RUSS DWARF – An Exclusive Metal Odyssey Interview!

Russ Dwarf - Publicity Pic - 2013 - #1



RUSS DWARF – When you think of Canadian Rock ‘N Roll heroes, RUSH, Neil Young, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Triumph, Loverboy, Aldo Nova, Paul Anka, Bryan Adams, Kataklysm and Kittie (to name a many few) may come to mind very quickly. Another Canadian Rock ‘N Roll hero that should never be missed in conversation is Russ Dwarf, as well as his legendary 80’s Heavy Metal band: Killer Dwarfs.

Russ Dwarf has had an eventful, memorable, tour-filled, record charting and MTV spotlighted career with his band Killer Dwarfs; from the earliest of the 80’s to the middle of the 90’s decade being this band’s studio recording years. With Killer Dwarfs currently being on hiatus, Russ Dwarf is once again embarking on a solo project, with his newest studio album WIReLeSS having final touches done with mixing, as you read this.

With being involved with the evolution of 80’s Heavy Metal and having other musical projects of esteem on his Rockin’ impressive resume, Russ Dwarf has seen a lot and accomplished just as much, so Russ Dwarf has many things to say! Therefore, this will be a first in an eventual series of interviews with Russ Dwarf. Here you’ll find interesting and downright fun facts about the Rockin’ career of Russ Dwarf, in his own words:

STONE: How did the idea for “WIReLeSS” come about?

RUSS: It was just a natural progression really. I had been doing these songs this way for a couple of years with long time friend and guitarist Glenn Belcher. Basically, we have been playing shows and doing Killer Dwarfs tunes, plus songs from my solo record “Penny Black” and Moxy and HardRoad songs. I wrote an album a few years ago with Earl Johnson, the guitar player from Moxy and I am currently the singer in Moxy. Glenn does such fine arrangements that we wanted to record them and Hey We Did!

STONE: Who else is involved in making “WIReLeSS” a reality?

RUSS: Well as I said my childhood Pal Glenn Belcher (we’ve known each other since I was 14) was really the catalyst in making this happen, as well as Rob “Zaks” Zakojc my business partner in the “Smoothline Entertainment Group” he sings and also plays bass on the record. Then a bunch of old Pals from this area, Kevin Simpson, Dan Lear, and Kevin Reid from my Russ Dwarf Band all played guitar, as well as Cosmo Crupi who added some keys. Fred Duvall, the owner of “The Bunker” studio, played percussion and Co-produced the record with Glenn Belcher. I was also lucky enough to have Ron ”Bumblefoot” Thal (Guns & Roses) and Glen Drover (King Diamond, Megadeth, Testament) take the time to play a couple of amazing pieces for me. Oh and I showed up as well to eat the Chinese Food and drink Japanese Beer!


STONE: Was it difficult or easy to choose which Killer Dwarfs songs would be covered on “WIReLeSS”? Can you describe how you approach translating these songs acoustically?

RUSS: Again Glenn Belcher was a big part of that. His arrangements are really a tribute to how talented this guy is. I love all the original Killer Dwarfs stuff, but this is a whole new life to these songs that have been a part of my life for over half a century. Man I’m OLD! Hearing them come to life again in the studio is like painting an old memory, they still stand up to me after all these years. It’s also a testament to Gerry Finn and Mike Hall’s ability as classic Rock writers as well. I’m very proud of all the songs we wrote all those years ago and I am happy people remember and love them just as much.

STONE: Russ, based on the “new” social-digital landscape of how musicians now sell and promote their music, how important is it to play live today, compared to the 80’s?

RUSS: Well it’s always nice to eat! Honestly I come from a background of “Live Music”, obviously. I’ve been in bands playing live since I was a hairless young lad. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do and have been lucky enough to have found kindred souls seeking the same kind of nomadic lifestyle. I think live music is the most important part of being a writer, singer, musician and comedian! I know the current state of communication brings the world in a little closer than when we started, but you need to get out of your basement and see Live Music, there’s nothing like that feeling. I still get excited at a show, mine or someone’s else’s, it washes over you at the first moments of a Live Show. It’s never changed for me, I still feel it. It’s a bit of oh shit scary and a bit of just youthful heart beats! I might have strayed a bit from the question, but what I’m saying is you MUST PLAY LIVE! You can’t get it together any other way. No matter how much you practice, this is a must. I’ve been blessed to have had that kind of “Show-Bizz” education. As we used to say in the Killer Dwarfs, “it’s an education money can’t buy, but you sure do pay for”!

