Drummer/vocalist Dan Beehler of Canadian thrash metal pioneers EXCITER spoke to Australia's "Scars And Guitars" podcast about his band's influence on the death metal and black metal acts of today. He said (hear audio below): "Over the years, it's been pointed out to me, and I've heard it, and bands come up and tell me, including some very famous death metal bands, which it's an honor for me for them to come up. They all have, of course, the 'Heavy Metal Maniac' album.
"I was doing doing some low kind of death metal overdubbed vocals on those albums, which, back then, it wasn't a dominant thing, but it was way back in the mix," he continued. "Yeah, we were the first to do a lot of different things that bands, over the years, picked up on and took it, for sure. We influenced a lot of people. Me both as a drummer, as a writer and as a singer. I get cornered sometimes at the hotel, 'How the fuck do you do that?' Or cornered as a drummer — not that I'm fucking Dave Lombardo or anything. And then I get cornered by singers — not that I'm a great singer. But whatever the hell I do together baffles people. And it's pretty cool. The fact that I can still do it in 2020, every day is a gift."
Beehler recently told Metal Mal that EXCITER is working on a new LP. "We're gonna be shopping a demo in the next few months, and as soon as we secure a deal, we'll record the album," he said. "And it'll be obviously with [new guitarist] Daniel Dekay. It's 2020 EXCITER. And we're pretty excited about it. We really wanna get a new record out there."
Beehler also talked about the addition of Dekay, who replaced original guitarist John Ricci in late 2018.
"Al [bassist Allan Johnson] and I feel like we're in the best version of EXCITER ever," Dan said. "[Daniel] lives in Toronto, but he's originally from Ottawa, our hometown. And through friends and family members, and through my daughter, he's been a friend for many years. And he was in a local band called AGGRESSOR, which I've seen many times. [I've] met his dad many times.
"A lot of guitarists sent in stuff on the Internet, because they knew John had left the band and they wanted to try out for the band," he continued. "And God bless them, and there was tons of really good guitarists, but as soon as Dekay called me, I just knew that he was the guy, because I knew his character, I knew how he could play, I knew just about everything about him. And I told Al, and Al said, 'I don't even wanna listen to any more of the list,' and I said, 'We'll just respect any of those guys that sent stuff in.' And he came out for the first rehearsal and did the whole set for the first show, and it was like he'd been playing with us for years. He's such a great player and he's so good on stage. Everybody says he's the 'kid,' but he's super professional at what he does and handles all of our business and stuff. That was a bonus. So we really lucked out. It's like we got a family member instead of going out into the world and getting somebody and bringing him into EXCITER and getting to know them. It's like we've known him for years. So we really lucked out getting Dekay. We're super happy with him."
Johnson told The Metal Voice that Ricci's exit from EXCITER was "still somewhat of a mystery… He didn't give a solid reason why," he said. "I don't know what he meant by 'fed up,' but he said he was fed up. I confirmed with him. I said, 'Are you sure about this?' And he said, 'Yeah, I'm definitely out.'"
Ricci previousy left EXCITER in 1985 following the release of the band's first three classic albums — "Heavy Metal Maniac" (1983), "Violence & Force" (1984) and "Long Live the Loud" (1985).
EXCITER's latest album, "Death Machine", which featured Ricci as the sole remaining original member, was released in October 2010 via Massacre Records.
Ricci, Beehler and Johnson reunited as EXCITER in 2014 and had been playing sporadic shows for four years before John's latest exit from the group.
Photo credit: Laura Collins-Music Photography