Original Motorhead guitarist “Fast” Eddie Clarke and UFO bass player Pete Way were both disgruntled with their bands at the dawn of the ’80s. They decided that they would form a supergroup along with former Humble Pie drummer Jerry Shirley and an unknown 22 year-old Irish singer named Dave King. They used an amalgam of their names to give the band the moniker Fastway. Pete Way left the band before the recording of their first album due to still being contractually obligated to his former record label. He would later go on to play with Ozzy, his own band Waysted, and eventually return to UFO, where he can still be found today.
Listen to “We Become One,” the opening track of Fastway’s self-titled debut album here below.
Fastway would become an MTV sensation and a major force on the heavy metal landscape of the early to mid ’80s. Their first three albums and their soundtrack record for the film Trick Or Treat (starring “Skippy” from Family Ties!) are all considered to be metal classics.
The original lineup would splinter as the decade drew to a close, though Clarke has kept Fastway going in various forms with a revolving door of personnel right up to the present. Jerry Shirley reformed Humble Pie and toured as the only original member. Dave King would go on to turn down the lead singer spot with the Jeff Beck Group in favor of forming Flogging Molly. He has, by all accounts done everything in his power to distance himself from the legacy of Fastway right down to the point of allegedly blocking the distribution and display of all official Fastway videos that he was in. Flogging Molly have become one of the most successful Irish folk bands in the world today.
When I was growing up in rural Indiana in the early 80″²s, there was very limited access to heavy music. These were the days before MTV blew up with the whole hair metal, Headbangers Ball phenomenon. But on Sunday nights, there was a two-hour radio show that came from WOXY, the radio station of Miami University of Ohio, just across the state line in Oxford, Ohio. It was called Massive Metal for the Masses and I would wait all week for it to air. It was through this show that I was introduced to bands like Venom, Bathory, WASP, Michael Schenker Group, Slayer, and countless others. This Monday weekly column is my tip of the hat to that show. I call it Massive Metal Monday. Every week, I will pay tribute to defining moments by the artists that laid the groundwork for heavy metal to become the worldwide cultural bond for all of us metal heads.