Formed in 1990 by four co-workers at the Rosenlund hospital, Clawfinger comprised of Jocke Skog (b. 3 June 1969, Stockholm, Sweden; programming, vocals), Zak Tell (b. 16 November 1970, Stockholm, Sweden; vocals), Erlend Ottem (b. 13 December 1968, Molde, Norway; guitar) and Bård Torstensen (b. 13 September 1961, Arendal, Norway; guitar). They immediately received international praise for their fluid but powerful alternative rock sound. Their debut single, 1993's "Nigger", also provoked great controversy. Although the subject matter was profoundly anti-racist, many critics wondered as to the wisdom of its title. The media quickly categorized Clawfinger alongside American outfits such as Rage Against The Machine, who similarly combined political activism with a musical scope that ranged from hardcore rap to metal. The band's debut album, Deaf Dumb Blind, expanded their repertoire to encompass funk and even jazz flourishes. It was promoted in the USA on tours with Anthrax and Alice In Chains, while Clawfinger remained rooted in their national charts with a joint EP with Swedish rappers Just D. In 1995 the band, now expanded to a six-piece with the addition of André Skaug (b. Sunndalsøra, Norway; bass) and Ottar Vigerstøl (drums), launched their "Back To The Basic" European tour, which saw them play in 12 European countries within a few weeks.
The band took a break before starting work on their self-titled third album, which featured session drummer Henka Johansson (b. Karlskoga, Sweden). Johansson was later added to the line-up as the band embarked on an extensive tour. Their fourth album, A Whole Lot Of Nothing, was released in 2001 followed by Zeroes & Heros in 2003.