KNAC.COM News Reviews and More Watch The Latest Videos Buy KNAC T-shirts and More

DWARFS Tale: An Exclusive Interview With Darrell "Dwarf" Millar And Russ "Dwarf" Graham Of KILLER DWARFS

By Larry Petro, News Monkey
Thursday, February 5, 2015 @ 12:03 AM

"Thereís two worlds in show business; one part sucks and one part doesnít"

- advertisement -

- advertisement -
Though there were hundreds, maybe even thousands of bands to come out of the hair and glam rock era of the 80's, the KILLER DWARFS were one of only a handful of mentionables to come from north of the U.S. border.

Formed in the early part of that decade by Russ "Dwarf" Graham and Darrell "Dwarf" Millar, the band saw moderate success with a string of releases, starting with their self-titled debut in 1983, Stand Tall (1986), Big Deal (1988), Dirty Weapons (1990) and Method To The Madness in 1992. Several of these releases generated hits for the band and their videos garnered much rotation on MTV back in the day.

After a hiatus the band "reunited" and recorded a show in their hometown of Toronto, Ontario for what would become the live CD/DVD Reunion Of Scribes, which was most recently re-released in 2013. The band went on hiatus yet again and during this time Darrell Dwarf would perform with the band LAIDLAW while Russ Dwarf would join the Canadian band MOXY for several years and even released a disc entitled Wireless, a collection of acoustic version of KILLER DWARFS songs.

2013 saw a 'lost' DWARFS album released under the title Start @ One, which was material written in the early 90's after the Method To The Madness album. The band reunited once again to support the disc and have been going strong ever since.

2014 was a banner year for the DWARFS, with the band playing their first Monsters Of Rock Cruise, Rocklahoma and 80's In The Park, just to name a few in addition to virtually non-stop touring through nearly the first half of the year. The second half of 2014 saw the band involved in what could have been a tragic vehicle accident while traveling home from Rocklahoma, Darrell's marriage to his longtime partner and Russ's trademark tricycle being inducted into the Toronto Hard Rock Cafe.

With 2015 now upon us, I had an opportunity to interview both Russ and Darrell to recap the past year and to get a sneak peek at what 2015 holds in store for the band of "Dwarf" brothers. Enjoy!

KNAC.COM: 2014 was what I would describe as an Ďinterestingí year for the DWARFS. How would you describe it?

DARRELL: It was a year of touring and getting the band's name back in the funny papers, as was 2013. I think we did some Rock and Roll damage in a short time and woke up DWaRf Nation to their battle stations. The word is out.

RUSS: As weíve been saying since we started touring again in 2013 ďwhat could possibly go wrong?Ē. Never a dull moment with this bunch of Land Pirates!

KNAC.COM: It was certainly an up and down year for the band. It seems like that for several ups you had, there was also a down associated with it. Letís start with the bandís first appearance on the Monsters Of Rock Cruise last Spring. How was that experience for you guys?

DARRELL: Well, I am usually a land Pirate, and this time I was at sea for the first time. This cruise is such a good time, and so cool to have the fans right in the middle of it all. I havenít had that much fun in years, and have never talked to so many fans face to face.

RUSS: I love MORC. It didnít really carry any negative for us as far as I know. We totally enjoyed the experience! This was my second time on MORC and I was very glad that we got to do it again with the whole band. Itís a very pro setup and we get to hang with all the music lovers and friends of ours that are in all these great bands. Too much fun I must say! Thanks Larry Morand and Harlan Hendrickson and all the staff on MORC for having us on board! And we canít forget AJ Fratto!

KNAC.COM: Following the cruise the band was out on the road which culminated in the KILLER DWARFS also playing Rocklahoma for the first time and getting to do what no other national act has done at the festival, playing two sets. How did that happen?

DARRELL: Iím not 100% sure, but the story goes that we were suppose to play another show in the area I think. And that didnít happen so the promoter offered us another date thenext day at Rocklahoma.

RUSS: Our manager Rob Zakojc made that happen with Sam McCaslin who runs the Retrospect Records stage. It was a blast and a blast furnace as well. Great people to work with and a really great gig!

KNAC.COM: Barely 48 hours after your final appearance at Rocklahoma you guys were headed home to Canada when you were involved in what could have been a tragic vehicle accident. Take our readers through the events of that day.

DARRELL: Iím sure Russ doesnít want to remember this. Iíll touch on it a bit, I donít want to get back to it. We have left it in the past. It was a sunny day, no different than any other travel day. We were coming up on a merge from two lanes to one lane at a construction site. We were already in the left lane so we didnít need to merge. We were slowing down and driving with the flow of traffic, and all of a sudden the guy in front slammed his brakes on. We couldnít stop in time with the weight of our vehicle and trailer. There was a pickup truck stopped dead in front of the guy that braked. Five car pile-up just like that. No one was charged. End of story. We walked away alive. Very lucky.

