Breaking Circus

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Breaking Circus
Origin Chicago, Illinois, USA
Genres Alternative rock, post-punk
Years active 1984–1988
Labels Homestead Records
Associated acts Shellac
Brick Layer Cake
Rifle Sport
Big Trouble House
Man Sized Action
Past members Steve Björklund
Peter Conway
Todd Trainer
Phil Harder
Tony Pucci

Breaking Circus was a post-punk band from the 1980s, based in Chicago and later Minneapolis, led by guitarist and vocalist Steve Björklund.


Björklund had earlier been a guitarist and vocalist for Strike Under; after a short stint in Terminal Beach,[1] Breaking Circus was his next project, which initially also included bassist Bruce Lange.[2] Breaking Circus signed to Homestead Records for their first release, The Very Long Fuse (1985), which used the Roland TR-606 drum machine.[2] The EP included the song Marathon, which has been cited as "stuck in several thousand heads" and a "college-radio favorite"[2][3]

In 1986, Björklund moved to Minneapolis and began working with Rifle Sport bassist Pete "Flour" Conway and drummer/guitarist Todd Trainer.[4] In 1986 the band released a song, Driving the Dynamite Truck on the Twin/Tone compilation Big Hits Of Mid-America Volume Four, with a slightly different lineup having Tony Pucci of Man Sized Action in the drummer's chair.[5] Driving the Dynamite Truck was later covered by the band Seam on the Kernel EP.[6] Homestead Records released the band's The Ice Machine LP with the album's credits appearing as a Monopoly-style drinking game insert.

Breaking Circus was joined by second guitarist Phil Harder for a national tour before returning to the studio to record another LP that was to feature four songs by Björklund, four by Flour, and four by Trainer. When the band arrived in the studio, they received word from Homestead that the label would only pay for six of the twelve songs that they had originally planned to record. All four of Björklund's songs and one by each of the other members were released on the EP Smokers' Paradise in 1987.

The band broke up in 1988. Phil Harder became a music video director and went on to form the trio Big Trouble House.[7][8] Flour recorded four full-length solo albums for Touch and Go Records. Todd Trainer recorded two EPs under the name Brick Layer Cake before joining Shellac. Björklund released a final 7" single of solo electro-pop versions of songs by Naked Raygun and the UK Subs under the name Breaking Circus and was briefly in the band Balloon Guy[9] before moving on to work as a producer.


Studio albums[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Terminal Beach". ChicagoPunk. Retrieved 2008-10-09. 
  2. ^ a b c Graham Sanford. "Bands You Missed, Vol. 2". Gapers Block: Transmission, a Chicago music site. Retrieved 2008-10-09. 
  3. ^ Hicks, Dillon (June 8, 2005). "How Could You Idiots Forget...?". City Pages. Retrieved 2008-10-09. 
  4. ^ Andy Kellman. "Breaking Circus". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-10-09. 
  5. ^ "Big Hits Of Mid-America Volume Four". Twin/Tone Records. Retrieved 2008-10-09. 
  6. ^ "Song: Driving the Dynamite Truck". Second Hand Songs. Retrieved 2008-10-09. 
  7. ^ Jack Rabid. "Breaking Circus". Trouser Press. Retrieved 2008-10-09. 
  8. ^ Scholtes, Peter (2007-08-22). "Seen Your Video". City Pages. 
  9. ^ Groebner, Simon Peter (February 17, 1997). "Electronic Flashbacks". City Pages. Retrieved 2008-10-09.