Killer Dwarfs were a Canadian band with an awful name. 1988’s Big Deal was their third album, and their first album after signing with a major label (Epic). The name of the album is not only a play on their stupid band name but also a reference to the “big deal” they signed with Epic.
Killer Dwarfs had a benevolence, a sense of humor, and corniness that made them easy to like. On Big Deal, they wrote these perfect little pop tunes thinly disguised as heavy metal. I guess they were similar to Poison in that respect (though much different image-wise). I am really blown away by the ability of these guys to write such hook-laden songs. It seems that every note that goes into Big Deal is meant to be ear candy. There are not only big sweeping choruses, but also well-developed pre-choruses and even pre-pre-choruses! These songs are catchier than a cold! Vocalist Russ “Dwarf” Graham had a real knack for singing very melodic vocal lines. He had a great range, first of all, and he just seemed to have this innate ability to pick the the right notes to make every line he sang instantly memorable.
Honestly, this is one of the catchiest hard rock/metal albums I’ve ever heard! From the guitar solos to the backing vocals, Big Deal is sweeter than pecan pie. To the real headbangers out there, Big Deal will most likely seem way too corporate and way too radio-friendly to take seriously. Fair enough. But if you have a soft spot for that kind of stuff (like I do), you won’t want to miss out on Killer Dwarfs! Personal faves include Startin’ To Shine, Breakaway, and We Stand Alone. But really, all ten tracks are pretty damn good.
Now to the matter of why Big Deal was not a big hit. As mentioned above, the band name didn’t help. It’s not as bad as Pedifile but it’s still a dumb name. Then of course there is the matter of that ridiculous cover. What was Epic thinking? Who the hell would want to buy an album with an imbecilic cover like that? In hindsight, maybe Killer Dwarfs should have went the Poison route. They should have moved to L.A. and changed their name to something like Lip Service (or Lip Cervixx). They should have got all dolled up with eye-liner and blush. They should have tried to appeal to the female audience like Poison did. I bet they would have went platinum — especially with songs like these! But it was not to be. Killer Dwarfs were just too quirky. Too Canadian. Bless their hearts! My score: A