One of the most promising '80s supergroups that never was, England's Fastway was never quite able to come to grips with their sonic identity, and despite a promising start, in the end their career was an almost absolute flameout.
Following his acrimonious departure from metal legend Motörhead, guitarist "Fast" Eddie Clarke wasted no time planning his next move with then-recently ousted UFO bassist Pete Way. With veteran drummer Jerry Shirley (ex-Humble Pie) and promising Irish newcomer vocalist Dave King rounding out their lineup, the resulting Fastway was awarded instant supergroup status, even though the mercurial Way decided to quit before the release of their eponymous 1983 debut (going on to form the ill-fated Waysted). As for Fastway, perhaps knowing he would never be able to match the intensity (and distortion) of his previous group, Clarke chose instead to seek a more mainstream hard rock direction with his new band, and indeed the album was very well-received in the U.S., climbing into the Top 40. Encouraged, they quickly returned to the studio with new bassist Charlie McKracken to record 1984's All Fired Up. The album still made it into the American Top 60 despite waning interest from the CBS label and continued nonplussed indifference back in the U.K. and Europe. Looking for a change after losing their rhythm section (replaced by bassist Paul Reid and drummer Alan Connor), Fastway tried to hop the pop-metal bandwagon with 1986's overly slick Waiting for the Roar. Coming off like a second-rate Quiet Riot, the synth-laden album also introduced keyboardist and sometimes-second guitarist Shane Carroll, but rightly fell upon deaf ears. An offer to provide the soundtrack for the heavy metal horror flick Trick or Treat seemed like a perfect shot at redemption, but despite a welcome return to harder-edged fare, the movie was a flop; the album followed suit, and the band soon broke up in dismay.
Clarke would have one final go at it, however. Signing to independent GWR Records (ironically, also Motörhead's label at the time), he drafted an entirely new lineup, featuring vocalist Lea Hart, bassist Paul Gray, and drummer Steve Clarke, for 1988's On Target (which was anything but). Further personnel changes preceded 1990's swan song Bad Bad Girls, which saw Clarke and Hart allegedly backed by old pals Girlschool, working under aliases for contractual reasons. Another resounding flop, the album finally convinced Clarke that it was time to hang up his spurs. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia