Steve Clarke (drummer)

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Steve Clarke
Steve Clarke (drummer).jpg
Background information
Birth name Steven Gerald Clarke
Born (1959-11-20) November 20, 1959 (age 58)
London, England
Genres Jazz-rock, heavy metal, post-bop
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter, bandleader, instructor
Instruments Drums
Years active 1977–present
Associated acts Fastway, Network, Atomgod, Quasar, Tank, Leader Of Down

Steve Clarke was born in London, England on 20 November 1959. He started playing drums aged four under tuition from his uncle, Jeff Whetstone and father Eric Clarke. Subsequently, Steve joined the Boys' Brigade where he developed his rudimentary and marching techniques.


Aged 21, Steve worked as a tech for drummer Billy Cobham, he then made his first album in 1981 with guitarist Steve Topping under the name Volume 33, which was recorded live at the Hamborough Tavern in Southall.

From 1979-1980 Clarke had a brief stint in the progressive rock band Quasar [1][2] with the unknown John Clark, who left to join Bruford at the request of Allan Holdsworth to record the album 'Gradually Going Tornado'. John Clark (AKA "the unknown John Clark") was a guitar student of Allan Holdsworth whom he recommended as his replacement. Clark is now a long-term guitar player with Cliff Richards' band.

Also in the 80's, Steve worked closely with Jeff Pain a.k.a. 'Dicken' from UK band Mr Big, recording a number of songs which would not see the light of day for a few years to come. Steve also recorded drums on the album 'Rainbow Bridge'.


In 1986 Steve formed the group 'Network' with guitarist Tim Crowther[3] keyboard player Pete Jacobsen bassists Paul Rogers and Laurence Cottle and trumpet player Ted Emmett, augmented by the likes of Steve Topping, David Cross from King Crimson and Hugh Hopper of Soft Machine. The band would go on to make four albums and a best of compilation entitled "View From The Bar".[4]

The album Corroded Path, recorded in 1989 was described by Bradley Smith in the Billboard Guide To Progressive Music as follows.

"Corroded Path is a minor treasure of UK fusion, directly picking up where groups like Brand X and Bruford left off. Eight tracks follow the friendlier and melodic paths of fusion, with a swinging smoothness that isn't earth shattering but is easy to like. The accent here is on concise, jazzy arrangements, with Crowther's restrained guitar soloing recalling some of the best of Allan Holdsworth and Al Dimeola. Imagine Bill Bruford's Earthworks band electrified and you get the sound of Network. Emmett's Miles Davis-like solos are superb, particularly when he is more up-front as on "Obsessive Behaviour". Occasionally the funky bass lines and piano breaks resemble Return to Forever, and Clarke's big drum sound vividly recalls Bill Bruford and the Phil Collins-era Brand X. The sound quality is good throughout, with production values ideal for an analog recording like this. Like Chad Wickerman's The View in the United States, Network's Corroded Path successfully continues the most attractive band dynamics of the jazz-rock fusion form."

Steve wrote and produced the landmark album entitled "LNC", which was recorded in 1996 with guitarists Keith More and Steve Topping, notably joined by keyboard legend Jan Hammer. This took Steve's music to a larger worldwide audience including playing concerts in the USA. As a result of playing in New York, the 1998 collaboration with guitarist Larry Coryell followed as a step forward to showcase Steve's compositions. The tracks featured Pete Jacobsen on keyboards and Wolfgang Schmid on guitar, plus Jack Bruce on bass and vocals on a cover of the Hendrix classic Manic Depression. Entitled "Highly Committed Media Players"[5] it would become Steve's most well known album to date. He followed this by recording the album "Solo Drums"[6] in May 2000. One of the pieces featured a tribute to an early mentor and friend of his father and uncle, Phil Seaman. Steve was then inducted as a fellow of the British Library for his services to progressive music.

During this period, in 1993 Steve hooked up with his good friend Zak Starkey and formed a band 'Spin Out' that featured Zak on guitar, Gary Roberts on bass, Gary Nuttall on guitar and Steve Barnard a.k.a. 'Smiley' on occasional drums/guitar.

For several years, Steve ran a multi-track audio and video recording complex and 2013 saw him write, play on and produce a new album featuring famous trumpeter Randy Brecker.


In 1987 Steve joined[7] the heavy rock band Fastway[8] led by Fast Eddie Clarke formerly of Motörhead. Steve played on the album 'On Target' [9] and fulfilled live duties. In 1989 Clarke hooked up with Tank,[10] led by Algy Ward and Cliff Evans whilst also working with bassist Gerry McAvoy. Clarke and Ward joined Judge Trev Thoms for the Necropolis- "End Of The Line" album featuring Bill Liesegang, ex Motörhead guitarist Würzel and Steve was re-united with Fast Eddie Clarke and the unknown John Clarke. Steve also appeared on two all star albums for Japanese Polydor Records that would see him recording with Don Airey and Scott Gorham.

Tank & Atomgod[edit]

Steve also joined UK heavy rock band Atomgods[11] (who became Atomgod) on their release 'History Re-Written' through GWR records in 1991, which also featured Lee Phillips on keyboards, Trev Thoms(HAWKWIND), Bill Leisegang(Nina Hagen, Jack Bruce). Atomgod led Steve to become the house drummer at GWR records, playing with Huw Lloyd Langton and notably TANK[12], where he fulfilled live duties.

Leader Of Down[edit]

Steve is currently active as the drummer of Leader Of Down,[13] the last band of Würzel,[14] and bassist Tim Atkinson. Their debut album "Cascade Into Chaos"[15] is set to be released later in 2016 and features some of the last recordings by the late Lemmy, along with Phil Campbell and Eddie Clarke.


  • Applying Rudiments to Improvisation 2015
  • Solo Drums 2002
  • Highly Committed Media Players 2002
  • Last Throw of the Dice 2001
  • LNC 2000
  • Precisely The Oppposte 1999
  • End of the Line 1997
  • Refusal to Comply 1995
  • Corroded Path 1994
  • Bible Says 1992
  • History Re-Written 1991
  • On Target 1988
  • Riot 1982


  1. ^ "Quasar Bio | Quasar Career". MTV Artists. Retrieved 2016-05-10. 
  2. ^ "QUASAR". Retrieved 2016-05-10. 
  3. ^ "Tim Crowther - discography and reviews". Retrieved 2016-03-11. 
  4. ^ Smith, Bradley (1997). The Gillboard Guide to Progressive Busic. Billboard Books. ISBN 9780823076659. 
  5. ^ "Network (24) - Highly Committed Media Players". Discogs. Retrieved 2016-03-11. 
  6. ^ "Steve Clarke (18) - Solo Drums". Discogs. Retrieved 2016-03-11. 
  7. ^ Carlson, Taylor T. (2014-06-27). HAIRcyclopedia Vol. 1 - The Legends. ISBN 9781312286184. 
  8. ^ "MusicMight :: Artists :: FASTWAY". Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2016-03-11. 
  9. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. ^ "HISTORY of TANK-legendary of the NWOBHM band". Retrieved 2016-03-11. 
  11. ^ "Atom God - Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives". Retrieved 2016-05-10. 
  12. ^ "TANK". 
  13. ^ "Leader Of Down". Retrieved 2016-03-11. 
  14. ^ "Motörhead Guitarist Würzel Dead at 61". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2016-03-11. 
  15. ^ "Leader Of Down Promo – Würzel Is Back". DazPix. Retrieved 2016-03-11. 

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