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Stabbing Westward
Origin Chicago, Illinois, United States
Genres Industrial rock
Alternative rock
Years active 1985 – 2002
Labels Columbia Records
Koch Records
Sony Records
Website stabbingwestward.com
Former members
Christopher Hall
Walter Flakus
Jim Sellers
Andy Kubiszewski

Stabbing Westward was an American industrial rock and alternative rock band. They formed in 1985 in Chicago, Illinois and began recording in the 1990s.

Contents

History

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The Early Years, 1985-1992

Christopher Hall and Walter Flakus formed the band Stabbing Westward when they were in college. They came up with the name in 1985 while working at the college radio station [88.3 the dog]. Says Chris: "Since we went to Western Illinois University, Stabbing Westward had a certain 'kill everybody in the school' vibe to it! The school's way out in farm country and the country is really close minded. I was walking around like Robert Smith with real big hair, big baggy black clothes, black fingernail polish and eye makeup. They just didn't get it. We hated the town." [1]

Christopher Hall and Walter Flakus decided to start an industrial rock band by the name of Stabbing Westward. The phrase "Stabbing Westward" comes from a time when Chris and Walter were bandmates at Western Illinois University, in Macomb. After a mutual rant about how provincial their lives had become, the two of them decided upon "Stabbing Westward," as a sign of aggression toward the area.[2][3]

Moving to Chicago in 1986, the original lineup consisted of Christopher on bass and lead vocals, Walter on keyboards, and Jim Clanin on guitar (Clanin later purchased, and as of 2004, operates the Dairy Queen in Macomb, Illinois). In 1990, a four song demo tape was recorded by an early conception of Stabbing Westward. This "EP" called, "Iwo Jimma" featured an early version of "Violent Mood Swings" (titled, "Violent Mood Swing") which eventually wound up on the compilation CD, The Cyberflesh Conspiracy. Each of the three remaining demo songs were later reworked over the years ("Shame (Do You Think God Is Dead)" became "Shame", "P.O.M.F." became "The Thing I Hate", and "Plastic Jesus" became "Dawn").

Hall took a brief break to tour with Die Warzau as that group's percussionist before continuing work on Stabbing Westward. Christopher and Walter later recruited Chris Vrenna (Nine Inch Nails) on drums, as Hall had met Vrenna when playing in Die Warzau. Vrenna played drums on all the demo recordings that ultimately landed Stabbing Westward their record deal with Columbia Records. Those demo recordings included Violent Mood Swings, Lies, and Nothing. They were recorded at a studio in Evanston, Illinois and included Stuart Zechman on guitar. After Vrenna returned to Nine Inch Nails, the band hired Dave Suycott who was a high school friend of Walters.

The Ungod era, 1993-1995

The trio added Wax Trax recording artist Stuart Zechman on guitar and David Suycott on drums. In 1993, the band recorded in Eden Studios; London, England with producer John Fryer. This resulted in their major label (Columbia Records) debut, Ungod, which hit stores in 1994. The band landed an opening slot on the Depeche Mode Exotic Tour, but Stabbing Westward album sales were still sluggish.

David Suycott abruptly dropped out of the band toward the end of the Ungod tour. Andy Kubiszewski was called in to replace Suycott's position for the remainder of the shows. This fast replacement required Andy to learn all of Dave's parts while on his flight to meet with the band. Andy became a permanent fixture of Stabbing Westward.

Andy was the singer and chief-songwriter of the Cleveland-based band, Exotic Birds. Several songs off of various SW were actually demoed under the moniker Exotic Birds before the Exotic Birds dissolved in the early 1990s. A few of the Stabbing Westward songs that Kubiszewski is responsible for include "Crushing Me," "What Do I Have To Do?," "Haunting Me," "Desperate Now," "Sometimes It Hurts," and "Perfect".

Also, their song "Nothing" was featured in the "Club Hell" scene of the motion picture, "Bad Boys."

The Wither, Blister, Burn & Peel era, 1995-1997

Stuart Zechman departed from the band after the Ungod tour, which left the members of Stabbing Westward to record all of the guitar parts on Wither, Blister, Burn & Peel themselves. The recording of their second album took place in a barn in Woodstock, New York. The band recruited Mark Eliopulos after the Wither, Blister, Burn & Peel recording sessions were completed to handle the live-element of the main guitar parts.

In 1996, the Wither Blister Burn & Peel LP became a success, landing them their first certified gold album, aided by the singles "Shame" and "What Do I Have to Do?" which granted the band heavy rotation on MTV, MuchMusic and radio. Tour mates for this album included Sponge, Kiss, and The Sex Pistols.

