Darrell DWaRf Millar “I just think Music has been depressing through the 90’s & into 2000’s. No party really. No light shows. No fire. No Concussion cannons. No Tricycles! Rockers want to live and let their hair down again!”
Darrell DWaRf Millar is a Rock N’ Roll Pirate! He eats, sleeps and screams Rock N’ Roll! As the drummer for the KiLLeR DWaRfS for over 30 years as well as six year stint as the drummer for Laidlaw, the first band ever signed to Nikki Sixx Americoma Records, and has the past ten years fronting his own band, Automan.CA. Now, he is back home, behind the kit with the KiLLeR DWaRfS and winding down a crazy 2014 while gearing up for an even crazier 2015!
Legendary Rock Interviews caught up with Darrell after a night out to see Korn & Slipknot tear up the Air Canada Centre to discuss his past, the present, the future and his new Dunk’s Pirate Shop that debuted online this week!
Legendary Rock Interviews: Hello Dunk! How is the weather up in Toronto?
Darrell DWaRf Millar: Weather is not bad considering. No snow in the Downtown core of Toronto where I live at the moment.
LRI: A few nights ago you attended the Korn/Slipknot show at the Air Canada Centre as a guest of Korn drummer Ray Luzier. First off, what did you think of their respective shows? How does it make you feel when today’s drummers cite you as an influence or seek you out to tell you such?
DDM: Yes. Very powerful performances from both bands and very drum driven all night. It’s always very flattering to know that your playing has influenced another drummer. Especially guys of the caliber of Ray Luzier.
LRI: In late 2013, KiLLeR DWaRFs released their ‘Lost’ album “Start @ One”. Can you give us the scoop on this lost gem?
DDM: It’s simple really. After Method To The Madness release in 1991. We followed it up with this record Start @ One. The problem was the musical climate had changed and we were dropped from Epic records and no longer had a label to release it, so we shelved it for another day. Turned out 20 years later is the other day and it’s now released.
LRI: 2014 has been a year of the highest of highs and about the scariest low imaginable. The KiLLeR DWaRFs have reunited & hit the touring circuit again & play high profile gigs such as the 2014 MORC, 80’s In The Park Rocklahoma and others. How has the response been?
DDM: The response has been a work in progress getting the word out we are back after being away for 8 years. It’s been overwhelming spirited you could say from DWaRf Nation. We really mean something special to these rockers guys and gals. We love our fans and they love us. I couldn’t be happier with the last 15 months of touring. WE’RE BACK!!
LRI: Do you notice an upswing in reception from fans and the industry to this reunion compared to the one back in 2001-2002?
DDM: Yes. 100% larger more positive reception than 2001. And that was because of 9/11 and again the musical climate wasn’t ready. If you have noticed, 80’s Metal is in an upswing itself and it’s apparent with Monsters Of Rock Cruise, etc.
LRI: What do you think is the reason for this reception?
DDM: I just think Music has been depressing through the 90’s & into 2000’s. No party really. No light shows. No fire. No Concussion cannons. No Tricycles! Rockers want to live and let their hair down again. I think a lot of our fans have had kids, they have moved out now and they are back rocking it again. We have been around for 30 years.
LRI: Who all is in the KiLLeR DWaRFs circa 2014?
DDM: Russ DWaRf Graham (Founding Member) Darrell DWaRf Millar (Founding Member) Gerry DWaRf Finn (1990-2014) Johnny DWaRf Fenton (2013-2014)
LRI: Now that the KiLLeR DWaRFs have reunited, what is the status of the band you were formed and fronted since 2004, Automan.CA?
DDM: Automan lives. It’s just not active on a tour circuit at the moment. The band is intact member wise and the music on iTunes, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube sites are all active. I’m back on the kit full time right now and really zoned into it. I don’t want to do both but I may do a few shows with Automan in 2015. And there is a new track I want to release to radio as well. It’s called Street Urchin.
LRI: You know I’d have to go here but let’s jump in the way back machine to 1996 when you joined the Southern California rock band Moonshine who a few years later would become Nikki Sixx of Mötley Crüe’s first band signed to his Americoma Records and re-branded Laidlaw. How did you hook up with them & how was your time in Laidlaw and on the road touring with Mötley Crüe, The Scorpions, ZZ Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd?
DDM: Well in one of those DWaRf hiatuses which was the darkest one after Method the Madness and getting dropped from Epic, I wanted to continue playing music. California has always been a magic play ground of good fortune for me and it hit again when I ran back into Craig DeFalco, who was a prior employee of Killer Dwarfs. He was Mike Dwarfs guitar tech. The rest is history and touring with those guys with ZZ Top, Mötley Crüe, Scorpions and Lynyrd Skynyrd are some of my fondest memories of my career.
LRI: Any crazy road stories with Mötley Crüe that you can share?
