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John Ricci (Exciter)

Interview with John Ricci from Exciter
by Yiannis Doukas at 15 May 2008, 5:53 AM

I cannot find a prologue for a band like EXCITER. They released a couple of months ago a new FUCKING great album, as always. Metal Temple feels very proud to present you the following interview and perhaps in a future face to face one our thirst for more will be satisfied. So, upon the massacre mountain we found John Ricci who answered our questions. Thrash! Speed! Burn!

After the release of Blood Of Tyrants eight years have passed. First of all, can you tell us a few things about the New Testament. Are you satisfied with it? Do you believe that the old songs needed an upgrade? Can we see it as a best off of EXCITER? Did this release have to do with contract terms?

Recording New Testament was a complete waste of time and effort. The only reason we did it was because we didn’t have any new material ready and our singer at the time kept encouraging us to re-record the old songs, so fans could hear his vocal renditions of the old songs. I personally, saw no point in doing this but he did convince us. This record was the last for Osmose Productions, we were under no pressure to release something, Osmose was willing to wait until we had new material.

What exactly did happen with Jacques Belanger? For some times, he was with the band, other he was not. How did you find Kenny Winter? In the mean time there were other vocalist inside the band, werem’t they? The guy is unbelievable, great voice! When did you meet Rob?

Jacques quit because I think he had enough of the music business and we definitely had a clash of personalities between he and the band. We were actually relieved that he quit and we really did not want him back. Kenny found out on the internet we were looking for a singer. He called us for an audition and we knew right away he was the singer for EXCITER. Rob Degroot joined the band only for a few months, we realized he wasn’t ’metal’ enough so he didn’t last.

Talk to me about the production of Thrash, Speed, Burn. It is the first time you record your material digital, isn’t it? The sound is still raw and ultra EXCITER. How did you achieve it? How did you work with Charles Fairfield?

When we entered the studio to record Thrash, Speed, Burn we didn’t have intentions to sound old school but that’s the way it turned out, I think we retained that ’garage sound’ because of the actual tone of our instruments, the bass player Clammy and I use the same equipment as the 80’s.As a result the overall sound of the record is very raw. Our producer, Charles Fairfield basically captured the sounds with his recording software and brought forward the music.

How did you choose the title of the album? Is it a statement about the band’s music?

Thrash Speed Burn is a statement to confirm EXCITER is and always will be a Speed Thrash Metal band.

How did you work in composition themes? Did you write all the material? What was the other members contribution to the album? What about the lyrics?

I wrote the music and lyrics and then all the band members contributed their ideas to make the songs better. This formula has been working well.

Which song of the new ones do you like the most? Generally, which EXCITER album do you consider as the most representative for the band’s identity?

My favorite  song on this new record is Rot The Devil King. I think this new album best represents EXCITER; the whole record is power speed and intensity.

You have started your musical steps in HELLRAZOR. Can you give us some information about that band? Have you recorded anything? Did some songs of this era later become EXCITER compositions?

During HELL RAZOR we did record some very rough demos but nothing worth mentioning. The musical style was nothing like EXCITER.

We were searching for a style and we couldn’t find it until I wrote the opening riff to WWIII then everything changed. Every song we wrote after that we used the same formula which created some very memorable EXCITER songs.

During the EXCITER history many members passed. In some records none of the current members was present. What is EXCITER? An idea with a specific musical face? Who has the rights for the use of the name?

The name EXCITER represents the foundation of Speed Metal. It is an honor to be considered one of the pioneers of Thrash and Speed. When the original members of EXCITER decided to stop playing in 1993, I assumed the name and continued the band with their acknowledgment.

What forced you to leave the band in 1985?

I quit in 1985 because I had a difference of opinion on how the band should be run and there was always disagreements.

Do you have any contact with Allan and Dan? How possible is to see all of you in a gig, like celebrating or remembering the old days?

