We Are Going To Eat You – All The Madmen / Big Cat Records – 1987 / 1988

I Wish I Knew / Let’s Fly

Fine Day / Let’s Fly Greedy Mix

Heart In Hand / Just Another One

What Have Flowers Got To Do With It? / Cut

Pure pop lives in the luscious textures of this north London quartet. Despite the silly name which is ripped off from a 1980 kung fu movie, We Are Going to Eat You did have a magic formula, blending Julie Sorrel’s cool, heavenly voice, Paul Harding’s bracing guitar chords and catchy, other-worldly tunes. Veg keeps it together with some bouncy bass parts. Most of the songs were largely written by drummer Chris Knowles, later to be known as Chris Liberator from Liberator Sound System and Stay Up Forever Records.

All the members of WAGTEY were in one of the last line ups of Hagar the Womb (Chris and Paul had been members of Hagar the longest, they joined up in 1983 when leaving the Hornchurch band Cold War). When they both called time on that Hagar The Womb in 1986, pinching recent Hagar members; Julie and Veg the four ex members just changed the name of the band and went head first into a poppier direction.

While the first 12-inch EP on All The Madmen Records is decent enough, the second EP on Abbo’s (UK Decay) Big Cat Records is the superior of the two. The band managed to record a third 12″ single and an excellant LP entitled ‘Everywhen’ for Big Cat Records, then the band morphed again into the band Melt. Then they simply disappeared…as far as I know.

Chris and Paul started DJ’ing and mixing techno tracks shortly after Melt and they are now both successful artists in the studio and at sound systems.

Text below from Chris Liberator

When I was a teenager I devoted most of my time to punk (inspired as I was by bands like Sex Pistols, Stranglers, Wire and the like). I was in a few bands and we never had the chance to play out, until the squat party scene took off and we played these mad free gigs in illegal venues. Such as West London’s Centro Iberico Anarchy Centre and the original Anarchist Centre in Wapping (set up by money from a Crass and Poison Girls record). I was having a great time, meeting really interesting people and learning a whole new political agenda. The sheer attitude that dripped from anarcho-punk bands like Sub-Humans, Poison Girls, Apostles, Crass, etc really challenged the way I thought, whilst the burgeoning independent label scene spearheaded originally by labels like Rough Trade, Fast Records and Fuck Off Records showed that there was a very real alternative to the major label music stranglehold. It opened my eyes to things I wouldn’t normally see. Over the next few years my life changed. Somehow I managed to start and finish a degree in humanities (English and Philosophy) at Hatfield Poly (now Hertfordshire University) in between playing in bands including the infamous Hagar The Womb. After and during my degree I devoted me time to music, holding down shit warehouse jobs, signing on, living in dodgy rented accomodation or squatting and surviving on my wits.

Music always came first for me, and also a realisation that I didn’t want to work for the corporate machine in the usual way. When Hagar the Womb split and the whole punk thing started to become a parody of itself, I started another band called ‘We Are Going To Eat You’, which later became ‘Melt’. We started to write songs and flex our musical muscles. In retrospect, some of the records we made sounded ‘indie’ and dated, but it’s the one and only time we tried to enter the music industry game by courting big record companies and trying to get a deal. We got fucked; caught between an indie label and various majors we got caught in a legal tangle that really killed the band off just as we were starting to get good. It taught me the one thing that I should have learnt already. Never sell out – and never lose control of what you do. During the band’s demise I started to get into electronic music a lot more, and inevitably dance music via Mark Stewart and the Mafia, Tackhead, Revolting Cocks and suchlike. I eventually ended up at techno around 89/90. It was at this time that I met Julian, and later Aaron, who were both into the same stuff and squatting in the same part of north-east London as me. Our mates and our scene was still very punk/squat/traveller orientated and dance music hadn’t really made that much of an impact on it. Whilst me and Julian expanded our record collections and went out to raves every weekend, we still felt that this music and the new lifestyle politics of ‘rave’ could impact on our scene without the commercial bullshit angle that was beginning to permeate it. It was at this time that some of my friends put together a mini sound system and asked me to come down to a party in a squatted pub in Islington. It wasn’t a commercial event, and it was set up like a punk squat party, but they had DJs that played techno. They called themselves The Shrape Collective, (later ‘Urge’). At the same time Julian was throwing similar parties in his big squatted house in Stoke Newington with bands on one floor, and techno on the other. There weren’t any DJs though; just tapes. That all changed when Aaron showed his face one night; he had decks and suggested that at the next party the three of us should play together. We did, and Liberator was born.

We threw several urban parties through the autumn and winter of 1991 into 1992 whilst we became involved with many of the fledgling free party sound systems which had started up prior to and during this era, the most famous of which is probably Spiral Tribe.

Spiral Tribe was the essence of the outdoor rave scene; lots of people didn’t want to pay £30 to get into parties so they went and did it in fields, warehouses; wherever. The Bedlam crew were doing stuff around this time. We met them through Conspiracy, a party crew who we worked with during the winter of 1991, and continued to do stuff with them over the next couple of years. That period was fantastic, because the authorities were unsure of how to respond to it all until 1992 when it all exploded, culminating in the legendary Castlemorton party – and the subsequent Criminal Justice Act.

  1. back2front
    February 16, 2009 at 9:14 am

    Thanks for this Penguin, you have filled the gap in my All the Madmen collection – I’d not heard this one before. Yes it is very 80’s and ‘indie’ but also shows the diversity of the label. I now made a compilation CDR featuring one track off every All the Madmen release and it makes a great listen. I recommend it to those interested in the era though I wonder how similar track-listings would be… Yes it’s a bit Mob heavy but there’s nowt wrong with that.

    Also been listening to a promo of the “Let the Tribe Increase” re-release on Overground and it sounds wonderful, extremely crisp sound and perhaps the definitive recording of this classic!

  2. luggy
    April 4, 2009 at 11:33 am

    Chris’s band, Dogshite are playing at Biddles Bar on Lower Clapton Rd tonight.

  3. Steve
    April 10, 2009 at 9:43 am

    Does anybody know whatever happened to Abbo? Big Cat was a really interesting label but it just seemed to suddenly disappear one day.

  4. luggy
    April 17, 2009 at 11:02 pm

    U.K. Decay have reformed, doing some gigs in Italy in a couple of weeks.

  5. Penguin
    Penguin • Post Author •
    April 23, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    Just noticed J.C’s bus in the top Meanwhile Garden photograph. A lovely ride that was.

  6. DavidM
    March 28, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    Definitely far removed from the rest of the All the Madmen roster. Not to take anything away from WAGTEY of course. Got my head nodding. Guess you could categorise the band alonside the brilliant Shelley’s Children/Cuckooland with a sound that owes much to The Shop Assistants, Darling Buds et al too.

  7. Derek aka Gromet
    Derek aka Gromet
    February 19, 2020 at 1:28 pm

    Life changes but somewhere the music still swirls around in the back of my mind

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