Hagar the Womb

Hagar the Womb are an English punk rock band, originally active in the early 1980s and part of the Anarcho-punk movement. In hiatus from 1987, members went on to form We are Going to Eat You and Melt'. A 2011 compilation of their back catalogue brought all members back into contact with each other, and invitations to reform and play gigs and festivals have had Hagar The Womb gigging again since 2012.

Hagar the Womb
OriginLondon, England
GenresPunk rock
Years active1980–1986
LabelsMortarhate Records
Abstract Sounds
Mississippi Records
All The Madmen Records
Associated actsWe are Going to Eat You
MembersRuth Elias
Karen Amsden
Stephanie Cohen
Paul Harding
Mitch Flacko
Chris "Liberator" Knowles
Past membersJanet Nassim
Paul "Veg" Venables
Elaine Reubens
Julie Sorrell
Nicola Corcoran
Jon "From Bromley" Atwood


The band was formed in London in 1980, in the toilets of the Wapping Anarchy Centre, established by the efforts of seminal anarchist bands Crass and Poison Girls.[1] The original line-up was all-female, reflecting the band's purpose of giving women a voice in the anarcho-punk scene: Ruth Elias (vocals), Karen Amsden (vocals), Nicola Corcoran (vocals), Janet Nassim (guitar), and Steph Cohen (bass guitar).[1] One week after forming they played their first gig with Zounds and The Mob, with 'Scarecrow' playing drums.[1] They soon recruited a second guitarist, 'Jon From Bromley', and a permanent drummer, Chris Knowles, formerly of Cold War and The Boiled Eggs.[1] Corcoran left, leaving two vocalists.[1] The band's first demo included the track "For the Ferryman", which was released on the Mortarhate label compilation LP Who? What? Why? When? Where? in 1984.[1] Cohen was replaced by Mitch Flacko (also of The Mekons) prior to the band's first release proper. The band toured the UK punk circuit for five years, releasing two 12-inch EPs and recording a Peel Session for BBC Radio 1 on 11 February 1984.[2] Their first EP, The Word of the Womb (produced by Pete Fender and released on Conflict's Mortarhate label) was a hit on the UK Indie Chart during 1984, peaking at number six, and staying in the chart for more than five months.[1][3] Elaine Reubens joined the band in time for the recording of their Peel session.[1] The band released a second EP, Funnery In a Nunnery (UK Indie No. 9) the next year,[3] now on the Abstract label, drawing comparisons with Siouxsie & the Banshees, Delta 5 and The Slits.[4] Flacko left, his replacement being Paul "Veg" Venables, and Julie Sorrell was brought in to replace Amsden.[1] They continued for another year, but there were no further releases and the band split up, with Knowles, Sorrell, Venables, and Harding forming We Are Going To Eat You, who signed to Junior Delgado's Big Cat Records after their 1987 début EP and went on to release the album Everywhen in 1990.[4] They later changed their name to Melt, releasing a sole EP before splitting up.[1]

The band's drummer Chris Knowles (a notable figure in the Stamford Hill punk rock squatting scene in the 1980s) has a degree in Hegelian Dialectics, Continental Philosophy and Russian Literature and went on to become a cult DJ under the name Chris Liberator.[1] Bassist Mitch Flacko has been playing bass in avant garde ensembles, and works as a tour manager.


During its lifetime the band's line-up fluctuated regularly, but often included:

  • Ruth Elias a.k.a. Ruth Rack or The Hon. Ruthless Savage (Vocals)
  • Karen Amsden a.k.a. The Karennipoo or Miss K. Penfold (Vocals)
  • Elaine Reubens a.k.a. Illayne Illhabopp (Vocals)
  • Julie Sorrell (Vocals)
  • Jon Attwood a.k.a. Jon from Bromley or JFB (Lead Guitar)
  • Paul Harding a.k.a. Paul Permo or Paul Centipede (Lead Guitar)
  • Stephanie Cohen (Rhythm or Bass Guitars)
  • Janet Nassim a.k.a. Janetti Spaghetti or El Janetti Ravioli (Rhythm Guitar)
  • Mitch Flacko a.k.a. Mitch Jail Bate (Bass Guitar)
  • Paul Venables a.k.a. Veg (Bass Guitar)
  • Chris Knowles a.k.a. Chris Elephant Face, Mr. Chris Engelbert Funkadink or Chris Liberator (Drums)


Hagar the WombEdit

  • The Word of the Womb (12" EP, Mortarhate, MORT2, UK, 1984) - UK Indie No. 6[3]
  • Funnery in a Nunnery (12" EP, Abstract Sounds, 12ABS029, UK, 1985) - UK Indie No. 9[3]
  • A Brighter Shade of Black (LP, Mississippi Records, MR-095, USA, 2011) [compilation]
  • Life of Lies / Distant War / You Never Learn (7" EP, All the Madmen, MAD25, 2014)
  • "Hated By The Daily Mail" (7" split with Anthrax (UK), Grow Your Own Records, GYOEP3, UK, 2016)
  • Hagiography (CD, One Bright Spark Records 001, 2016) [compilation]
  • Hagitate (EP/10"/DD, Grow Your Own Records, GYO21, UK, 2016)[5]

We are Going to Eat YouEdit

  • Four Heads Feast (Cassette, 69 Tapes, 1987)[6]
  • "I Wish I Knew"/"Let's Fly" (12" EP, All the Madmen, 1987)
  • "Heart in Hand" (7"/12" single, Big Cat, 1988)
  • Ride Upon the Tide (12" EP, Big Cat, 1989)
  • Everywhen (LP, Big Cat, 1990)


  • Neverland (12" EP, Big Cat, 1991)


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Glasper, Ian (2006) The Day the Country Died: A History of Anarcho Punk 1980-1984, Cherry Red Books, ISBN 1-901447-70-7, p. 154-9
  2. ^ "11/02/1984 - Hagar The Womb", Keeping It Peel, BBC, retrieved 2010-10-05
  3. ^ a b c d Lazell, Barry (1998) Indie Hits 1980-1989, Cherry Red Books, ISBN 0-9517206-9-4, p. 107
  4. ^ a b Strong, Martin C. (2003) The Great Indie Discography, Canongate, ISBN 1-84195-335-0, p. 361
  5. ^ "HAGITATE | anthrax (uk)". Anthraxuk.bandcamp.com. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  6. ^ "Hagar The Womb - We Are Going To Eat You (1985, Cassette)". Discogs.com. Retrieved 1 June 2020.