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. (April 2009)
There has been much speculation over the origin of the band's name, and whether it actually stands for anything, since it is written as an acronym. One possible interpretation is "White Anglo-Saxon Protestants," being the original meaning of the acronym. The song "Show No Mercy," the B-side of the band's first single "Animal," contains the repeated lyric, "White Anglo-Saxon / A violent reaction."
The original U.S. release of the band's debut album W.A.S.P. had the words "We Are Sexual Perverts" inscribed on both sides around the label in the center, while "Winged Assassins" is inscribed on the spine of the first vinyl pressing. When asked about the band's name Lawless has avoided giving a straight answer: in one interview he answered, "We Ain't Sure, Pal." In another, broadcast on the radio program Metal Shop, Lawless said that if one didn't know what it meant (implying White Anglo-Saxon Protestant), "It's a bug."
In a February 2010 interview, Lawless stated the main reason for the name was the periods. He claimed no band had ever used them before (although R.E.M. formed two years earlier) and, in essence, the periods created a "question mark of uncertainty" to make W.A.S.P. stand out more. He then went on to say, "Look where we are: it did!"