Stabbing Westward

Stabbing Westward

Infobox musical artist
Name = Stabbing Westward

Background = group_or_band
Origin = Chicago, Illinois, United States
Genre = Industrial rock Alternative rock Industrial metal
Years_active = 1985 – 2002
Label = Columbia Records Koch Records Sony Records
URL = []
Past_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.


The Early Years, 1985-1992

Christopher Hall and Walter Flakus decided to start an Industrial band by the name of Stabbing Westward. The phrase "Stabbing Westward" first appeared in a 1950s newsreel film that declares "Soviet Russia was expansively stabbing westward, knifing into nations left empty by war." []

Moving to Chicago in 1986, the original lineup consisted of Christopher on bass, 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" featured an early version of "Violent Mood Swings" (titled, "Violent Mood Swing") which eventually wound up on the compilation CD, "The Cyberflesh Conspiracy". Two of the three remaining demo songs were later reworked over the years and became "Shame" and "The Thing I Hate".

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 the streets in 1994. The band landed an opening slot on a Depeche Mode tour, but still album sales were 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".

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 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 "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.
* 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 some producing for the band t.A.T.u., produced a CD for a Cleveland band called State Of Being (Metropolis Records), has produced music for TV shows (including "Monster Garage", "Monster House", "Johnny Zero", "Queer Eye for the Straight Girl", and "The Missy Elliott Show"), and has even formed a new production company with Ed Buller.
* Mark Eliopulos now plays guitar in the band, Violent New Breed.
* Derrek Hawkins now plays rhythm guitar with ex-Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley on Ace's Rocket Ride tour.


* Christopher Hall - vocals, guitar
* Walter Flakus - keyboard
* Chris Vrenna - drums

* Christopher Hall - vocals, guitar
* Walter Flakus - keyboard, backing vocals
* Stuart Zechman - guitar
* Jim Sellers - bass
* David Suycott - drums
* Andy Kubiszewski - live drums (end of Ungod tour, 1995)

* Christopher Hall - vocals, guitar
* Walter Flakus - keyboard, guitar, backing vocals
* Jim Sellers - bass
* Andy Kubiszewski - drums, guitar, keyboard, backing vocals

* Christopher Hall - vocals, guitar
* Walter Flakus - keyboard, guitar, backing vocals
* Mark Eliopulos - guitar, backing vocals
* Jim Sellers - bass
* Andy Kubiszewski - drums, guitar, keyboard, backing vocals

* Christopher Hall - vocals, guitar
* Walter Flakus - guitar, keyboard, backing vocals
* Derrek Hawkins - guitar, backing vocals
* Jim Sellers - bass
* Andy Kubiszewski - drums, guitar, keyboard



* "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.

Other appearances

* The anime' movie, "", an adaptation of the popular video game series, featured the song "Save Yourself" from the "Darkest Days" album.

* "The Thing I Hate" was used in the opening sequence of the Sony PlayStation video game, "".

* A remix of the song "Waking Up Beside You" can be heard in various scenes in the movie "".

* "Violent Mood Swings," from the album "Ungod", was remixed and played in the Kevin Smith movie, "Clerks".

*The song "What Do I Have to Do?" was featured in the 1997 movie, "Masterminds", as the opening sequence to the film, but was not featured on the soundtrack.

*Acoustic versions of "So Far Away" and "Wasted" were also featured on a special bonus disc available with the "Stabbing Westward" album from Best Buy as a limited release in 2001.

*A live acoustic set, recorded on radio station Q101's "Mancow's Morning Madhouse," included the songs "What Do I Have to Do?" and "Sometimes it Hurts."

*Stabbing Westward's song, "Torn Apart," was also featured on the "Spawn" soundtrack album, remixed by Josh Wink.

*Stabbing Westward is featured on the soundtrack to "Not Another Teen Movie" with the song "Bizarre Love Triangle," originally released by New Order.

*The song "Nothing" appeared in the movies "Bad Boys" and "Johnny Mnemonic".

*The song "Save Yourself" appears in the trailer for the 2006 movie, "The Covenant", in the 1998 film, "Urban Legend", as well as in the Daria episode "Ill".

*The film "Escape from L.A". features Stabbing Westward's song "Dawn".

*Stabbing Westward's song "What do I Have to Do?" was featured in the first season finale of the hit WB television series, "Smallville", during the opening sequence.

*The Song "Haunting Me" appeared in the 1998 film "The Faculty".

External links

* [ All Music Guide entry for Stabbing Westward]
* [ The Dreaming Myspace Page]
* [ @ MTV News Archive]
* [ Fortune City entry for Stabbing Westward]

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