Killer Dwarfs (stylized as KiLLeR DWaRfS) are a Canadian heavy metal band that formed in late 1981 in Oshawa, Ontario and enjoyed moderate success in its native Canada in the 1980s. Known for its offbeat sense of humor (all band members adopted the surname “Dwarf”), the band was nominated for two Juno Awards during its career. Though not British, Killer Dwarfs were sometimes compared to NWOBHM acts such as Iron Maiden and Saxon.
Before The Killer Dwarfs formed, the band consisted of Darrell Millar, Bryce Trewin, and Ange Fodero in a group called Sphinx. After Sphinx, Russ Graham entered the picture and they became The Killer Dwarfs. The original lineup consisted of Russ Graham (vocals) and Darrell Millar (drums), along with Bryce Trewin (guitar) and Ange Fodero (bass). Its self-titled 1983 debut album was nominated for a Juno Award and radio stations in the US, particularly in Texas, started to play the album.
Trewin and Fodero left the band shortly afterward and were replaced by guitarist Mike Hall and bassist Ron Mayer. This classic lineup released the band’s breakthrough 1986 album Stand Tall, followed by Big Deal in 1988 and Dirty Weapons in 1990. The band received much recognition in Canada and the United States during the 80’s, and its videos were in regular rotation at MuchMusic and on the MTV program Headbanger’s Ball. Gerry Finn replaced Hall in 1992, and the album Method to the Madness was released later that year.
The band toured for several years but then parted ways. During the mid-to-late 1990s, the band members pursued other projects. Graham formed a band called PennyBlack, and Hall and Finn both became members of the legendary Canadian metal band Helix. Millar went on to drum for the southern rock band Laidlaw before forming his own Bon Scott era AC/DC tribute band Autobon, which went on to become Automan.ca, which provided Millar with a vehicle for recording original material. Mayer became a businessman and moved to the U.S. In 2001, however, the lineup of Graham, Millar, Hall and Mayer reunited to tour across North America. Recordings from these shows make up the live album Reunion of Scribes: Live 2001.’. The band again went on hiatus until 2013, when Graham, Millar, Finn and Mayer released the album Start @ One which was recorded in 1993 but never released. Also in 2013, Graham released Wireless in which he sings acoustic versions of popular Killer Dwarfs songs with guest musicians.
On May 26, 2014, the band was returning home after concluding a US tour at the Rocklahoma festival in Pryor, OK. While passing through a construction zone along Interstate 70 in Indiana, the band’s pickup truck, driven by Fenton, 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 a radio interview a month later, Graham said he was healing well, but the area around the gash was still completely numb.
On January 5, 2018, it was announced that Killer Dwarfs had signed to Megadeth bassist David Ellefson’s EMP Label Group, which would release a Killer Dwarfs’ live album called NO GUFF. EMP also announced that it would reissue the band’s independently released START@ONE and vocalist Graham’s solo debut Wireless,’ plus new 2019 studio albums from Killer Dwarfs and Russ Dwarf.