Killer Dwarfs

Canadian Classic Rock
Biography

Killer Dwarfs

Killer Dwarfs

 

The Killer Dwarfs were aptly dubbed as a marketing gimmick, playing on the members' relative diminutive stature. The original line-up consisted of singer Russell Graham, guitarist Bryce Trewin, Angelo Fodero on bass and drummer Darrell Millar. Originally a Black Sabbath/Ozzy tribute band, they toured the Ontario bar circuit until mid '83, when they cut their self-titled debut on Attic Records that fall . Produced by Doug Hill and backed by the single "Heavy Mental Breakdown", the group instantly made a name for themselves for their unbridled energy and faster than lightning sound. The lead-off track "Are You Ready" and "Outlaw Of A Modern Man" further put on an exclamation mark on the 'gospel according to the dwarfs' - faster is better - - HARDER AND FASTER IS BEST!

The band hit the road to promote the record for the better part of a year. When they returned to the studios, they were quickly introduced to the politics of the biz. A falling out with management over doing covers for the next album left them without a contract. With the band's future already up in the air, Trewin and Fodero left and were replaced by Mike Hall and Ronald Mayer. Using Graham's own money, they cut STAND TALL in '86 on Maze Records here in Canada, while looking for an American distributor. They backed the likes of Accept and Saxon on the road and had soon spread their word enough to be signed by Grudge Records in the US. The popularity of the single "Keep The Spirit Alive" and heavy hitters like "Do Or Die", "Bite The Hand That Feeds" and title-track soon had The Dwarfs headlining major venues across the continent, eventually selling 80,000 copies of the record.

Still searching for a major label deal, the band signed with Epic in '88, after an unprecedented lengthy negotiation. Over 180 changes were made to the contract - the end result in the studio was that year's BIG DEAL. Recorded again in Toronto and produced by Simon Halhart, whose previous credits included the likes of Saxon and Marillion, it continued on the road the band had paved for itself. "Starting To Shine", "Power" and the anthemic "Desperados" assisted the single "We Stand Alone" in showing the world The Killer Dwarfs were a world-class metal outfit, backing up Iron Maiden and appearing at several outdoor rock festivals here and overseas, including Donnington and Wembley.

The band switched locales for the recording of DIRTY WEAPONS in 1990. The recluse of the American desert and new producer Andy Johns made for an interesting mix. Though still of the 'grab you by the balls' variety, the album showed a definite maturity in writing with an off the wall approach, exemplified by the singles "Coming Through" and the title-track. They resumed their life on the road in support of the record, touring with the likes of Yngwie (I can play the scales faster than anyone!) Malmsteen and Ronnie James (I'm a God in every sense of the word) Dio.

'92 saw the release of METHOD TO THE MADNESS, with new guitarist Gerry Finn, who'd replaced Hall earlier that year. Though yet another killer metal record, it failed to live up to the expectations laid out for the band, due in part to squabbles with management. Still, the album is considered by most who actually know anything about hard rock to be one of the best this country's ever produced, including the title track, "Hard Luck Town" and "Cowboys and Conmen". Also featured was the inclusion of "It Doesn't Matter", which previously appeared on the DIRTY WEAPONS lp, earning them their first Juno the next year for 'best hard rock single'. ... a feat all its own when considering Epic wouldn't finance a video.

The label would wind up pulling all support for the Dwarfs the next year. Without a major contract, the band continued doing the hard rock circuit until disbanding in 1995. Graham now fronts his own band, Penny Black, while the other members keep themselves busy in the industry, including Hall and Finn touring together for the first time playing with Helix.

Heavy metal is an acquired taste. Though it's heyday has been replaced with rap and other crap most of us are quick to hate, metal is arguably the truest form of musical expression. Canada has produced more than its share of headbanging musicians, but few measure up to The Dwarfs. Never compromising and true to themselves and to their fans, The Killer Dwarfs were in a class all themselves.

Written by Dan Brisebois of
CanConRox

Discography

Killer Dwarfs
Killer Dwarfs (1983)

Are You Ready
Can't Lose
Drifter
Prisoner
Heavy Mental Breakdown
Read Between The Lines
Gotta Lose To Win
Outlaw of a Modern Man
Time To Move On
Fire In Your Eyes

Stand Tall
Stand Tall (1986)

Stand Tall (Stick To Your Guns)
Human Survival
Up To You And Me
Borderline
Through Animal Eyes
Keep The Spirit Alive
Believe In Me
Do Or Die
Out In The Streets
Bite The Hand That Feeds

Big Deal
Big Deal (1988)

Tell Me Please
We Stand Alone
Startin' To Shine
Breakaway
Union Of Pride
Lifetime
Power
I'm Alive
Burn It Down
Desperados
Hard Luck Town
Just As Well
Driftin' Back
All My Heroes
Stranger Than Fiction
Four Seasons

Dirty Weapons
Dirty Weapons (1990)

Dirty Weapons
Nothin' Gets Nothin'
All That We Dream
Doesn't Matter
Last Laugh
Comin' Through
One Way Out
Appeal
Not Foolin'
Want It Bad
Method to the Madness
Give and Take
Look Around
G.T.Y. (Goodbye to Yesterday)
Cowboys and Conmen

Method To The Madness
Method To The Madness (1992)

Hard Luck Town
Just as Well
Driftin' Back
All My Heroes
Stranger Than Fiction
Four Seasons
Method to the Madness
Give and Take
Look Around
G.T.Y. (Goodbye to Yesterday)
Cowboys and Conmen
Doesn't Matter


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