SAXON frontman Biff Byford spoke to France's Loud TV about the passing of "Fast" Eddie Clarke. The former MOTÖRHEAD and FASTWAY guitarist died on Wednesday (January 10) after a battle with pneumonia. He was 67 years old.
"I knew it [Wednesday] night, actually, about an hour after he died," Biff said. "It's sad news. He was a great guy and he was a good friend of ours."
Byford said that Clarke had sent him a "Happy New Year" message a couple of weeks ago, and revealed that the guitarist was originally scheduled to make a guest appearance on the SAXON song "They Played Rock And Roll", which is featured on the band's upcoming album, "Thunderbolt". "They Played Rock And Roll" was written about and is dedicated to MOTÖRHEAD, with whom SAXON first toured nearly 40 years ago.
Clarke was a member of MOTÖRHEAD from 1976 until 1982. He was one-third of the band's classic lineup, which also included drummer Philthy "Animal" Taylor, who died in November 2015 of liver failure. Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister succumbed to cancer the following month.
"['They Played Rock And Roll' is a tribute] to MOTÖRHEAD, 1979 MOTÖRHEAD, which is [Eddie] and Phil and Lemmy," Biff said. I wrote the song before Lemmy died. I just wanted to do a song about MOTÖRHEAD and England in 1979; that's what the song's about, how it was then, back in the day.
"You try to take people back to the period — you try to take the older fans back to the '80s and you try to take the young fans back there to experience the music from there. It's a bit like the song 'They Played Rock And Roll' — that's the idea: to take people back to England in 1979, 1980, what it was — what was the environment. The political environment in 1979 was crazy; it was very anarchy, chaos then."
Clarke, Taylor and Lemmy appeared on five albums together: MOTÖRHEAD's 1977 self-titled debut, 1979's "Overkill" and "Bomber", 1980's "Ace Of Spades" and 1982's "Iron Fist".
"[Eddie's] music will live on, with MOTÖRHEAD and FASTWAY," Biff said. "He was a great guitarist.
"It's sad that the three original [MOTÖRHEAD] members have gone now," he added. But, he said, "They'll be somewhere together, I'm sure, hell-raising."
"Thunderbolt" will be released on February 2 via Militia Guard (Silver Lining Music). The follow-up to 2015's "Battering Ram" was once again helmed by producer Andy Sneap, who has previously worked with JUDAS PRIEST, MEGADETH, ACCEPT and TESTAMENT, among others.