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Written by Fab   
Monday, 07 July 2008 12:33

Hello! This is HardRocker’Fab asking you those questions... Hope you’re doing fine! Well, first question is about the label change… What happened with OSMOSE, the label that signed EXCITER when the band got reformed in 1996/97…? Was it simply the end of the contract or were you not pleased with them & needed to change? Or maybe weren’t they interested to renew it?
John Ricci : Osmose came along when no one was interested in Exciter. I was caught totally by surprise when I got a call from Herve the label manager offering us a deal. We didn’t say yes right away; we waited about year before we made the decision. Osmose is an excellent company but we felt after the release of New Testament they could have done a little more promotion and also our contract had expired. Because of these reasons we decided to look for a new deal.
EXCITER Line-upWhat remains from this collaboration between them and Exciter? Do you think being signed to Osmose was really positive at this time of the band’s career?
John Ricci: Signing with Osmose was a very positive experience. They re-established Exciter after many years of silence and promoted to the best of their ability the `new` Exciter in 1996. They put us back in the spotlight.
Could you have found better label still at this time, considering Osmose is run by die-hard long-time metal maniac Hervé HERBAUT that has been into the underground for years & years (centuries ?) ? I mean this guy surely knows his business & all about metal!
John Ricci: Yes, Herve has great experience running Osmose Productions. The fact is no other label was interested in us. Osmose was the only choice we had and we were very satisfied with them.
Ok, you’re now on MASSACRE Records… How do you feel about this? Did you struggle a lot to find a good & suitable new label?
Clammy: We are very excited to be working with Massacre, and the feeling is mutual. We didn't struggle to find a suitable label. We fielded a few offers, and based on those and reputation, we went with Massacre. It's been a great relationship so far.
Old-school speed/thrash bands are not numerous on MASSACRE Records, I must say that’s rather a surprise to see you on such a label… An old-school label like Metal Blade would have been no surprise… but MASSACRE is… Why this choice?
Clammy: As I said in the earlier question, their offer and reputation were the deciding factors.
Apart the “New Testament” release which was a compilation of Exciter best shots, the last studio album “Blood Of Tyrants” is from 2000… What have you been doing all this time, until “Thrash Speed Burn”?John Ricci: Following New Testament we had a series of bad luck: Jacques, our singer, kept quitting and then coming back, we had no new material for a new record, then our bass player quit. We then started auditioning singers and bass players. It has taken us all this time to get it all together and I know we have a strong lineup. Myself, Rik, Clammy, and Kenny.
What about the vocalist change.. ? What has happened with J. Belanger ? And how did you found Kenny ? Was he singing in another band before EXCITER… I can hardly get infos about this…
Clammy: There were a number of issues that Jacques and the rest of the band didn’t see eye to eye on, and Jacques decided to leave the band over them. Kenny contacted us when we put the word out that we were looking for a new singer. He came up to Ottawa to audition, and just blew us away. Thrash Speed Burn and the live shows we've played with him have proven that it was not a fluke. He's a great singer and a great front man!
The album is out since February… How have been the reactions so far ? Was it more or less what you were expecting? What are the countries where the welcome is the best ?
Clammy: So far the reactions have been very positive. At first, we really didn’t know what to expect, since no one knew what Kenny sounded like. Once we started recording Thrash Speed Burn, we thought the the fans would like what they heard. Kenny's vocal style is between Jacques' and Dan Beehler, but all his own, so we think the fans who like either style will also like Kenny's style. We don’t have sales numbers as yet, but Germany is always very supportive, and Massacre is happy with the pre-sale figures all around. We got a great reception in Spain when we played the Atarfe Vega Rock festival in March.
And the worst ones(hehe) ? I suppose France is among them.. I don’t really consider my country as a Metal-country as Germany or even Italy is… I even saw an average review about “Thrash Speed Burn” on a national “metal” magazine… this sometimes make me think this mag should change its name to “Pop-Rock” mag… My position is clear... If you don’t like Exciter’s new album, you simply don’t like Metal (the way is it supposed to be!)…
EXCITER at Metal Camp !Clammy: Honestly, I couldn't say. We have fans all over the world, and we appreciate every one of them.
Musically speaking, this new album is really heavy, speed & intense – sounds to me like the early band’s releases in some ways, where it was raw, aggressive, speed… I guess the vocals work is for something in this comparison, Kenny’s voice is really powerful & intense… much more aggressive than ex-EXCITER vocalist J. BELANGER which was more melodious in his way of singing… Kenny reminds me of Dan BEEHLER at times… he can sing & scream in the meantime, which for me is an obvious EXCITER music trademark… (and I love it yeah !!!), do you agree ?
Clammy: Yeah, I agree with that. Kenny is an EXCELLENT fit for Exciter!
Can you tell more on this album? Content? Are there particular themes you wanted to speak about in the lyrics? How did you feel when composing the songs? I guess you surely have the will to make a killer & memorable album, especially after a long period of silence, right? Was there not a bit of pressure on you?
John Ricci: I did not feel pressured to do this record. We have a real positive attitude in this band and the songwriting was encouraged by the band's "all for one" attitude. The main theme throughout this record is Satan can be beaten. Even though the lyrics are dark, the message is positive. There are only certain topics like war, destruction and evilness that coincide with metal music. Thrash Speed Burn re-establishes Exciter as one of the pioneers of speed metal.
Ok… and why such a “straight in your face” title as “Thrash Speed Burn” ? The will & need to impose EXCITER & your style as how real Metal should be? Kinda back to the roots-attitude – no compromise?
Clammy: Yeah, it's a statement. When you buy this CD, you get exactly what you'd expect from a title such as "Thrash Speed Burn". It's classic Exciter. This CD is perfect for driving down the road at a high rate of speed!!
One can say Exciter really has a cult status in the worldwide metal scene… too bad it never really got much more success on a higher level… What have been in your opinion the main reasons of this “bad luck”…? Splits, line-up changes…? Or not only?
Clammy: Well, having only been in the band for the past 4 years, I can't really comment on the internal workings in the early days. But from an outsider's view, as a fan of the band, it always seemed to me that the band never got that extra push over the top that it needed to get to the next level that bands such as Megadeth and Anthrax achieved. I'm sure John will comment further on this.
John Ricci: We never had proper management, and in the early days we made bad business decisions. We are based in Canada, which is a horrible place to be based if you are trying to persue a career in heavy metal music. The Canadian music industry doesn’t support this genre of music; it`s not considered artistic. Other bands from the 80`s went on to stardom because they had a industry that really believed in promoting their own artists. That was then but now things are much different and I think we're getting very close to where we want to be.
EXCITER - ClammyOk, now with a new album & a new line-up… I guess you’re armed for a tour! Have you already confirmed some dates? Will we be lucky to see you touring Europe and hey! France is in Europe, but it seems more & more bands avoid this country… will you come?
Clammy: As of right now, we have only confirmed an appearance at the Rock Hard Festival in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. We are currently exploring touring opportunities for the fall. Likely a European tour in October. Hopefully France will be included.
Before leaving.. How is the scene in Canada? Any good metal bands to look for, bands you could recommend us?
Clammy: Unfortunately, there isn't much of a Metal scene in Canada. In the larger cities such as Montreal and Toronto, there are a good number of Metal fans, but across the rest of the country, there are not too many. We play far more often outside of Canada.
Ok, thanks for your time & kindness… that was a pleasure doing the interview with you… Last words are yours? C-ya on tour (if it comes to France ;-)
Clammy: Thanks for the interview. I'd like to give a huge thank you to all the Exciter fans out there. We will see you later this year (hopefully including France!)