A new festival arrives in Mexico City
Metalhead Marv talks with Killer Dwarfs co-founder Darrell “Dwarf” Millar.
MM: Hey Pirate, Enjoying the cold Toronto weather? What’s keeping you busy these days?
DM: No. I am hating the cold weather these days. I cant wait to get out of here Feb 8th. We fly to Miami to embark on the Monsters of Rock Cruise. I am constantly busy. That’s what I do. I have been playing drums daily and filming episodes of the Covid Condo Kit on YouTube here and there. I have been writing a few songs, and promoting my new book Thunder Foot. Doing radio, podcasts and This Day In Metal right now.
MM: So the Killer Dwarfs formed in 1981. Did you ever expect the band would still be playing in 2022?
DM: Yes. We just had our 40th Anniversary NYE that just passed, and we couldn’t do fuck all about it, due to this Rona horse shit. I am a hearing a rumor, there may be a anniversary show, in the Toronto Area in March for it.
If you talked to me in 1981, and asked me where did I think I would be in 2022. I would have said, probably dead, or moved to Mars.
MM: So out of all the band’s albums which album is your favourite? My would be Dirty Weapons. Some awesome tunes on that one.
DM: Dirty Weapons is the obvious go to favorite. I do love that record, but Stand Tall and Big Deal are my fav DWaRf records. Stand Tall, because I know what we went through, against all odds to write and record it. There is some magic on that record. Big Deal, because I think the songs are top notch and over looked on that one. It’s like Rush’s Caress Of Steel.
MM: So in 1988 you got to opened for Iron Maiden in England. What was that time like? I’ve heard some crazy stories about those concerts. Did you do any sightseeing or meet any famous people there?
DM: Actually, all these answers are in my new book. Thunder Foot Chronicles of a Rock n Roll Pirate Volume I. So if you want these answers, seek out the book.
MM: Did you happen to go see Bruce Dickinson on his book tour when he came to Toronto?
DM: No. I missed that one. Probably dealing with all the fucking restrictions the city of Toronto lays on us at any given time.
MM: It’s hilarious and I recommend you go to the show in Hamilton if you get the chance.
DM: I think I may be working myself on that date. I hope I am. Bruce is an interesting and smart rock personality. There is no one like him. Up The Irons.
MM: In 1987, the video for “Keep The Spirit Alive” became the most requested video on MTV, setting a record that would take years to overcome. In Canada we had the “Pepsi Power Hour” with John Roberts who actually moved to the states and become a host for Fox News. Who could imagine eh? Were you surprised by the success of that video?
DM: I can’t say I was surprised. I think I was only hoping and wishing these videos would be successful, because I really believed they were brilliant and different from what most 80’s metal bands were doing at the time. Not many out there were willing to laugh at themselves, or along with themselves. “Stand Tall” and “Keep The Spirit Alive” both have a story line that covers it.
MM: So in 199? you moved to Los Angeles and join the band Laidlaw. I heard Nikki Sixx produced the album. What was it like working with Nikki? And if I’m correct the band opened for Mötley Crüe on their “Generation Swine” tour. Any stories you can share from that tour?
DM: Again. This is all content that is saved for my book. Thunder Foot Volume II, which will be released end of this year, and Laidlaw will be in that book.
I moved to Los Angeles and joined a band called Moonshine at the tail end of 1996. Craig Defalco was the leader of that band. He also was a guitar tech, for many big artists. Nikki Sixx was one of them.
He approached Nikki to sign the band to Nikki’s new label Americoma Records. Sixx changed the name to Laidlaw , after “Tommy Laidlaw” the lead singers last name. We only played one show on the Swine tour. It was in Phoenix Arizona. That’s when Sixx made up his mind to sign us that night.
Both Nikki and Tommy got arrested back stage that night and taken away. Outstanding warrants apparently. We did extensive tours with the Crue on the “Greatest Hits” tour in 1998. And Maximum Rock tour in 1999 with Motley and Scorpions.
MM: A few years ago you did a few shows with Helix and Kick Axe. Any plans to do some more with those bands?
DM: Absolutely there is more plans for us. It’s a classic line up for sure. We all really like each other. It’s a great vibe back stage and shows have sold out in Calgary and Winnipeg previous. This package of bands would sell out anywhere. There will be more shows with this line up in 2022 TBA.
MM: Listen, I think the three bands should play Hamilton Place and Massey Hall or even Casino Rama. I hope the booking agent can make this happen for us fans.
DM: I agree 100%, and I am on a personal quest to see the DWaRfS perform at Massey Hall. I played there with Laidlaw in 1998 opening for Motley, but the DWaRfS (Russ) has never had the pleasure yet. It’s a must.
MM: I believe the golf tournament was cancelled last year. Any plans to have it this year?
DM: The golf tourney is our manager, Rob Zakks baby. I think he was going to take a break from it before the Rona hit. I don’t think he wanted to take a three year break though. LOL So yes, I believe if this Omnicorn Rona garbage leaves us alone, you may see the tourney back. Yes.
MM: Me and you are huge Maple Leafs fans. Who’s your all time favourite Maple Leaf player?
DM: Dave Keon, Darryl Sittler and Dougie Gilmour. Go Leafs Go
MM: Did the Killer Dwarfs ever play Maple Leaf Gardens?
