For us, nothing beats the Big East tournament at MSG every year. Now however, a big part of the experience includes watching VCU over at the Barclays in Brooklyn and the VCU pep band “The Peppas” is the #1 draw for us and many others.
We recently caught up with band leader Ryan, to get some insight into the best college band in the country. Enjoy!
BEH24/7: When did you realize the VCU Peppas we’re starting to become popular outside of Richmond?
Ryan: 04’ Was a good year. We went to the NCAA under Jeff Capel for the first time in what seemed like forever. We got beat by Wake in a buzzer beater by Chris Paul. Fans liked us down in NC. But it really exploded in ’07 when Eric Manor stunned Duke in Buffalo. We got a standing O of a capacity 18K after our halftime performance. It took me 45 minutes to get to the bus after the game between posing for pictures and autographs.
BEH24/7: How did you get Matt Norlander and Jerry Palm to play with you guys?
Ryan: Man how lucky have we been?! They are both great dudes. Matt did an article on us our first trip to Portland. He met us in Houston. We stayed in contact and chatted about doing something while we were in Brooklyn and we did. He’s a really good guitar player. A SUPER good writer!!
Jerry Palm is a band guy! He loves bands. So we became friendly over twitter and he stated he wanted to come to the Seigel Center and see what all the hype was about so he did. We had a blast! One of the smartest dudes ever. Like seriously.
BEH24/7: Do you have to recruit future Peppas from the high school ranks?
Ryan: YES!!! Absolutly we are no different then the team. We always think about next year. The present is the past for us. We host a middle school band day and a high school band day for kids to come play a game with us. It’s wildly popular and our greatest recruiting tool
BEH24/7: What are your favorite songs to perform at games?
Ryan: All the songs I like are the ones the players really enjoy. We started playing HELLO this year and our womens team would jam out to it. Its awesome when the team digs your stuff. That isn’t always the case…… Im sure you know.
BEH24/7: Between music & firefighting which do you feel you’ve had to work harder at?
Ryan: Firefighting by far! Music is natural to me. While I’m not super talented I have a mind for it. Firefighting is something relatively new and you can learn and see something new daily. Plus I like my life and I don’t want to die because I was not prepared.
BEH24/7: Any plans to take over NYC during championship week?
Ryan: We don’t really make plans….. We sorta go with the flow. Im sure we will be out and about 😉
You can follow Ryan and the band on Twitter @VCUathleticBand