A World With Heroes (40th Anniversary KISS tribute) will feature members of Cinderella, Tesla, Great White, XYZ, Guns & Roses, The Killer Dwarfs, Little Caesar, Whitesnake, Kill Devil Hill, Honeymoon Suite, FireHouse, Black Country Communion, LA Guns, Slaves On Dope, The Doro Band and Helix, as well as Doro herself, Tommy Denander, Jeff Paris, Phil Naro, Willie Basse and late additions Mark Slaughter and Ron Keel. However this is no ordinary tribute album, with all the profits from the release going to benefit a cancer care hospice where sadly the father-in-law of rock photographer, writer and interviewer Mitch Lafon passed away earlier this year; a sad event which motivated Mitch to begin to put together a project which will feature Kiss songs from every era of the band. One of the many musicians involved from the start is Killer Dwarfs frontman Russ Dwarf who spoke with Sea of Tranquility's Steven Reid about the album, the band being paid tribute to and (almost) the man behind the project.
Part three of this interview, which is to follow at a later date, will feature Terry Ilous of Great White and XYZ, part one with Bill Leverty of FireHouse is already online.
To find out more about A World With Heroes, or to "Pledge" to buy it, or one of the many excellent exclusives available along-side the album, visit http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/kiss40thtribute.
As the album title for this charity project cleverly suggests 'A World With Heroes' is a Kiss Tribute album. As a huge Kiss fan myself, I'm intrigued as to the influence that "The Hottest Band In The Land" has on some of the most respected names in hard rock. "I've been a Kiss fan since I was 13…" Russ Dwarf begins, "saw them many times as a teenager… I can't say that they have influenced my song writing, but I can say it was an education on what a "Rock Show" was supposed to be. As we used to say in the Dwarfs "here's the $3.50 show for 2 Bucks!""
Throughout their forty, yes 40 year history, Kiss have evolved and grown through many line-up changes, adapting and surviving through the ever altering musical eras and leading the rock scene through both good and bad times. Russ however is a traditionalist... "I'm partial to the original line-up..." he asserts, picking out one expected choice and one lesser as his favourite albums by the men in make-up "Destroyer was one of my fave records…[as was] Dressed To Kill", the latter being a personal favourite of this Kiss nut as well.
So with a love of the early days of Simmons, Stanley, Frehley and Criss, it would be a fair bet that the Killer Dwarfs, Moxy and Hardroad mainman would be delving far back into the history of Kiss for his contributions to the 'A World With Heroes' album. "As far as I know right now I'll be doing "Deuce"" Russ confirms, before revealing his second selection to be something far more recent - in Kiss terms anyway "and Unholy, [both] with Bill Leverty (of FireHouse) and Sean Kelly (from Helix and Nelly Furtado) [along with ] Eric Brittingham (bass - Cinderella), Jeff LaBar (guitars - Cinderella) and Troy Lucketta (drums - Tesla) who are doing the beds. Sean and Bill will be adding guitars."
As for how Russ got to know the organiser of the 'A World With Heroes' project, rock journalist, interviewer and photographer, Mitch Lafon, well he's keeping that close to his chest, cryptically and somewhat tongue in cheekly, suggesting "that's another story…", before going on to expand upon why he was so keen to get involved with a charity project aiming to raise as much money as possible for the Vaudreuil-Soulanges Palliative Care Residence, revealing that cancer has unfortunately touched his life on many occasions. "Yes unfortunately it has… as with anyone I assume at this point in time. I lost my Mom to cancer in 98 and my best friend and father in-law in 2011… and have a few friends battle it as we speak… so yes I'm very aware of this devastating disease…"
Therefore it is no surprise that Russ is going the extra mile for this worthy cause, not only donating his energy and creativity to the album, but by also giving up his time so that a lucky "Pledger" can get the chance to chat with him through Skype. "That's going to be fun. I love talking to people and it's the least I can do to support this album and Mitch. After all it takes a ton of effort and time to organise this kind of project" the singer says with real enthusiasm.
A World With Heroes will be much more than a quick collaboration effort, with, as Russ has already eluded to, the likes of Eric Brittingham, Jeff LaBar and Troy Lucketta making up the "house band", while Terry Ilous, Bill Leverty, Bumblefoot, Ron Young, Doug Aldrich, Rex Brown, Dery Grehan, Phil Lewis, Doro, Tommy Denander, Slaves On Dope, Mark Slaughter, Willie Basse, Ron Keel and Sean Kelly also will be contributing their time and talent. It must be quite exciting to be involved with a project with so many well-respected musicians? "Oh absolutely!" the singer exclaims excitedly, "what an amazing bunch of talent has been recruited for this album… I don't know how I slipped in there!", but of what happens after the album Russ isn't so sure, although I know personally I'd love the opportunity to see a show celebrating this album, music and charity. "As of now I'm not sure, but that sound like a great idea" he says thoughtfully, "I think everyone will be filming the studio work… so who knows… hopefully!"
Away from 'A World With Heroes' Russ is obviously extremely busy with The Killer Dwarves, but he's also a member of two other fine acts, Moxy and Hardroad. How on Earth has he found the time to cram everything in? "I'm very proud of all those bands." he states with every right to be exactly that. "Right now I have a brand new record coming out called Russ Dwarf Wireless. It's eleven tracks of my favourite Killer Dwarf tunes done acoustically and it will be out at the beginning of March this year. I'll be doing a short run of dates in the USA starting March 6th, plus I'm going to be on the MORC [Monsters Of Rock Cruise] this year March 16th to 20th with a bunch of the guys from this Kiss record. So it will be great to meet everyone in person! I will also be recording a Rock record this year with a bunch of different writers, as well as doing more shows with my Russ Dwarf band" and if that wasn't enough for one man... "I have a few Moxy shows coming up as well, plus trying to finish up a doc. about my life in Rock called Russ Dwarf Tall Tales". So surely that's it, but no… "and my new web site RussDwarf.com… and I'm moving into a new house! So it's a bit crazy, but I'm a very lucky man!"
However when asked why he is still finding to time to work on and promote this excellent album and cause, Russ finishes with four simple words that sum up the good feeling behind this project..."It is my pleasure!"
No Russ, the pleasure is all ours!