We are lucky to have gotten the chance to sit down with Rik Charron, drummer of Canadian thrash legends Exciter.
Let's start with telling people who the members of Exciter are.
Rik: Well let’s see... the way we stand in our current situation, There’s Kenny Winter on vocals. Clammy on bass, Myles Rourke on Guitar and Myself, Rik Charron, on Drums.
At what age did you start playing drums?
Rik: I started playing at the age of 7 and my parents bought my first kit when I was 9 or 10. The drums consisted of a single bass drum, snare, two rack toms and a floor tom, 2 crash cymbals and ride cymbal. To my parent’s grief and test of patience, I practiced several hours day. lol!!
How did you come to be the drummer for Exciter?
Rik: Dan Beeler quit the band back in 1994 if I’m right. John Ricci , the original guitarist , had auditions and I was one of the candidates. I auditioned twice because he liked the way I played and thought I was the perfect fit for EXCITER because of my aggressive drumming style. So in 1996 it was announced that I was the new drummer of EXCITER.
So, what was it like when you found out you were now Exciter's newest drummer?
Rik: I was horrified!! lmao! Actually, I was amazed that I was the one that the band wanted. It was a great feeling and also an eye opener!! I was now the drummer of the originators of thrash/speed metal!!!I had to step up and realize that I was now a professional drummer on the world stage. It was alot to take in and it happened very quickly.
When and where was your first gig as the new drummer of Exciter?
Rik: Our first gig with me as the drummer was near the end of 1996 in Ottawa Canada at a club called Barrymore's. at that time the band consisted of John Ricci of guitar, Jacques Belanger on vocals and Mark Charron( no relation ) on bass.
What has life been like in Exciter? Crazy? Boring? Wild?
Rik: Boring?? Hell no!! it's never boring in Exciter. We’ve played all over the world, met alot of people and bands. Most of the time it’s a crazy ride.
What are some bands that you guys have toured or played with?
Rik: Man!!! that’s a loaded question... let’s see.. There was Anvil and Flotsam and Jetsam for a European tour. Steel Attack and Black Abyss in Europe as well. there was numerous one off shows all over the world like Sweden Rock, Wacken open air, Keep it true festival, several other festivals across Europe as well like, heavy metal maniacs fest, just to name a few. And festivals across South America, Mexico, the metal cruise called 70000 tons of metal with 42 other bands. A festival called Tiff in Japan and the Noctis fest in Canada. Those are just a few off the top of my head .
Which Exciter albums did you play on? Which was your favorite?
Rik: I played on the Dark Command, the Blood of Tyrants, the New Testament, Thrash Speed Burn, and Death Machine. My personal favorite is the Dark Command.
The fans would be interested in knowing what drum equipment you use.
Rik: I have a set of Pearl drums, TRX cymbals ( 5 crashes, 2 Chinas a set of high hats, and ride), 2 DW bass drum pedals, Evans drum heads, AHEAD drum sticks. I Need to change drum heads every 4 to 5 months because they start to lose their tone. And I like to experiment with all types of drum heads.
You recently put out a statement saying John Ricci left Exciter. Why did he leave Exciter?
Rik: Well... this is a sensitive subject. John decided to quit the band because of personal reasons towards the Bass Player, we were not happy with his decision. He told us (and we have the emails from John concerning this) that he was quitting and wanted us to continue with Exciter. So that what we were contemplating to do and to keep pounding metal! But personally, I have mixed feeling concerning the band continuing as Exciter without John in the band. We’ve been getting support for us continuing as Exciter and some resentment as well. This is just a personal feeling, but I think the Cons outweigh the Pros on this matter. To me it just doesn’t feel right playing shows without John or feel like the right thing to do. I’m actually considering the band the way it stands right now as side project…not Exciter, I feel Exciter is on hold until further notice, but I’m not sure how the other members feel about it. We posted an official statement on our website Excitermetal.com and facebook stating that John Retired… That was not my idea to write it that way, but was out voted somehow and they posted it saying John retired from the music industry, that was not true and I disagreed with that statement!!! In fact, he just quit! It was an internal conflict with one of the members that made him decide to leave the band. I know he’ll be back in some way, I know he will.
And with the departure of John Ricci, you have the arrival of Myles Rourke.
Rik: Yes, he's a great guitarist and we feel that he's a good asset and could do the Exciter music justice. We are very confident that the fans would agree to, if given the chance. A small history lesson here, Myles was to be Brian Mcfee’s replacement when he left Exciter back after the “EXCITER” OTT album. We are currently rehearsing and polishing the material from all the albums from Heavy Metal Maniac to Death Machine with him but like I said in another question, I personally don’t feel right about us remaining as Exciter…it just feels wrong!
Any future albums planned for Exciter?
Rik: We are currently writing new songs for an upcoming album. And I think it will be a killer album! But I think it should actually be under a different name…I really need to talk about this issue I’m having concerning keeping it under the Exciter name and releasing it under a different band name all together.
What does 2014 and beyond hold for Exciter?
Rik: Not sure about Exciter, the band is on hold in my view. But We intend to put out a new album as soon as possible, not sure if it will be an Exciter album or a new project, play shows all over the world. There is talk of a possible tour of Europe later this year, but that is still only in the planning and talking stages.
I think the fans would love to know some fun stuff about you guys. What are your hobbies, what was the first cd/album you ever bought, what was the first concert you ever attended, and if you could play with any musician past or present, who would it be?
Kenny Winter: the first album I ever bought was Kiss Alive II. My hobby is animal consumption ha ha. The first concert I ever attended was Shaun Cassidy in 1978. And if I could play with any musician past or present it would be Cindy Lauper, Toto, Riot (the Thundersteel lineup).
Myles Rourke: The first cd I ever bought was Van Halen II, and Black Sabbaths first album at the same time. The first concert I ever attended was Black Sabbath , the Mob Rules tour. My hobbies are podcasting, computer games, collecting anything and everything, and Rum. The musician that I would like to play with past or present would be Alice Cooper.
Rik: the first Album i bought was Kiss double platinum. the first concert was Kiss Love gun tour back in 1977. my hobbies are Grilling on the Barbeque, reading, repairing cars, jamming with other local musicians, and model making. My dream would be to play a show as the drummer for Overkill, or Destruction.
Clammy: I have no idea what the first cd I bought was because that was 30 years ago, and I can barely remember 30 seconds ago!! The first show I went to was Kiss in 1982. My hobbies are riding my Harley, bacon, boobies, beer/Whiskey, shooting, collecting Marshall amps and cabs. The musician I would like to play with past or present is Lemmy.
Interview by Heather Williams