The Darkest Days era, 1998-2000

Stabbing Westward relocated to Los Angeles, California where they began work on the 1998 album, titled Darkest Days. Darkest Days was envisioned as a four-act story by the band (but never marketed as such). This is the only release featuring studio work by Mark Eliopulos. The first single, "Save Yourself," had success yet the album failed to sell as well as its predecessor. Stabbing Westward continued to tour with bands like Placebo, The Cult, Monster Magnet, and Depeche Mode, while playing numerous summer festivals.

The day before the band was to fly to Hawaii to record the follow-up to Darkest Days with producer Bob Rock, the band was dropped by Columbia Records.

The title "The Thing I Hate" was featured in its entirety as the opening theme to Duke Nukem: Time to Kill (also released in 1998).

The song "Save Yourself" was featured in the 1998 teen-slasher movie "Urban Legend"

It was also Utilized in the 1998 animated movie "Tekken".

The "Self-titled" era, 2001-2002

Stabbing Westward signed to Koch Records. Mark Eliopulos left, thus, yet another guitar change ensued, resulting in the recruitment of Derrek Hawkins as both a studio musician and live musician for the band. The addition of producer Ed Buller to the project led to a new, somewhat softer sound. The self-titled album, Stabbing Westward, was released in 2001 and featured the hit "So Far Away". Before a fifth LP could be recorded, Stabbing Westward formally announced that the band had broken up on February 9, 2002.

After Stabbing Westward, 2003-current

  • Lead singer Hall has formed the L.A. based band The Dreaming.
  • Walter Flakus has been working with The Clay People and Chokt. He now hosts "Lovesick Singalong" on Goom Radio's Rock-It Radio.
  • Jim Sellers and his wife have opened a natural foods market called Sellers Market.
  • Andy Kubiszewski has filled in as the drummer for a handful of Prick shows, joined a new project called Affected with Chris Schleyer, has done song writing and producing for the band t.A.T.u., produced a CD for a Cleveland band called State Of Being (Metropolis Records), has composed music for dozens of TV shows (including Monster Garage, Monster House, Ax Men, Americas Toughest Jobs, The Colony), and Film ('Death Sentence, 'Jam))and has even formed a new production company with Ed Buller.Andy recently played drums on former PRICK bandmate Kevin McMahon's latest CD (sic).
  • Mark Eliopulos now plays guitar in the bands, Violent New BreedHTH Super Model
  • Derrek Hawkins now plays rhythm guitar with ex-Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley on Ace's Rocket Ride tour.

Specificity

Christopher Hall's vocal style has been called "understated". Never deviating from signature, Hall manages to navigate the octaves of most of Stabbing Westward's tracks. Able to venture from a whisper to a high-pitch, Hall's voice is instantly recognizable in SW's tracks. Many of the song lyrics deal with a loss of relationship. Some of them have been aligned with a spiritual aspect of human/divine relationships.

Members

  • Christopher Hall - vocals, guitar (1992-2002)
  • Walter Flakus - keyboard (1992-2002)
  • Jim Sellers - bass (1993-2002)
  • Andy Kubiszewski - drums, guitar, keyboard, backing vocals (1995-2002)
    • began as live drummer at the end of the 1995 Ungod tour following David Suycott's departure.
  • Derrek Hawkins - guitar, backing vocals (1999-2002)
  • Chris Vrenna - drums (1992)
  • Stuart Zechman - guitar (1993-1995)
  • David Suycott - drums (1993-1995)
  • Mark Eliopulos - guitar, backing vocals (1996-1999)
  • Johnny Haro - drums (1998 - filling in for an injured Andy Kubiszewski)

Discography

Year Title Label
1992 Iwo Jima EP
1994 Ungod Columbia
1996 Wither Blister Burn & Peel Columbia
1998 Darkest Days Columbia
2001 Stabbing Westward Koch
2003 The Essential Stabbing Westward Sony
2003 What Do I Have to Do? Sony

Singles

Year Song US Hot 100 U.S. Modern Rock U.S. Main- stream Rock Album
1994 "Violent Mood Swings" - - - Ungod
1994 "Lies" - - - Ungod
1994 "Nothing" - - - Ungod
1996 "What Do I Have to Do?" 60* 11 7 Wither Blister Burn & Peel
1996 "Shame" 69* 14 7 Wither Blister Burn & Peel
1998 "Sometimes It Hurts" - 39 20 Darkest Days
1998 "Save Yourself" - 20 4 Darkest Days
1999 "Haunting Me" - 34 19 Darkest Days
2001 "So Far Away" - 21 23 Stabbing Westward
  • "What Do I Have to Do?" and "Shame" charted on the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay, due to the fact no commercially available singles were released for the songs.

References

  1. ^ Interview by George Lecorchick, R & R Reported, April 1996
  2. ^ JBTV interview 1998
  3. ^ Illinois entertainer August 1998

External links


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