DM: Sadly no. Russ and I only watched from the audience or back stage. Got on stage with Maiden one night with a bunch of folks singing back ground vocals to one of their songs. We probably took in 50 shows at MLG. Everyone from Prince, Frank Zappa, Rush, Kiss, Ted Nugent, Ozzy. Man. You name it. From 1978 until the Gardens closed, we were there. I was even at that famous Leafs game, with Gilmour vs Gretzky and the LA Kings, in 1993. Leafs lost, and they were about to go to the finals against Montreal with a win.
MM: Besides Rush who’s your favourite Canadian band?
DM: April Wine, Gordon Lightfoot, Triumph
MM: Speaking of Canadian bands, I was invited to the Triumph documentary in Toronto last year and damn it was good. Brought back lots of memories for me. Did you ever open for them?
DM: No, but I did the sound check for Kick Axe, on Brian’s drums in Winnipeg, when Kick axe opened for Triumph.
MM: Back in 2012 when social media was just getting popular I created a Killer Dwarfs Twitter account to help fans get back in touch with the band and at the time I don’t think the band was back together. My plan was to actually get to see the band played live again. And I’m so glad that happened. Do you think social media has help the band?
DM: First off, thank you for doing that. The thing about the KiLLeR DWaRfS, and its founding members, Russ DWaRf and Darrell DWaRf.
We never break up. You have never heard an announcement that the band will never tour again, or the band is retired. We just go away under ground and take hiatus’s. We do this when the climate of Rock n Roll is not favorable DWaRf weather lets say. We have walked through 40 years of storms.
I embraced social media full on in the year 2000. As much as the download, and stealing of music, has been a real dark side for the industry, the positive side is, bands can be independent and become stars on the internet. It has been the best tool ever to personally reach your fan base. Incredible actually.
So, to answer your question. Yes, it has been an incredible tool for the band, since our touring start up in 2013.
MM: In 2018, it was announced that Killer Dwarfs had signed EMP Label Group to record 5 new albums. So I’ve been waiting patiently for some new material from the band. Any idea when we can expect this? You know I’ll keep nagging you about it. LOL
DM: All of DWaRf Nation wants to know the answer to this one. Yes we did connect with the EMP label. We have one new record to deal with, when it comes to them. They also have our live record “No Guff” and the “Start @ One” record, as well as two of Russ’s solo records.
If this whole Rona pandemic didn’t happen, there would already be a new DWaRf Record released. I didn’t even get in the same room with Russ for over a year and a half. We have only played two live shows since December 2019.
We are trying to get back on track now, starting with the Monsters of Rock Cruise Feb 9th 2022. I still can’t give you a release date of the new record, but I can guarantee you there is new music written.
MM: So I see you’ve written a few books..Tell me about them? And what made you decide to write them? I hoping to get the chance to read them soon.
DM: Yes. I am in the book business now as well. I planned on writing a book, but didn’t think I would take that on until I retired from drumming.
Basically, it all came about after my Dad Bill Millar passed away at 93, four years ago. Even though he was really up there in age, and had lived a full excellent life, l wasn’t prepared for the actual day he left us. He was in a LTC home in Oshawa Ontario. We were very close. He was a fantastic jazz piano player. He bought me my first drum kit, and enrolled me into drum lessons at 7 years of age.
While I was going through the grieving process, I started jotting down memoirs on my computer. Remembering good times and bad about my dad, and our relationship. I laughed and cried during this process. I started reading some of these ramblings to my wife and my Mom. They were completely entertained and riveted to the stories. They said, you should write a book. This is incredible.
That is when “Guardian of a Time Keeper” was born. It’s a book of 10 short chapters of near death experiences I have encounter in my lifes journey. From 2 years old until present. It’s like the movie “Final Destination” My Dad is in many chapters. He saved my life.
From the success of the first book, I started writing the Rock n Roll biography side of my life, and now we have Thunder Foot Chronicles of a Rock n Roll Pirate Volume I. This will be followed by two other volumes in the near future. Both books can be purchased in hard copy only at Amazon world wide, or at my site, autographed and personalized, with free shipping at dunkspirateshop.com
MM: So next month the band is back on the Monsters of Cruise. Are you excited or a little nervous with covid going around?
DM: I’ll be honest with you. I am not nervous at all about the virus itself going around. I have endured three Pfizer vaccinations. If I still have to be afraid to get the virus, then why in the fuck did I get vaccinated. I wear masks, I follow social distance rules. I have complied. Now I’m just sick and tired of all if it. It has totally ruined many business’s and fucked the Rock n Roll business. I personally know over 35 people now, including some staff at LIFT, the salon we own, that have contracted the virus.
They all recovered in a matter of days from the Omnicron Variant. We have start living our lives here. I can’t wait to fly to Miami and start living mine. Rock n Roll style. On the Monsters of Rock Cruise with my band, family, and Alice Cooper and the rest of the great bands on that boat. \m/
Thanks for doing the interview!! We’ll see you when your back in Toronto!!
Metalhead Marv 🤘🏻👍👊
YESTERDAY, TODAY, EVERYDAY HEAVY METAL!! 🤘🏻👍👊
Copyright © 2022 This Day in Metal – All Rights Reserved.