RUSS: I think we left early that morning from St Louis. Just a normal day of travel really. We expected to be home in about 12 hours if I remember. Just rolling along, I wasnít really paying attention. I was reading a book at the time it all happened (Little Girl Blue: The Karen Carpenter Story) there was a commotion and I looked up and it was all happeningÖ ďBang into the CoulsonĒ as we say. And then, war zone, crazy. Next thing I know Iím laying in a ditch bleeding with the guys looking over the top of me. I asked Dunk (Darrell), ďis it bad?Ē, and he says, ďYESĒ! I ended up being airlifted to a trauma center in Indianapolis. First time in a chopper, but didnít get to look out the window!

KNAC.COM: Except for Russ the band miraculously escaped with only minor injuries and your gear was virtually intact. Russ, how bad were you injured and have you recovered fully?

RUSS: My head hit the back of a seat and opened up a 7Ē gash on the left side of my forehead down to the skull. It was a bit messy and not the way Iíd expected the day to go. All in all it could have been way worse. Iím very lucky to be alive and in basically one piece. Again, everyone that was involved in my care did an amazing job. I still have a few issues, but Iím alive and well.

KNAC.COM: In a testament to the loyalty of your fans, the Dwarf Nation, the band actually had some assistance from someone in that area in getting back home, is that right?

DARRELL: Yes. Three different people (DWaRf Nation). Roy Blankshain and Ty Smith and Chuck Speer. Chuck drove Russ to the Indy airport. Ty helped load the gear into a new trailer. Then he rescued the trailer and repaired it. Roy actually drove Johnny, Gerry and I back to Toronto with the gear in a U-Haul trailer from Terre Haute. Russ had to fly. He was too banged up. Then months later when the trailer was fixed, Roy delivered the trailer to Buffalo to a show we were playing at Brauns Concert Cove.

RUSS: Yes we have the best fans and friends in the world. Just an unbelievable outpouring of help. Canít thank them enough for all theyíve done. Just blows your mind in a time like that. We really didnít have a clue that people would step up like that. Special thanks to Roy Blankshain, Ty Smith and Chuck Speer.

KNAC.COM: Your accident was one of at least 3 I can think of that occurred during the year that involved bands pulling their gear in a trailer (LILLIAN AXE and ADRENALINE MOB being the other two). Has the accident made you guys rethink that? Several bands now use the cargo style vans to haul everything and not have to use a trailer.

DARRELL: Well, we have flown to shows ever since. But then we use supplied gear which is never as good, especially for me. We really want a bus. That would be the goal. Todays Rock and Roll is not as it was in the 80s and buses are harder to come by. We will see how 2015 plays out.

RUSS: Honestly I donít think it has anything to do with trailers. Itís just the luck of the draw. You can get killed or have an accident in your bathtub. After traveling for over 30 years something is bound to happen. Weíve had close calls before, but this was the worst that I can remember. We have friends that have been killed doing this. Itís all up to fate I suspect.

KNAC.COM: In July, in true DWARFS fashion, Darrell, you finally got married to your longtime partner, but it wasnít your typical wedding ceremony. You actually got married onstage during a DWARFS' performance in Western New York that was officiated by none other than SiriusXM Hair Nation DJ Luc Carl. How did that idea come about?

DARRELL: That was my idea obviously, but it was planned with Luc Carl. We talked about it on MORC. When I found out that Luc actually has marrying powers, the light went on. He really is Rev Luc Carl. We were going to do it at the Metal Farm, Luc's place in Nashville. But that would take way more planning to fly everyone in. I wanted to figure out a way to get everyone in one place as easy as possible. What better way than one of our concerts? Band and management would have to be there. What's better than to have DWaRf Nation there? No stress. Rock and Roll. Iím not a fan of traditional wedding hoopla. Brauns Concert Cove is just 2 hours from Toronto and was the best choice. Then to have John Corabi and CINDERELLA guys on the bill was amazing. Ray Braun really helped me out making it go like clockwork. I flew in Luc Carl and his wife. He was just perfect and nailed the ceremony. It was one we all won't forget. Just a great time.

RUSS: That was Dunk's idea. With the help of Ray and Andrea Braun it came off without a hitch. Tons of fun. Luc who? Bah!!! We love Rev Lucas Carl and his wife Avery. Special shout out to Rev Crabby (John Corabi) for ongoing antics!

KNAC.COM: The KILLER DWARFS received some deserved recognition not too long after that by way of having Russí infamous tricycle inducted into the Hard Rock in Toronto. That had to be a special occasion for the band.

DARRELL: Yes. Another great time for DWaRf Nation to come together and celebrate the band in the hometown of Toronto.

RUSS: Yes we are ďspecialĒ(said in a Dana Carvey church lady voice). Itís always a blast to play our kind of hometown. That was a really fun show as well. Actually all the shows have been a ton-o-fun. We are really enjoying playing these days.

KNAC.COM: Okay, so here we are now in 2015. Whatís in store for the DWARFS in the way of touring this year?

DARRELL: I have been told lots of touring and festivals. Keep the hammer down.

RUSS: We are currently booking shows for this year and beyond, starting up really soon. M3 on May 2nd should be a good one as it's Dunk's 29th birthday!