I have no contact with Beehler and Johnson .I don’t know what their doing and there will never be a reunion.

EXCITER is a band with almost 30 years history in the metal scene. What makes you continue? What does give you strength and inspiration? Are there any special purposes that you want EXCITER to achieve?

I’ve continued EXCITER and playing metal because at this point in my life EXCITER is a way of life. It’s like a fine-tuned Metal machine. I would say the guitar playing has been an important factor in the EXCITER sound, it’s distorted and aggressive. EXCITER has not reached its ultimate goal, to be ultra successful without selling out.

What are your plans regarding the future live performances? Do you have arranged any tour? How was the gig in Spain?

The Spain show was great. The fans went crazy, chanted our name between every song, they moshed, we signed many autographs. The audience really liked our new singer Kenny Winter.Next show is the Rock Hard Festival May 10th in Germany and then we have a tentative European tour, Oct.10-25/ 08.

Do you know where is Rob Malnati, the singer of the Exciter album? He had a band together with David Ledden under the name of CRYPT? Do you know anything about them?

I have no idea what happened to Rob Malnati or CRYPT or Dave Ledden.

EXCITER was and always is the ultimate definition of Heavy Metal music. Except your band, are there any other groups that impressed you, I mean new bands.


For what things have you regreted and for what are you proud of?

I don’t regret anything in my musical career but I am proud of what EXCITER has accomplished, as I mentioned before being considered one of the pioneers of Speed and Thrash.

Is there anything that makes you angry in this world and why? The concept behind the previous album was about the multiple faces of tyranny, isn’t it? If there is a problem what could be a healthy reaction for a human being according your opinion? Can we consider that music and especially metal is a kind of such a reaction?

Nothing really makes me angry in the world today but un-necessary violence can be stopped by wiping out the culprits. That is the theme of our 2000 release Blood Of Tyrants. Violent themes and heavy metal music go well together.

Do you read books? Who is your favorite writer?

I don’t read books. I don’t have any favorite authors.

What is your opinion about the internet revolution? Do you believe that the bad things behind it have more weight than the good ones?

You really can’t stop the internet illegal downloads. I don’t encourage it but it’s hard to stop. Therefore maybe musicians can use it to their benefit.

Why did you left Osmose Productions? It was just the ending of your contract? How did you get in touch with Massacre? Did other companies show interest about your new album?

Our Osmose contract had expired plus we felt they could of done a little more advertising since we’re and old school band and there is so much competition out there you have to promote  a band like us twice as much to be noticed. Massacre approached us with an offer and we took it. We had many offers from Europe and the USA but the Massacre deal was the most lucrative.

When you left EXCITER you created a band under the name BLACKSTAR. You were together with Belanger, isn’t it? Are there any recordings from back then? Did it was in the same style like EXCITER?

The project I had from 85-90, BLACKSTAR never recorded anything. The music was more progressive and yes Jacques was the singer but he sang in the Jacques way not the EXCITER way as a result the material I would say was weak.

The cover of Thrash, Speed, Burn reminds a lot the Carved In Stone one of VENOM but it is very nice. Whose idea was and who made it? By the way, do you like VENOM?

The cover for Thrash, Speed, Burn was basically my idea but the rest of the band added their ideas, for example the back cover was Rik’s idea. Yes, I like VENOM, but our cover art has nothing to do with VENOM’s Carved In Stone.

The re-releases of your first albums are a little difficult to be found at least in Greece and Italy, as far I know. Do you know anything about it? Are you satisfied with the work that has been done?

I had nothing to do with the re-releases, I’ve never heard them or seen them and I don’t really care. I voluntarily wanted nothing to do with these releases.

Really THANX A LOT and I hope one day see you in Greece. Please continue that way, because this music needs bands like you. If you would like something to add, please do so. Thanx again man.

Thank you to all fans in Greece maybe we’ll see you on the next tour. Metal On Metal Crusaders!!! Thanks for the interview.


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