DDM: I don’t want Sixx coming at me for talking about Mötley Crüe’s private affairs. He’s a cool guy and has his shit together. One thing I remember, he had his 40th Birthday on the tour and Donna, his wife at the time, staged these two guy strippers in cop suits to handcuff Sixx to a chair and dance around him. Apparently the cuffs were too tight. He was pissed right off over the whole stunt. I think the whole thing back fired.
LRI: The late great Randy Castillo was in Mötley Crüe during part of that time. Any special memories or funny stories of Randy during those tours?
DDM: Randy was a sweetheart of a guy. He came out a few times and jammed with Laidlaw along the tour. We would play clubs on the nights off. They were special nights.
LRI: Back to present day, this summer the KiLLeR DWaRFs were involved in a very serious accident in Indiana that saw Russ hospitalized with major injuries. What happened and is everyone back in tip-top shape after that?
DDM: Yup. That could have turned out so much worse. All that happened was we were coming up on a construction site on I-70 in Indiana, after Rocklahoma, in perfect weather following the flow of traffic at a reduced speed. The lanes were merging into one lane. The guy in front of us slammed his breaks on due to a pickup truck in front of him stopped dead at the merge. Not sure why he didn’t slow down in time. With the weight of our trailer we couldn’t stop or swerve in time and slammed into the pile. 5 cars involved. Air Bags popped. Russ got hurt. We all sustained minor injuries from the impact and the seat belts, but Russ had a huge gash on his head. It’s all a memory now. Russ healed right up. You can’t even tell he was in it. The rest of the band is fine now as well and we just want to put it behind us.
LRI: On September 19th, the KiLLeR DWaRFs were honored by the Hard Rock Cafe by having Russ’ legendary trike permanently inducted into the Hard Rock? How emotional of a night or how big of an honor was that?
DDM: Ya it was a fun time for all. The show really kicked ass that night. Hell, even Roger Peterson, the head news anchor at City TV in Toronto even dropped by for a Pop and with a film crew. Just another great thing happening to the band these days.
LRI: Back to a real emotional night, July 25th. Most people choose to get married in front of close friends and family but not you, you had a full blown Rock n’ Roll Extravaganza Wedding during a KiLLeR DWaRFs show in New York alongside fans and fellow rockers. How cool was that night?
DDM: It was a one of a kind evening and wedding. I really did it for my girlfriend of 18 years and to kind of marry the band at the same time. They were all on stage. In fact my Ring has KiLLeR DWaRfS engrave on the outside and my wife and daughters on the inside. Luc Carl rocked it with pure Rock and Roll Savvy.
LRI: When Luc Carl got to the part where he asks “If anyone has any reason why these two should not be united in unholy matrimony, speak now or forever hold your peace.” Were you afraid of Willy or John Corabi pulling some drunken comedy shenanigans at that point?
DDM: He didn’t give anyone a chance to deny the wedding with his vows. Pure Gold. I’ll never forget. Then we rocked after with John Corabi and others on stage for our set. It was a Braun’s Concert Cove outside of Buffalo. A favorite outdoor venue of Dwarfs and our first show back in 2013!
LRI: The KiLLeR DWaRFs recorded a stellar version of “Nothin’ To Lose” which features piano by Bruce Foster who played on the original KISS version 40 years ago for Rock Journalist Mitch Lafon’s ‘A World With Heroes’ EP where proceeds go to the Vaudreuil-Soulanges Palliative Care Home of Quebec, Canada. How did this opportunity come about and can you give us some insight in to the tracks selection and recording process?
DDM: That was simple as well. Mitch contacted us and asked us. He’s really good friends with Russ. We love KISS and we were happy to help. I arranged some studio time at a friend’s studio in Toronto, Pocket Studio. We went in and finished the songs in one day. Then they were mixed by Fred Duval at his studio. It was a lot of fun and I think the tracks sound Killer and it’s for a good cause. Available on iTunes. A World With Heroes EP.
LRI: What can fans expect from the KiLLeR DWaRFs in 2015 in terms of new music or touring?
DDM: We are going to release some new tracks. Not necessarily a full record though. Touring will be extensive in Canada and USA again and this time Europe is in the mix.
LRI: You recently launched Dunks Pirate Shop online? Can you clue readers in on what this is?
DDM: Yes. A pet project. It’s an online retail store of rock trinkets from myself. Rock and Roll Pirate stuff associated with me. My image has evolved from Automan to the Rock and Roll Pirate and has got fueled by DWaRfs to really kick into a fun time. I do drink Rum. A Lot. I do have a braided Pirate Beard and long hair. I do travel from port to port and party down with all kinds of people. I just don’t rape pillage and kill. Makes me the Rock and Roll Land Pirate. A damn good Pirate to be. The fans love it. They send me stuff constantly in the mail and on Facebook to do with Pirates. The site has jewelry, T Shirt, Drum Heads etc with the Pirate theme. Even my drum kit Jolly Roger is for sale. Check it out.
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