KNAC.COM: The last album from the band was Start @ One, which was released a couple of years ago that wasnít really Ďnewí music, but rather unreleased material from back in the day. Are there any plans to record some new material?

DARRELL: Yes there is.

RUSS: We do plan on releasing brand new tunes this year at some point. Stay tuned. Get it!!

KNAC.COM: With todayís music environment the way that it is, is it even viable to put out a new album at this point?

DARRELL: Maybe not a whole record.

RUSS: This is something I keep hearing all the time. We make music, thatís what we do. So from our standpoint it doesn't matter (was there a pun intended there?). Itís fun for God's sake! It's good for the soul. Thereís two worlds in show business; one part sucks and one part doesnít!

KNAC.COM: A lot of bands have now overcome the music industry issues by engaging in fan fund raising campaigns on sites such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo, GoFund Me, etc. Considering the loyal fanbase the band has, have you considered possibly going that route for a new album?

DARRELL: Thatís not for us. Recording a new record or material is not an issue for us. We do everything so our fans donít have to go broke to see us.

RUSS: I donít think we will be going down that path. Not that we donít agree with it, whatever floats your boat. I just canít see us doing that. We can just cash in beer bottles!

KNAC.COM: The two of you have been together and friends since the beginning. How has your relationship changed over the years and how is it that you have managed to stay friends and bandmates for so long without killing each other?

DARRELL: DWaRf Brother Hood. It has happened naturally. We havenít had to try and be friends. We have a bond that was started by Rock and Roll. We are the DWaRf Brothers.

RUSS: I hate Dunk's GUTs are you crazy? Itís all an act! Really we are brothers and we have a one rule; he gets the bed closest to the window.

KNAC.COM: Do either of you have any other plans for this year outside of the DWARFS?

DARRELL: Iím hoping I wonít have time to do anything else but be a KiLLeR DWaRf all year.

RUSS: Iím going to start a small cult with my dog Jackson. That should take up my spare time in between touring.

KNAC.COM: How about a shout out to Dwarf Nation?

DARRELL: Best fans in Rock and Roll. We love you!! See you out there in 2015. ROCK!! #Savvy

RUSS: As Ozzy would say ďI love you all!Ē

KNAC.COM: Thanks guys and all the best to the KILLER DWARFS in 2015 from KNAC.COM!

RUSS: Cheers!

For All Things KILLER DWARFS, check out the following:




Back to Top



 Recent Features
JUNKMAN Recaps The 2024 'ROCK FOR RONNIE - Year Of The Dragon' Benefit Concert
Tattoo Me On You: An Interview With LEE AARON
A Symptom Of Being Human: An Exclusive Interview With BARRY KERCH Of SHINEDOWN
Beyond Shadowland: An Exclusive Interview With ROBERT BERRY Of SIX BY SIX
Fear No Evil: An Interview With REX CARROLL Of WHITECROSS
Cold Sweat: An Exclusive Interview With Guitarist MARC FERRARI
Atomic Klok: An Exclusive Interview With Drummer GENE HOGLAN
No Crown In This Dead Town: An Exclusive Interview With HANNAH CUTT
Rome Wasn't Built In A Day: An Exclusive Interview With DEREK DAVIS Of BABYLON A.D.
Humanoid: An Exclusive Interview With WOLF HOFFMANN Of ACCEPT
Banished By Sin: An Exclusive Interview With GLEN BENTON Of DEICIDE
KEELWORLD: An Exclusive Interview With RON KEEL
Pollen Meets The Blacktop: An Exclusive Interview With MATT JAMES Of BLACKTOP MOJO
Reunited: An Exclusive Interview With RENA PETRUCCI, YAEL RALLIS Of MEANSTREAK
40 Years of Rage: An Exclusive Interview With PETER "PEAVY" WAGNER Of RAGE
The Storm Cometh: An Exclusive Interview With MATT PIKE And JEFF MATZ Of HIGH ON FIRE
From The Archives: JUNKMAN's 2011 Interview With DAVID COVERDALE
DJ WILL Recaps The 2024 HELL'S HEROES VI Festival
From Houston To Vegas: An Exclusive Interview With MARK KENDALL Of GREAT WHITE
Free Spirit Soar: An Exclusive Interview With MARK ZONDER Of WARLORD
Living Like A Sunburn: An Exclusive Interview With DANNY DOLL And CHAD MICHAEL Of WICKED
Roots & Shoots: An Interview With JIM PETERIK Of WORLD STAGE
Let There Be Anarchy: An Interview With JEFF SCOTT SOTO Of ART OF ANARCHY
Triumphant: An Exclusive Interview With RIK EMMETT
Cause And Effect: An Exclusive Interview With TREV LUKATHER And NIC COLLINS Of THE EFFECT
Beyond Dreams: An Interview With MURIELLE Of THE GREAT ALONE
Against The Winds: An Exclusive Interview With JEFF PILSON Of REVOLUTION SAINTS
Warp Speed Warriors: An Exclusive Interview With ALICIA VIGIL Of DRAGONFORCE


©2024 KNAC.COM. All Rights Reserved.    Link to us    Advertise with us    Privacy policy
 Latest News