Russ Dwarf - 80s - publicity pic - Killer Dwarfs


STONE: Can you share what the greatest memory of your musical career has been and what you still want to accomplish as an artist?

RUSS: That is a crazy hard question, there’s just way to many memories. It’s funny when I get asked that, the memories actually come back like slivers in my mind. I have a great memory for dates and all the nutty junk that went on, but like any band or group of people you’d get ten different stories of the same event. I can’t pin point one event really, but I can say our very first show with the Killer Dwarfs in San Antonio Texas was unbelievable for me. I was just talking to a friend about this the other day and all the events were floating back. We had never played the USA at this point so it would be our first gig in the US. We were without a record deal at the time, as we had left our first label Attic records at the time we were recording “Stand Tall”, but it wasn’t finished yet, so no deal no record. A Legend in Texas Joe “ The Godfather” Anthony called up to my house in Toronto; it was an odd call because I had No idea who he was and what he was saying was just too crazy. Supposedly our first record was number one in San Antonio and he wanted to know if we’d come down and do a show.

Killer Dwarfs - Stand Tall - promo cover pic!


RUSS: Let me tell you, San Antonio is the most out-and-out hands down Rock N’ Roll town on EARTH! I kid you not! Between the Godfather and Jack Orbin of Stone City Productions, these cats help more bands breakout than anybody for sure. So here we are, a bunch of green Canadian boys, we played tons of shows in those days probably well over 200 a year easy. We did 3 nights at the Infamous Gasworks in Toronto, get in 2 mini vans, then drive straight down to San Antonio in 36 hours. You have to be 20 something to pull this crap off and have a nice night drinking and swimming and god knows what (I know, but ain’t telling). We show up at the gig which is a beautiful old theater called the Majestic and we pulled around back in our lovely rented vans. There was a whack of people all there, fans… and they all start running towards us… we are NEW so we’re going to ourselves “who the %$#@ is in town?” Not realizing how popular we were there, NUTS I say! Needless to say the show was one of those nights you never forget. For me, that’s one of 2 in my life I knew Rock N’ Roll was the Shit. Anyway, I Still Love the Texans with all my heart and to this day have great friends there. Going back is always like going home there.

So there ya have it! Sorry for all the babbling!



Stone Says: Thank you, Russ! Your babbling is ALWAYS welcomed and yes… YOU ROCK! 


To read about and watch the teazer video for RUSS DWARF – WiReLeSS, click on that cool link below! Whoa!

RuSS DWaRf “WiReLeSS” TeaZeR – Video Streaming Now!

(Above link is a post launched on Metal Odyssey, on January 15, 2013)


For more info on RUSS DWARF, click on the links below!

facebook: Russ DWaRf

Stone - Motorhead Tee  pic:small




6 Responses to “RUSS DWARF – An Exclusive Metal Odyssey Interview!”

  1. I have always been a big fan of the Killer Dwarfs and converted many friends both British and American to them. I had the pleasure of seeing them open for Iron Maiden in London back in 1988 and it was killer, pardon the pun. I loved it when Russ came out riding a kiddies bike during “Keep the Spirit Alive.” Still I always thought they should have been even more successful.
    Great interview, glad to see Russ is doing well.

    • Thanks for the cool input 80’s Metal Man… it’s fabulous knowing you have supported Killer Dwarfs throughout your Metal life! Great “live” memory you’ve shared. \m/\m/

  2. Thanks for that great interview with Russ, Stone! And, oh yeah, I get him totally about getting out and doing it live. I think musicians of our era really have that goin’ on – we know how to do that, it’s in our blood, modern bands in general don’t have those skills, partly due to a lot of venue closures due to the economic squeeze so less places to play….but one area of music where bands still need those chops is METAL, and the metal bands new and old, can really throw down – it’s why I love the genre so much, man! There is no hiding place on a metal stage, the fans know if you mean it or not, so you’d better mean it!
    Looking forward to hearing “Wireless”, Russ! \m/

  3. If I was asked to name Canadian rock heroes, before any of the others you wrote in the first paragraph, I would have said:
    KiLLeR DWaRfs,

    (Don’t really care for Rush)

    • Helix is one FUN band (and a life-long favorite of mine) from the 80’s era and I knew I would miss some Canadian Rock Heroes with my intro… it’s inevitable! AHHH!

      Are there any RUSH songs or albums that you do like? RUSH are such unique and gifted musicians… I’ve grown to love that band all the more as years have passed!

      Keep Rockin’ Tokyo 5!!

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