemmy’s a real showman. I don’t care about all that, but I used to love Lemmy for that.”
Emboldened by the success of “Louie, Louie,” Bronze gave Motorhead a little more rope, extending their deal so that the band could record an album at Bronze’s studios. As Motorhead is wont to do, they left their mark there and they fought like brothers while doing so.
“Well, Overkill was our first time in a proper studio with an album deal,” said Clarke. “And we had a studio, Bronze Studios in London, and we were like, ‘Oh.’ And of course, we were just trying to get our band sounding great. We had a few bashes there. One of the bashes we had was we were so f**king drunk that Phil got sick on the ceiling – in the corridor. It was quite funny. You had these little couple of steps you had to go down, and when you went in the door, you went up again. Well, he managed to throw up and it hit the ceiling (laughs). We did have some fun. We had a few fights, me and Phil. We had our differences. We had our moments. But it was just that thing when we played Overkill, man, you know on the big speakers, with the double bass drums … I mean nobody had really done that then, not in that way. That’s why we did three endings. We did it with three endings, you know. I said, ‘Hey, let’s f**king do three endings here,’ you know. ‘We can’t do that.’ I said, ‘Why not? We’re Motorhead. We can do anything.’ And we did, and it was brilliant.”
With help from producer Jimmy Miller – whose resume had included the Rolling Stones’ Beggars Banquet, Let it Bleed, Sticky Fingers, Exile on Main Street and Goats Head Soup LPs – Motorhead birthed the explosive, unrelenting Overkill, the first Motorhead LP to rocket into the U.K. Top 40 album chart and what many consider the band’s finest hour. In anticipation of the record’s release, the group … well, they mimed the flying-at-unsafe-speeds single “Overkill” on “Top of the Pops.” Those were heady days, indeed, for Motorhead.
“See that was finished in the beginning of ’79,” recalls Clarke, “because we started it in the end of ’78, end of Christmas. And then we did the show at Hammersmith November the fifth. That was also a great time, that Hammersmith Odeon [performance]. That’s like Mecca, do you know what I mean? And it was fantastic making it there. And then we did Overkill. And then straight after that … that was ’79, the beginning of ’79, we toured with Overkill, with the Girlschool thing and all that, and did some gigs in France and all that. But the record company wanted another album by the end of the summer.”
The beast had to be fed, after all. More food would be thrown down its gullet in the form of Bomber, Overkill’s hastily thrown together follow-up. Luckily, Motorhead was a well-oiled machine at this point, and with the threesome on fire in the studio, Bomber, when released, dropped a devastating payload of thermonuclear proto-speed metal on a world that had already been blown away by Overkill. Few bands have ever had a hot streak like the one Motorhead was on.
“For once, we sat down and we went into the rehearsal studio, and came out about a week later and said we’ve got all the tunes,” said Clarke. “It was brilliant man. Things like ‘Stone Dead Forever’ … I mean fantastic. So that has another thing going for it. It was just there. It was right in front of us and we just grabbed it – just fantastic.
Last bombing run
Ask Clarke to choose which album he favors, and he’ll answer with a shrug of the shoulders.
Bomber and Overkill are my favorites,” said Clarke. “I don’t know. Between the two, I’m not sure which one. I mean, there are some fabulous tracks on Bomber. Don’t get me wrong, Ace of Spades is … well, Ace of Spades is Ace of Spades. But, you know, I’m looking for something else, because that was kind of a hit record. I mean, Overkill had that … it was one of those that was just blown out. And so was Bomber. I have difficulty choosing between the two of them. They were my two favorite albums.”
And that period of the band’s history – including, of course, the Ace of Spades album – is considered by many as Motorhead’s golden age. In live settings, Motorhead took no prisoners, thrilling audiences with visceral, explosive performances and a bit of theatricality.
“The fans definitely did take to it, ‘cause the bomber … we put the bomber up in the truck, the lighting truck, the bomber came down,” said Clarke. “So, of course, the kids really appreciated that. It really was picking up speed now. It was actually on a chain hoist that would come up and down and it looked fantastic. It was an old World War II bomber, you know, come right down and touch the top of our heads and then it would go back up, and it just looked fantastic. And the kids just couldn’t believe it. I mean, the kids loved it.”
