Cirkus was formed on September 2, 1985 by schoolmates, Chris Coffin and Scott Fillmore. Scott’s older brother, Troy Fillmore, joined on rhythm guitar, and the band was soon rounded out by Gary Galvin on bass and Scott Sundberg on lead guitar. Troy named the band after the popular rock magazine of that time, Circus, but decided to spell it with a K. This lineup played regularly and wrote and rehearsed original material.
Gary Galvin and Scott Sundberg left the band in May 1986 due to musical differences, and the next month musician friends, Camron Cressall and Brian Bonell, auditioned and joined on dual lead guitars, while Troy switched to bass. Cirkus was now more focused than ever on writing catchy songs that would draw and hold a big crowd. The new lineup proved to be even more successful than the last and they spent the rest of 1986 and the beginning of 1987 playing to increasingly larger crowds at including R Comforts and the Salt Lake Fairgrounds.
As the band continued to gain momentum, some inner contention with Brian developed. He wanted to go in another musical direction, so in July 1987 Brian left the band to join Rag Dolls. At this point, rather than look for another guitarist, the band opted for a keyboardist, Scott Yelonek.
Guitarist Jeff Alleman (formerly of Braxxton) saw a flyer at The Music Factory in Fashion Place Mall mentioning that Cirkus was looking for a 2nd guitarist. He tore off a number from the sheet and called Chris to set up a time that he could attend band practice. At the rehearsal he recorded the set, took the tape home, and returned a few days later playing the songs flawlessly, and he was in.
Cirkus began recording the album that would be titled “Who Do You Do?” in the winter of 1987/88 at Musician’s Choice Studio with Chuck Cohagen as engineer and Troy producer. Twelve songs were tracked, mixed, and mastered by the summer, and the album was released at a packed show at The Speedway Café, where the band had become a top local draw and favorite, on 8-8-88. The album sold well, with several songs getting regular airplay on Z-ROCK, a groundbreaking and popular hard rock radio station.
The band continued playing and building its following, but after years of frustration at being unable to get to the next step of becoming a national band, they slowly dissolved. Camron and Scott Yelonek left in late 1989, followed by Troy and Jeff in July 1990, at which point Camron returned for a couple more shows, accompanied by Dan Lakit on bass, but it wasn’t the same, and by the end of that summer, Cirkus was over.
In 1991, favorite local Utah radio station KBER 101.1 reached out to the top local bands to see if they would each supply a song for their “Best of Rock from the Wasatch Front” compilation CD. Cirkus reformed with Chris, Jeff and Scott and went into the studio where they recorded the previously unreleased SPENT MY LAST DIME and NEVER AGAIN (I’m Missing You). SPENT MY LAST DIME was chosen for the CD and soon developed into a fan favorite. The band did not play again until their reunion show in 2002, where they played to a large crowd of friends and fans.
Cirkus still plays the occasional show and they continue to draw a great crowd. They love to play live and have some of the most die-hard fans around.