January 01, 2003

Ryan Walter Wager - The WPP
Interview composed by Bullsheet - Jan 2003

What is your name and what is your position in the Witness Protection Program?

I'm Ryan, and I play guitar, and do some vocals.

How long has the WPP been around for now?

As we are now (Ryan, Steve, Brad, Al) we've been around since March 16, 2002. But the band started in 1999.

Do you think the current incarnation is the strongest line up you've had so far?

Yes! Definitely right now, is the most fun I've had playing music. We're just all on the same page, and it makes our shows and song writing really tight. We all live together, and hang out everyday...so that's bound to rub off on our music.

You guys have very intense live shows, do you practice your "moves" beforehand, or do you just go nuts when you get to the show?

Haha, we don't practice any moves, whatever movements happen during our show, are completely spur of the moment. It's just fun to rock out with some friends.

Is it frustrating when you play shows and people just stand there and stare, instead of getting in on the action and dancing along?

Not really. It's fun to play music and we like the songs we are playing. If people are getting into it, that’s just a bonus!

This interview is for a school paper, so would you recommend the rock n roll lifestyle as a wise career choice?

Well, there is definitely a lot of sacrifice involved. We don't get paid for a lot of shows, and on tour we don't eat or sleep as much as we should. But it's worth it.

Tell us about your other jobs.

I work Monday-Friday at Toys R’ Us, as a janitor, and I work Monday-Saturday at a record/clothing shop called Teenage Rampage, which I also own.

And where is Teenage Rampage located?

19 East Broadway, Vancouver, BC. Underneath Funhouse tattoo.

What is the WPP's next EP called and when is it coming out?

It will be called "baam! jaam!" and we are currently shopping it around to labels to see if someone is into helping us release it.

So there's no definite release date yet?

Not yet....hopefully we'll hear something soon.

Since the line up changes, do you feel that the WPP has become a new band? Do you feel very connected at all with the earlier work done under the same name?

I do feel like it's a new band. We discussed changing our name, but we didn't care that much. The old songs that we still play still mean something to me....but it's always exciting to write new stuff that everyone in the band can feel like they are a part of. Our old songs now have a little different feel to them, because of new players putting their interpretations on them.

What inspires your lyrical content?

T.V, we get a lot of ideas/song titles/riffs from t.v. But we gather influence from everywhere: each other, family, friends. Plus we have a bunch of lyrical content that is inside jokes to us.

Where is your favorite place to play?

The Burlesque House was super sweet to play at. We played Ethical Addictions in Langley last month, and that was fun. I like playing anywhere people are into having us play.

What are your thoughts on the current state of the Vancouver scene?

I think it's pretty good. I just noticed in the college charts in Exclaim! magazine, that there were 5 bands on the top 50 that are from Vancouver. I notice a lot more people going out to shows, it's exciting to see. The only thing that could use some work is the lack of all-ages venues. There are so many good bands from Vancouver, and a lot of newer bands. On tour this summer, we had a bunch of people tell us how they were stoked on the amount of good bands coming out of Vancouver, it's pretty sweet.

Who do you think are the best local bands right now?

I'm afraid if I list a bunch I'll leave some out.

How about just a few?

The Red Light Sting, Streets, the Accident, Sharp Teeth, No Dice, Fun100, the Hand, Black Rice, JC, St.Tibs Day.

Can you tell us about the WPP side project?

The Gnarwhals?


Well, they are some friends of ours: Walter Sopchuck, Murdock Radcliff, Johan Mcnarlay, Gary Hansen, and Johnny Hamilton. They cover the WPP, in a more loungy/jazzy/post style...instrumental.

What led to the creation of this group?

In reality or our 'story'?

Whatever you would like.

How about both?


Well, the Gnarwhals started gaining light on our spring "Witness the Blood" tour, where we were really getting into mythical creatures...like leprechauns, unicorns, etc, and the narwhal is the unicorn of the sea. When we returned home from that tour, one spring night, we were bored and decided we wanted to have a practice but one member couldn't make it. So the 3 of us headed down to our practice space, but we were all pretty tired and just stared jamming out our songs, slower and with clean (not distorted) guitars. We thought it sounded pretty good/funny, so we discussed with our other member, to see if they were into the idea of seeing what happens with playing songs that way and we decided to call it the Gnarwhals. (the G is silent...like in gnarly) The next thing we knew, peeps were asking us to play shows, and we kept saying yes, and more peeps were getting into it.

What's an embarrassing song you love, but don't want anybody to know about?

That's a hard one. When I'm working in my shop, I listen to a lot of 70's rock, like Styx, Queen, Nazareth...but I'm not embarrassed. But I don't think people are always stoked on that stuff, who knows.

Where do you see the WPP headed in the next couple of years?

We want to tour as much as we can, and put out as many records as possible, and have as many people hear our stuff as possible.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say? Any stories? Any advice?

Um...I'd say 'thanx'

Ok, thank you.

Thank you!

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