Killer Dwarfs (1981-1995, 2001-present): a Hard Rock band from Oshawa, Ontario, Canada.
iller Dwarfs was formed in late 1981 by Russ and Darrell Dwarf, (like the Ramones: The Killer Dwarfs name all members after the band, so everyone has the name of "Dwarf"). The act released their self-titled debut album in 1983. The award-winning band established a solid following in Canada, while achieving modest worldwide sales.
The break through in the United States came when San Antonio based radio personality Joe Anthony started spinning their album on a regular basis, much to the delight of hard rocking Texans. This planted the seeds for what would result in Killer Dwarfs receiving a lot of attention South of Canada's border.
Mike Dwarf joined the band in 1984, followed by Bad Ronbo Dwarf less than a year later. With the "classic" Dwarf line up now in place, they kept touring and writing songs for what would be compiled into the 'Dwarfs' second album, Stand Tall; an album considered a cult classic in the world of indie rock. A tour of Texas brought the band to American soil for the first time in July 1986 to sold out shows.
Released in 1986 by 'Maze/A&M' in Canada and 'Grudge' in the USA, Stand Tall was embraced by American rock radio; the first single, Keep the Spirit Alive, considered an anthem of the times. The accompanying video was added to regular rotation on MTV and the newly born Canadian music TV station, Much Music. By spring of 1987, the video became the most requested video on MTV, setting a record that would take years to overcome. A second video for the title track was greeted with nearly equal accolades. This wide exposure allowed the group to tour coast to coast in the US and Canada with such acts as Saxon and Accept, selling an unprecedented 80,000 copies of Stand Tall. It also led to serious interest from a number of American record labels.
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Later, in 1987, they signed a worldwide record deal with 'Epic Records', and hit the studio with acclaimed producer Simon Hanhart. The result was the album Big Deal. Released in 1988, the album spawned the single and video We Stand Alone plus the tracks I'm Alive, Startin' to Shine, Tell Me Please that became popular on radio. Killer Dwarfs launched into a club tour of North America, and landed an opening spot for Iron Maiden's sold out tour of Great Britain; the tour climaxed with shows at Wembley Arena and the Hammersmith Odeon in London.
The next year, Killer Dwarfs moved operations from Toronto to L.A. to record Dirty Weapons with award winning producer Andy Johns (Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Rod Stewart, and Cinderella). Released in 1990, the resulting album sported It Doesn't Matter, the band's first radio hit in the USA. The song went to number one in thirteen cities, including two major stations in Los Angeles. The title track Dirty Weapons also became a popular track and a standard on MTV's Headbangers Ball program. Headlining club dates and performing at sold out shows with such acts as: Dio, and Michael Schenker across the continent suggested even a brighter future. Later that year, Dirty Weapons received a nomination for a Juno award; Canada's equivelent to the Grammy's.
Mike Dwarf left the band in 1991. The band recruited guitarist Gerry "Dwarf" Finn and continued recording their 1992 album Method To The Madness with Andy Johns back at the helm. The singles Hard Luck Town and the wistful Driftin' Back secured rock radio and video airplay that landed the band a North American tour with Pantera and Skid Row.
It wasn't long into the 1990s, however, changes in the music business saw melodic hard rock and metal acts taking a back seat to the grunge movement. Like many of their contemporaries, Killer Dwarfs found themselves without a record label or outlet for their genre of music. The band's final performance was in their hometown of Toronto in the spring of 1995, whereby they broke up.
After a six year hiatus and the brisk sales of their re-released albums, Killer Dwarfs, Big Deal, Dirty Weapons and Method to the Madness, they decided to regroup to deliver the live album fans have been demanding for years. In August of 2001, the 'Dwarfs reunited on stage in Toronto. Their triumphant return was simulcast throughout cities in Canada and in Los Angeles, and concurrently recorded and filmed. The new Killer Dwarfs album (and forthcoming DVD), Reunion Of Scribes - Live 2001 (2002) was the result of this multimedia event that featured a compilation of live performances from the "classic" line up of: founding member Russ "Dwarf" Graham (vocals) and drummer Darrell "Dwarf" Millar, together with guitarist Mike "Dwarf" Hall and bassist Ronald "Bad Ronbo Dwarf.
The next album to be released was Start @ One in 2013, an album that was recorded in 1993 but never released.
On May 26, 2014, the band was returning home after concluding a US tour at the Rocklahoma festival in Tulsa. While passing through a construction zone along Interstate 70 in Indiana, the band's pickup truck, struck two other vehicles and crashed into a ditch. Graham was airlifted to a hospital in Terre Haute where he received 24 stitches to close a gash on the left side of his forehead; the rest of the band walked away with cuts and bruises.
In June 2017, Killer Dwarfs would appear at the famed Sound of Music festival in Burlington, Ontario.
Along with Rush, Lee Aaron, Helix, Annihilator, Anvil, Voivod and a few other's, Killer Dwarfs are one of the few Canadian hard rock acts to achieve international success.
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