Do you really think that EXCITER needs any introducing comment ? I'm not sure how to introduce you one of the biggest Heavy Metal from Canada, which was pioneer in the heavy and pounding Metal in the 80's ? When listening to tunes such as "Rain Of Terror", "Pounding Metal"; "Rising The Dead", "Destructor", "Feel The Knife" nobody can deny they burnt the Metal scene with ripping riffs ! It's been a long since I wanted to do an int' with EXCITER, and when receiving an email at the end of May 2006 from Osmose Production stating Jacques Belanger left again the band, I thought it was my time to contact them ! Ricci answered the questions.

Can you remember how you came into Metal and which bands impressed you at the time ?
When I first started playing guitar in the 60`s I was listening to bands like Black Sabbath. The heavy power chording of Sabbath really made an impression me and I was hooked from that point on.

If I’m right, the band was first called HELL RAZOR, later you changed the name into EXCITER… How did come the idea and the change ?
My previous band, before EXCITER was called Hell Razor. The name kind of followed me when myself, Beehler and Johnson got together in 1978.But in 1980 one of our roadcrew, Richard Beehler, heard the song EXCITER by Judas Priest and suggested it would be a great name for us instead of Hell Razor, we all agreed, and that's how it happened.

The band was born in 1978, but it seems the first demo tape only surfaced in 1982… So was the band concentrating on writing songs, rehearsing and playing live at the
beginning ?

In the beginning we actually played cover songs and a few originals. We were always trying really hard to write the ultimate Metal riff, so for the first few years we were sort of soul-searching musically speaking. It wasn't until 1982 that we thought we had "good" songs to record.

In 1982, there was a demo tape with "World War III" and "Sail On". How were the reviews back then ? I guess this demo helped you to get in touch with Shrapnel… Will the "Sail On" track eternally rest into the crypt, as it seems you never used this song on vinyl back in the earlier days ?
Our WWIII demo, had a slower song called "I'll Never Forget", it wasn't called "Sail On". This song totally sucked, it was horrible. That's why you'll never hear this song ever, it's definitely `not` EXCITER.

The same year the "US Metal II" compilation LP including EXCITER’s "World War III" was released, an amazing song by the way ! Do you remember the response for your first vinyl appearance ? Did the deal for the first LP come quickly with Shrapnel ?
When we sent this demo to Shrapnel in the USA. The label manager, Mike Varney, called me and totally freaked out over WWIII. He said it was the most original Metal song that he had heard in a long time. We didn't realize it was the start of Speed and Thrash. We weren't ready for all the fanmail we started receiving from all parts of the globe, when this compilation record was released.

In 1983, you recorded a three-tracker tape including "Under Attack", "Rising Of The Dead" and "Cry Of The Banshee". Was it done to promote the LP or to help signing the deal with the record labels ?
We never recorded a demo featuring those 3 songs. Our first full-length demo was our first record "Heavy Metal Maniac". Shrapnel offered us a deal instantly as soon as they heard the 9-song demo.

Then you put out the "Heavy Metal Maniac" LP, an incredible masterpiece in my opinion as it has remained one of my favourite album of all times ! Although the distribution was limited in Europe, you received an incredible feedback ! Are you still proud of that album and the fact that with "Heavy Metal Maniac" you have left a timeless jewel in the story of Metal ?
We were caught by surprise "HMM" LP, we thought was just 9 good songs, we didn't think it would be received and be as influential as it was. Yes, I'm very proud of it.

What are you memories to be the opening band for Black Sabbath in ’83 ? Did you play only local gigs to support the first LP ?
We got offered the opening slot for Sabbath while we were in the studio just finishing "HMM". So, our set was the exact 9 songs of "Heavy Metal Maniac" in the exact order as they appear on the record. The show was outdoors, the attendance was about 6500. We met the Sabbath guys backstage and they were very pleasant, especially Dio. He talked the most to us. Otherwise, we did not tour that album, we had no tour support from our label Shrapnel.

It seems the deal with Shrapnel Records was for only one album. How did you get in touch with Megaforce for the second LP ?
Megaforce contacted us. Johnny Z, the label manager, really liked us and he wanted to sign us because he knew our deal with Shrapnel was a one-album deal.

