80’s Music Rules ~ Criminally Underrated Artists/ Bands ~ Breeding Ground

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:

via YouTube user Packager:


Reunion/ Slaughter
(12”) (1983)
Happy Now I Know/ This Time Tomorrow (1986)
Ceremony of Love (1989)

Breeding Ground
Tales of Adventure (1986)

Obscurity and Flair

5 thoughts on “80’s Music Rules ~ Criminally Underrated Artists/ Bands ~ Breeding Ground

  1. eBay has the odd album or CD up for sale. Other than that, I’m sure you’d find an occasional momento in the used music shops. We didn’t sell lots so they may be few and far between.
    Oh and by the way, Chris Wardman was NOT an original member of the band. He joined for a short time at the initial start-up of phase 2 in 1987 and did not last very long due to a personality mismatch you might say.


  2. Hi Hugh, and thanks for your comment! Also, thank you for the clarity on Chris Wardman. David Marsden (now at the Rock.FM) still plays your music occasionally, as does Ed-FM from Retrospect CFRC. Thank goodness for these two music champions for keeping great music alive. All the best to you. xo


  3. Yes Miss Parker (who are you anyway?) – I have connected with David Marsden on FB as Brad from Chalk Circle informed me a year ago that he was playing our stuff occasionally on his radio show in Oshawa (?). Dave has always been that great dj promoting left of centre stream music. I am not familiar with Ed-FM and CFRC but probably should be no ? I will do a search on the internet for him and the station.
    I miss those days in the 80’s living in Toronto and being a small part of the club racket. Fond memories.


  4. Hi again Hugh,
    Glad to hear you are connected with David. He has become a wonderful friend and musical mentor. I love south Florida, but it was a vast cultural wasteland during the 80s, so I missed out on some incredible music. Through the magic of the Internet, I have connected with DJs, fans, musicians, and retro experts, thus fueling my love for the era. Ed-FM broadcasts from Queens University on Tuesday nights from 8 pm until 10 pm. During the show, you can call him, email him, or chat with him using the link under Gary Numan’s picture on my home page. If he knows your listening, I am sure we’ll hear some Breeding Ground. You can catch his broadcast here: http://cfrc.ca/blog/ or if you use Windows media to stream the internet, use this URL: http://sunsite.queensu.ca:8000/

    David’s show is every Saturday and Sunday night from 7 pm until midnight. You can access his show here: http://www.therock.fm/listenlive.asp and you can visit him in the chatroom here by clicking the chattering teeth on his website: http://www.marsdenglobal.com/
    If you visit, please tell him Miss Parker sent you. 🙂

    If you’d like to connect with me on FB, please send a request to Sandy Numanfan Missparker.

    All the best,


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