Calgary Metalfest 2016: Exciter's John Ricci

2017 will see new material from Exciter.... Are you exciter?

The fifth edition of Calgary Metalfest is just around the corner, with four HUGE nights of metal from 14th - 17th September 2016. The headlining night, dubbed an "historic night of Canadian metal" includes Annihilator, Sacrifice, Razor, Gate Crashor, and Ottawa's own Exciter. In anticipation of all this awesome, Metal as Fuck had a Q&A with Exciter's original guitarist, John Ricci.

John, we are excited to welcome you to Calgary for Calgary Metalfest V! Are you excited to head back west? “Yes, I’m excited to play Calgary again, as far as I’m concerned Calgary is definitely a metal town. Last time I played there was with the previous line-up of Exciter. This time it’s the original line-up and the fans will get to see the true chemistry of Exciter and the dynamic power that we are”. When was the last time you played in Calgary? “Last time was at NOCTIS VI Metal Fest almost exactly 3 years ago, September of 2013. We were invited by Big Nate Productions to play Calgary Metalfest”. 

You're sharing a bill with some of Canada's most iconic metal bands. The night has been dubbed an "historic night of Canadian metal." How excited are you guys to be a part of a night like this? “Well it’s going to be nice to get to know the other bands a little bit better, of course we know of each other but we don’t really know each other that well except  for Razor, we just shared the bill with them recently in Chicago in July. It will be a real treat for the fans to see the distinctive original styles that each band has. We all sound very different but our message is the same, and that is to pound metal!”.

There will be a lot of people seeing Exciter for the first time in Calgary. What can they expect to see when you hit the stage? “We`ve always been a very visual band. We thrash out every moment of the show; there is no ‘down’ time for us on stage. All the shows we play the crowd go crazy from the very first song! It’s cool to see because that makes us play faster and harder!”. The original Exciter line up reunited early last year. How has it been working with Dan [Beehler – Drums] and Allan [James Johnson – Bass] again? “Working with Dan and Allan is so easy, there’s no drama, no BS, it's all about the music. We’re older and wiser as the saying goes. The three of us are happy playing together again. I had no idea that Dan and Allan had any interest playing with me again but I’m glad it happened because the interest in the band is like ten times greater than the previous line-up”.

Can we be looking forward to some new material from Exciter in the near future in that case? “The funny thing is we have started writing new songs but we keep getting offers to play shows around the globe so we end up putting the new material on hold. We have about five new ideas and we’re aiming for ten songs on the new album but I’m hoping maybe in late 2017 we’ll have something out”.

Exciter has played a number of big festivals in your time, as well as being on tour with legends like Accept, Manowar, and Motorhead. How does a big stage compare to a smaller gig? What is your preference and why? “When you play a big stage you have to know how to use it. Some bands that aren’t use to a big stage feel completely lost on stage and their performance suffers. For us we do prefer the smaller shows because it’s a more personal show with the audience. If we play a smaller show and it’s indoors as compared to a open air fest we have more impact with our sound than playing outside on a huge stage where the sound is both harder to mix and difficult to get a decent sound”. I have to know - what was it like touring with Lemmy? “Lemmy was quite the gentleman with us; he was very witty with his one-liners [Laughs] He definitely lived on his own terms. Of course as everybody knows he liked to party and enjoy himself. He was very generous and would allow us to do sound checks without rushing us off the stage. He would hang with us and go out for walks for example when we played New York City he and I walked downtown just checking out some shops, it was very cool”.

Who has been your favourite band to tour with over the years? “We get along with all the bands we’ve toured with but I would say Motorhead, Mercyful Fate and Megadeth - we all got along very well with no egos. All the band members we’re all down to earth and respectful of each other. You’ll find that most ‘famous’ bands are just regular people who enjoy playing their music for their fans”.

Any other shows planned whilst the band are out west? “As far as playing another Canadian show besides Calgary September 17th, there are no other shows, we’ll just head back to Ottawa the day after the show. We  have recently played Paris, France at a festival called The Fall of Summer on September 3rd. Earlier this year we played, Montreal, Los Angeles, Baltimore, and Chicago. In 2017 there are tentative shows in Europe and South America”.

Exciter will be playing Calgary Metalfest V at Flames Central with Annihilator, Sacrifice, Razor, and Gate Crashor on Saturday 17th September. Tickets are on sale here -  Don't miss out on this historic night of Canadian metal!


Photo courtesy of Lori Hoddinott