In ’84, "Violence And Force" LP was unleashed, full of killer songs again ! Were you satisfied with the job done by Megaforce ? Was this label good for the tour support also ?
"Violence and Force" in the end turned out ok, but I couldn't capture my sound of my guitar from the first album which is like a "buzz saw". Megaforce did arrange some USA shows for us they did the best they could for us.

You were also part of a Megaforce compilation LP with the track "Death Revenge". As this song is really killer, why didn't you use it for the LP ? Will you put it as a bonus-track on a possible re-release of "Violence And Force" ?
I don't really remember how "Death Revenge" came about. I think we had too many songs for the "Violence and Force" and we decided to hold on to it for a future release. Then later down the road Megaforce included it on a compilation.

There was another label change as you signed with Music For Nations. Did you think it was a better idea to sign with a European label for promotion or tour support ?
Megaforce "traded" us for another band with Music For Nations in the UK that's how we got to be with MFN. After we recorded "Long Live The Loud", we did a 10-city European tour with Accept in March '85. If it wasn't for MFN we would of not had that opportunity

"Long Live The Loud" was released in ’85. There is more veracity, but no sell-out to an accessible market as the songs definitely still are strong, raging and memorable. Do you see this album as a natural progression ? Was it as good as received the first two ones ?
You're right. We wanted to show our fans, we could play more complex music but at the same time stay to our roots.

What was the idea behind the release of the "Feel The Knife" 12’’, including the devastating title track and live versions of "Violence And Force" and "Pounding Metal" ? Was it out of question at the time to put out a live LP with songs from the three albums ?
We released "Feel The Knife" EP because we did not have any new material. I was just to tie us over until the next record.

Can you explain the reason why John Ricci left the band at this time ?
I left the band in August '85 because I found the rest of the band was making business decisions which was actually hurting the band's career. I felt I was losing control of a band that I originally founded in 1978. I couldn't take it anymore, so I quit. I didn't quit music, I just quit EXCITER at that time.

The "Unveiling The Wicked" LP saw the light of day in ’86, with new guitarist Brian McPhee. There are good songs on this album, but do you think McPhee was a good choice for the band ? I still think that tracks like "Die In The Night" or "Breakdown The Walls" would have been more killer with John’s guitar playing…
They got Brian Macphee who is a good player because they couldn't find anyone else. They were friends from previous band. If I were still the band on that album the song writing would of been different. I really don't like any of the songs on that album.

What is your honest opinion about the "Exciter" LP from 1988, with the addition of vocalist Rob Malnati ? Did you get angry if I tell you that LP was felt like a kind of "a knife in the back" for EXCITER die-hard maniacs ? And why Dan didn’t want to sing anymore at this time ?
I don't know why they bothered to get a lead singer on that album. He just sounds like he's trying to imitate Beehler. Adding a singer and the songs on that album, real total waste of effort. The band should of used better judgement.

No longer after this release EXCITER broke up. What were your activities before the comeback ?
While I was out of EXCITER1985-90, I founded a new band I called Blackstar.

In 1990, EXCITER re-united with John Ricci and Dan Beehler, why Allan Johnson wasn't part of the reunion ?
In 1990, when Beehler and I got back together we called Johnson but he was not interested in the least. He had, as far as I know, quit music.

The following year, you got a deal with Noise Records and recorded "Kill After Kill". This time, the songs were good, but not the sound unfortunately. What are your thoughts about this LP ?
I agree. "Kill After Kill" is a great album but the production is not good. We recorded that record in a new studio with old outdated equipment and on a tight schedule, not the best circumstances.

I saw there's a video of clip of "Rain Of Terror" that was released a long time ago. What can you remember from this video clip as it's rather a killer one ? Was it difficult to video it ?
"Rain Of Terror" video was filmed in our hometown, Ottawa, for about $5000 Canadian dollars. It was done in 2 days over the weekend. In that video, our bassist was Jeff Macdonald, who was in the band for a short time, we only did 2 live gigs with him.

A lot of the EXCITER fans thought it was sad you were the opener for Rage for the European tour, considering the status EXCITER gained in the eighties and that you had enough killer songs to play as a headliner. Do you agree with this thought ?
When we toured with Rage throughout Europe we were going through a "self-doubt" phase of our career. We were just happy to be on tour after Beehler and I got back together and that we had a record deal with Noise Records. So, supporting Rage did not bother us at all and besides Rage is an excellent band and we became good friends on that tour.

