Vocalist Christopher Hall and keyboardist Walter Flakus met in 1985 and formed the industrial rock band Stabbing Westward in Chicago. They released an EP in 1990, and recruited guitarist Stuart Zechman, bassist Jim Sellers, and drummer David Suycott. In late 1993, Columbia issued the band's major-label debut, Ungod. Although the album wasn't a success, the group promoted it relentlessly, touring constantly and doing scores of interviews. The groundwork paid off in 1996, when the group released their second album, Wither Blister Burn & Peel. The touring and promotion had built a solid, albeit small fan base which provided the launching pad for the second record's first single, "What Do I Have to Do." The single became a Buzz Clip on MTV, and by the summer, it was a modern rock radio hit that pushed the album to gold status. Stabbing Westward received further exposure that summer when they opened several dates for the reunited Sex Pistols.