Not everyone was convinced of Motorhead’s brilliance, however. “Obviously, the critics were still telling us we were the worst band in the world, that we were f**king noisy,” said Clarke. “And if you’re a muso lover – you know what I mean – you won’t like Motorhead because we’re just so noisy and awful. But the fans loved it. But of course what happened was – it was really quite funny actually – when we did No Sleep ‘til Hammersmith, that same band that was titled ‘the worst band in the world’ … the same journalists, for the same paper said it was the best f**king live album ever. Now how is that possible when six months ago you were telling us that we were the worst band in the world? But it’s funny how people’s attitudes change, isn’t it?”
So it was within Motorhead as well. Where ideas flowed during the accelerated recording sessions of Overkill and Bomber, Clarke remembers Ace of Spades being a bit of a chore to complete.
“We were flowing,” said Clarke. “I mean we went from Overkill straight into Bomber, and we had the bomber itself, and it was just flying along. And then Ace of Spades just followed onto that. Ace of Spades was the first … well, it was the first time we had to think a little more. What we did were rehearsals. We did a sort of demo recording, an 8-track demo recording of the rehearsals. And then we worked on those, so more work had to go into the writing of that, whereas with the other ones, we just went in and banged it out. So that was the first sign that ideas were starting to get difficult, because you get a band like Motorhead, you don’t have many options. So it’s quite difficult coming up with new material all the time because you tend to be standing on your own toes. But we got through Ace of Spades, we got through it, and it was great. The “Ace of Spades” track just killed everybody, everything’s going great … it was just another step up the ladder. We did four Hammersmith Odeons, and it was f**king brilliant.”
Motorhead - Ace of Spades cover
Even the photography sessions – which can sometimes be tedious – for the cover of Ace of Spades were a blast. “Well, I loved it. We all loved it, because before that, we’d done the thing with Girlschool, the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (EP), where we dressed up like Al Capone. You know, we had machine guns, and it was brilliant,” said Clarke. “And we loved that, because we were sort of in the groove then. Photo shoots are normally a horrible thing to do, like videos. When you’re playing another part, it’s actually great, so we were really ready for it. We got all our stuff, we were all grooming beards for a few days to get a bit of stubble, you’ve got the cape out like Clint Eastwood, you’ve got the tablecloth out, you know what I mean? And we really prepared for it, and it was quite lucky because we did it in a place in north London. And it’s a sand quarry. Fortunately, the sun was shining. It all came out rather well. A lot of people say, ‘Where did you do that?’ And they think it’s like New Mexico or something. No, we did it in the north of London. And they go, ‘You’re f**king joking.’ It was one of those. It really was.”
The good times would, however, come to an end. Iron Fist was a bit of step backward for the band, and Clarke was eventually left to fend for himself on the fateful North American tour that ended so abruptly for the guitarist. Clarke went back to England and eventually formed Fastway, which released its first album in decades earlier this year. 
Looking back on it all, he still feels great affection for Lemmy and fondly recalls the heady excitement of Motorhead’s success.
“Lemmy was my friend for a lot of the time, especially in the beginning,” said Clarke. “In the beginning, I remember he said to me once … we did the first couple of shows we ever did in ’76, and we had some bad reviews, and I was teed off a bit. And he said to me, ‘Look, man. You’re going to get a lot of this. You really just have to ignore them and carry on. I’ve had loads of them in my lifetime,’ he said. ‘You just have to ignore them and carry on, ‘cause people are going to write that shit.’ And that was the nice thing about working with Lem, because I was a bit of a greenhorn, so having Lemmy give me a few pointers here and there was quite helpful. It got you through the hard times when people are putting you down and you go and do a bad gig and you feel like hanging yourself, you know. Lemmy was always there.”
It’s hard to imagine a world without him … and Motorhead, of course.

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