Should "Better Live Than Dead" ’93 CD to be seen as the testament of the second split as it contains a Canadian live show from 1991 ?
"Better Live Than Dead" is raw and exciting, a typical EXCITER formula. After this record Beehler decided to pack it in, he had enough of trying and trying for so many years and we were still struggling for respect from the music industry.

When everybody thought EXCITER was dead and buried, the band returned in 1997, with a new line-up and a deal with Osmose Records, beginning with the release of the "Dark Command" album, that is brutal and sounds evil. How did this return work ?
Well, I waited for about 2 years for Beehler to change his mind and re-unite. Then in 1996,I decided to continue EXCITER and find new musicians. I held auditions and by the end of 1996, I had a "new" EXCITER. The songs for "The Dark Command" took about a year to write, they definitely sound "evil".

Why "Blood Of Tyrant was released so late after ""Dark Command", three years is pretty long for fans to wait ? How do you see "Dark Command" and "Blood Of Tyrants" albums in the discography of EXCITER ?
"Blood Of Tyrants" took 3 years because Jacques, our singer, quit during that time and also we did not have any new songs ready.

You did European tours and several appearances at summer European festivals, was the crowd receptive to EXCITER new line-up and new songs ?
The first time we played Europe with the new line-up and songs the response was over the top, fantastic ! I knew we had something very strong in this line-up.

In 2005 you re-recorded songs for the "New Testament" CD. What was the aim with this CD ? What do you answer if someone says to you that it’s an heresy to record old classic EXCITER songs with a different line-up ?
The purpose of "New Testament" was 2 reasons : we wanted fans to hear the old songs as done by the new line-up and again we did not have new material ready.

In 2003, Dan Beehler and Allan Johnson were back in a band called Beehler. They play new songs and old EXCITER songs. But this band didn't’ last long. Do you know the reason ?
I know absolutely "nothing" about Beehler project

I hope you will not find this question boring, but have you never thought to an EXCITER return with the classic line-up ? And how is the relationship between the original members ?
A re-union with Beehler and Johnson will never ever happen!!!

Recently "Heavy Metal Maniac" has been re-released on CD in America with some bonus material. Are you happy with the result ? Will it be available in Europe ? Was it also done to fight against bootlegs ? Will "Violence And Force" and "Long Live The Loud" be re-released this way too ?
I am not involved with the re-issues, I know nothing about them and I really don't care

Can you tell us the future plans of the band ? Have you some fresh news ? Which label will publish the new record ?
We will continue to be on Osmose label in France.

For the the 3rd time in 10 years, Jacques Belanger has quit EXCITER, how do you see the future of the band ? It seems the new album is put on ice now because of that ? how could you explain his departure and aren't you fed up fighting with member departures ?Perhaps a stupid view, but isn't it time to include Beehler again as every fan are waiting to him ?
Jacques is a great singer, only if sings in EXCITER. If you put him in another band, his best vocal abilities will not be evident like in EXCITER. We will move on, without him, nothing will stop the EXCITER Metal machine. Jacques quit for the same reasons, as he's done twice before. This is like the 3rd time in 10 years. He basically has a difference of opinion on many issues with the rest of band. As far as Beehler is concerned, I will never work or speak to him again.

Excepted for the vocals, how will sound the next album ? What kind of EXCITER should we expect now ? Could you tell us a bit more about the tour that'll take please after the release of this new opus ?
The next EXCITER album is full of anthem songs in the EXCITER tradition, even a little darker than the previous releases.

Being involved for long in the Metal scene, how do you see its evolution all over the years ? Do you like new bands ? Are you still loyal to the old bands you bought the records in your youth ? And do you think it’s great to see the comeback of many bands from the eighties ?
I like all the newer bands, like Immortal, Cannibal Corpse, Cradle of Filth, Arch Enemy, Steel Attack, Black Abyss, etc. I think the newer bands are playing music that is exciting, with a fresh interpretation of old Metal. (actually I can't see any Metal interpretation in shit like cradle, but that's a matter of taste – ed)

Everyone knows the band name is taken from Judas Priest, I'd like to know your honest view about the 2006 Judas Priest ? According to me "Angel Of Retribution" is one of the strongest release they've recorded since a long, do you agree ?
The new Priest is good, but I was expecting more, like stronger songs but I still enjoy listening to that record.

Thank you for your time on this interview. The last words will be yours !
The EXCITER legacy will continue, once we find our new voice .Thank you so much to all our fans. Watch for the new record !!!