Formed in Toronto in 1980, Breeding Ground’s original line-up included John Shirreff (vocals), Hugh Gladish (and later Chris Wardman – guitar), Jonathan Strayer (bass), and Ken Jones (drums). Similar to last week’s featured band It’s Immaterial, Breeding Ground released several singles, two EPs and one LP throughout the entire 80’s decade.
Breeding Ground garnered airplay on college campuses, which gave them a large, loyal, yet limited following. In the mid-80’s, two of the original band members, Strayer and Jones, were replaced by Gary Quinn (bass) and Kevin Hunter (drums). In 1986, the band made a strong attempt to hold onto their popularity with the release of their second EP. Their one and only full-length album, ironically titled Obscurity and Flair, and featuring Alta Moda singer Molly Johnson along with Chalk Circle’s Tad Winklar on saxophone, did not make its debut until 1989. By that time, unfortunately, Breeding Ground was essentially defunct.
One Breeding Ground single,”Happy Now I Know,” is a satiric send-up of Christian Rock. It also is so reminiscent of the style and sound of another criminally underrated 80’s (and beyond) band, James. Another single that is available via YouTube, “Ceremony of Love,” evokes the style of a fellow homegrown Ontario band, Chalk Circle. Finally, Joy Division/New Order influences abound in “Reunion.”
The band’s music is kept alive today by DJs of exceptionally good taste. Both David Marsden and Ed-FM play Breeding Ground selections on their shows, which is how I became familiar with them. It’s a shame their popularity did not exceed the boundaries of college campuses, because Breeding Ground was one of those criminally obscure bands that should have enjoyed more far-reaching success.
Unfortunately, I am not able to find Breeding Ground music for sale. If someone knows of a source, please leave a comment.
“Happy Now I Know” via YouTube user BREEDINGGROUND1:
“This Time Tomorrow” via YouTube user BREEDINGGROUND1:
“Ceremony of Love” via YouTube user BREEDINGGROUND1:
“Reunion” via YouTube user Packager:
Reunion/ Slaughter (12”) (1983)
Happy Now I Know/ This Time Tomorrow (1986)
Ceremony of Love (1989)
Breeding Ground (1982)
Tales of Adventure (1986)