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    Fastway Biography

    In 1982, guitarist "Fast" Eddie Clarke, disgruntled by Lemmy's (bassist and vocalist) intention to record a duet of Tammy Wynette's, "Stand By Your Man", with Plasmatics singer, Wendy O. Williams, left Motorhead and joined with ex-UFO bassist Pete Way to form Fastway, with former Humble Pie drummer, Jerry Shirley, soon signing on. After advertising for a vocalist, and receiving hundreds of demos, they chose an unknown Irish singer, 18 year-old David King, whose bluesy delivery was reminiscent of Robert Plant and Janis Joplin. Pete Way left to join Ozzy Osbourne’s band shortly before Fastway entered the studio, and Hugh McCracken was hired before the album was released.

    Eddie Kramer, known for his work with Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, and KISS, was picked to produce the debut album, "Fastway", released in 1983. The single "Easy Livin'" hit #43 in the UK, and the band began gaining notoriety in the United States touring in support of Iron Maiden, Saxon, and AC/DC, with the single "Say What You Will" getting some attention on radio. Capitalizing on their momentum in the U.S., Fastway raced back into the studio in early 1984, and with Eddie Kramer producing again, soon released it’s sophomore effort, "All Fired Up", with the title track as the first single. The video for the song was filmed at a drag racing strip, further solidifying the imagery of racing depicted on the band’s album covers.

    With the band's second single and video, "Tell Me" garnering some radio play, and rotation on MTV, Fastway seemed poised on the brink of major commercial success. On their third album, "Waiting For The Roar", released in 1986, only Clarke and King remained, having replaced Jerry Shirley and bassist Hugh McCracken with members of King's previous band. The line-up change included a second guitarist/keyboard player. Oddly, what appeared to be a smart commercial move given popular hard rock trends in 1986, apparently backfired, and "Waiting For The Roar" sold very little. The band was then picked to record the soundtrack for the 1987 film, "Trick Or Treat", a horror film about a dead rock star coming back from the grave. Box office returns were poor, and the soundtrack, a mix of old and new songs, sold poorly as well. David King left, and Fastway soon disbanded.

    Eddie Clarke resurrected the band in 1988 for the album "On Target", with new vocalist Lea Hart, and keyboardist Don Airey. However, without King's powerhouse vocals, and with Clarke being the sole original member, the Fastway signature sound was missing, and "On Target" was a dismal failure. Clarke and Hart gave it one more shot in 1990, releasing "Bad Girls", with members of the all-female rock group Girlschool filling out the band. The album sold even less than "On Target", while 1991 saw the release of the debut (and only) album from David King's new band "Katmandu". The album's good reviews didn’t translate into sales, and they soon disbanded.

    Clarke re-released the last two Fastway albums, and was rumored to be taking part in a Motorhead reunion in 2000, but it never materialized. In 2000, "The Collection" was released, a solid retrospective focusing on the band's first four albums. David King's current band, Flogging Molly, is a hybrid of Irish folk and punk; their latest album, "Swagger", was recorded and engineered by Steve Albini of Nirvana fame.

    Loren Sanders BonnyLoo Productions

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