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Stabbing Westward Biography

Comprising Christopher Hall (vocals, guitar), Walter Flakus (keyboards, programming, guitar), Jim Sellers (bass) and Andy Kubiszewski (drums, guitar, programming), Stabbing Westward made their debut for Columbia Records in 1994 with the searing intensity of Ungod. A collision of technology with ferocious metal riffs, it was promoted by a year of touring with acts as disparate as Prong, Alice Donut, Killing Joke and Depeche Mode. The tour climaxed with a main-stage appearance at the UK’s Reading Festival. Despite their seemingly meteoric arrival on the scene, however, Stabbing Westward had nearly a decade of musical history behind them. They were formed in 1986 by Hall and Flakus in the small town of Macomb, Illinois, USA, after they had spent time ‘floating in and out of other people’s bands’. The duo moved to Chicago in 1986 and added a guitarist. They were temporarily joined by Nine Inch Nails’ drummer Chris Vrenna, who had previously worked with Hall as part of the Die Warzau touring ensemble. Replaced by David Suycott on drums, Stabbing Westward expanded to a five-piece band with the addition of guitarist Stuart Zechman and bass player Sellers. Despite their increasing technical and musical proficiency, they found it difficult to secure a major recording contract until, in the early 90s, Columbia was impressed by the depth of their sound. The label flew the band to London, England, to record their debut album with producer John Fryer (Nine Inch Nails, Love And Rockets, Cocteau Twins). Ungod was widely acclaimed by reviewers in the metal and alternative press, but before a follow-up collection could be recorded, the line-up shuffled once more, with Nine Inch Nails, The The and Crowded House collaborator Kubiszewski replacing Suycott. Wither Blister Burn & Peel was a particularly rewarding album, with songs such as ‘Crushing Me’ and ‘What Do I Have To Do?’ impressing with their inward-focused lyrics and intense musicianship. Lead singer Hall described Darkest Days as an album ‘more like a ride through the life of a depressed person’. Following one further album for the Koch Records label, the group announced it was disbanding in February 2002.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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