I spoke to lead singer Joe Ragosta about all of this and lots more… Check it out!
(By the way, if what we crammed into 15 minutes is any indication of what they will be like on stage, these guys are definitely on my MUST-SEE list! The energy coming down the phone line was inspiring!)
MD- Given that you are the second band announced for soundwave, how’s the band feeling about finally coming to Australia and under the soundwave banner no less?
JR - First of all, just going anywhere aside from our hometown is exciting for us. But to go to Australia, that is the thing that you dream of, you make yourself believe at a young age that it would be impossible. You know, your band could never be in a position where they could go to Australia like to Americans it sounds like a made up place somewhere you know. It’s so so so exciting and an immense honour being on Soundwave festival - world renowned at this point - and to be the second band announced… The whole thing seems fake to me. Do you guys have the show Punked down there?
MD - Yes
JR - It feels like we are being punked and it feels like at any point during this interview you will be like oh, we are fucking with you, you’re not really welcome down here.
MD - Why has it taken so long for Patent Pending to reach our shores?
JR - We started the band when we were little kids and it took a long time to establish a name here in America. We were lucky enough to be bought over to England with our buddies from Bowling for soup and then we spent 2 years developing our career there and now that’s going unbelievably well and I think it led to AJ from soundwave hooking up with our guitar player mark and getting to know each other and AJ inviting us down. It’s a really bizarre thing to even get to go Australia. You never think its something within your reach so I think it took a long time coz we never even thought it was possible.
MD - How do you feel about being compared to bands like A Simple Plan and Blink 182?
JR - I think its incredible that anyone is able to pinpoint a band that we sound like. We are such a bizarre band with so many different genres mixed into what we do. I grew up idolising blink 182. They are incredible. Simple plan, I watched for an entire summer on tour so to be compared to them I think is awesome and its exciting to be going down there to show people how we differ from those bands.
MD - You cover quite serious issues in some of your songs like suicide as well as a lot of funny stuff. Are they written based on personal experiences and observations?
JR - We have a song called All Star Hipster, that’s a full blown rap song. I thought, ‘what’s the funniest way to make fun of every hipster I know? Rap about them! Then you have a song like one less heart to break which deals with the heavy issue of suicide and that’s a personal experience that happened over here. People in my family have suffered from depression for many years and friends of ours have gone through it - we have gone through it. We wanted people to know that you have a place to go in music and have a place where you can go and just have fun. By having such diverse subject matter we’re kind of taking our own advice and that’s just to be ourselves and do whatever the fuck we want to do. Its also good to know that we can help people going through trouble as well as have a Mario brothers song.
MD - Crowd funding campaigns… I found out Brighter was actually done through a crowd funding campaign. What made you push that way?
JR - With our band, we have something that we call the second family (which is actually the name of our last album before Brighter) and it’s a very unbelievably supportive and friendly community that our band has developed in the 13 years of struggling to make a name for ourselves. When people heard we were going to make a new album, it wasn’t even ‘Oh we should consider crowd funding’ or anything like that, our fans were like ‘Yo, when the fuck can we crowd fund this shit?” They were coming to us saying what can we do to get some cool items that are going to be different than just the album. They wanted to get involved in the album. They wanted to put their opinions in our artwork and everything as well as help support us during that project so crowd funding was kind of lead to us, but by the crowd in a way.
MD - Did it apply more pressure to the band to get the album out as quick as possible, make sure it is a really good album, or did you just go with the flow and do the best you could?
JR - We always have the mentality of get it done as fast as we can and don’t take a lot of time but if always takes forever, we never get it done quickly and in the end, we care so much about what we are doing. We went down to Nashville Tennessee to record and I allotted 3 weeks for the recording of that album but it ended up taking 8 months. So the pressure to get it done quickly was really really present at about the 4-month mark (laughs). I’m glad we did what we did and took the time that we did and I love that album.
MD - It’s a really good album! I also saw the crazy dance you did partway through the song to pick on Justin Bieber. I was cracking up through that. Is it all serious business in the studio or do you have as much fun there as you do on stage?
JR - The hours that we work and the hustle we put in to what we do, if we didn’t fuck around while it was happening, we would lose our damn minds. So there will be moments when we are like ‘no one is sleeping for the next 48 hours!’ and we find a way to laugh about that, so its all-serious business, but a lot of what we do is fun. We write songs about Mario brothers sometimes so its not the worst thing in the world when we are stuck in the studio working on something because we are making Nintendo noises while we do it…
MD - So delirium kicks in and takes over?
JR - Oh yeah. By the 3-month mark we were delirious, by the 7-month mark, I don’t even know if we were still speaking English. Its like we made up our own language of push the button, record the song type of thing.
JR - How in the hell do Australians know everything? Where did you find this information? My brother used to be the singer of the band and he left coz he wanted to start writing comic books, start a family and work on a new band, so he and my other brother Robert are actually in another band together called ‘This Good Robot’ and they are awesome. Our guitar player mark also plays in the band and tour manages the band Zebrahead, so he’s doing quite a bit coz as you know Zebrahead are globetrotting down to Australia. So when marks gone, Robert fills in and the family dynamic is just like ‘Hey man, what are you doing today and he’s like ‘Nothing’ and I’m like ‘Well we’re going to England so suit up!’ You’re just ready to go and its really fun and its really cool sometimes to have that different feel on stage and then sometimes everybody plays at the same time so its real exciting! The brothers thing… The Ragosta’s are very very loud and obnoxious. The rest of the band are even more fucking loud and obnoxious so really the dynamic is… everybody is really loud and obnoxious so it’s a lot of fun.
MD - Brilliant. I love it. What is your favourite song to perform live, and why?
JR - The song ‘Brighter’ which is part 3 in a story from One Less Heart To Break, Second Family and then Brighter is the third part. I love to play the song Brighter coz it means so much to me and it kind of tells the story of what we are still doing 13 years later. Playing that song is always exciting!
I also love playing the song called ‘The Whiskey, The Liar And The Thief’ because that song feels like a pirate tune. Sometimes there’s a little crowd swim during that song, it’s just really fun to play.
MD - For those that have never heard Patent Pending, what can we expect from your live performance?
JR - Absolute American mayhem. If you will. We are completely out of our minds. Rules are, there are no rules except for stay hydrated. So for a Patent Pending show absolutely anything can happen and I mean anything from improv hardcore songs to crowd swimming Olympic competitions – anything! I think people should expect a lot of fun, a lot of excitement and a lot of curse words.
MD - What’s the craziest thing you have ever done on stage?
JR - I gave somebody a haircut the same week as their graduation. That did not end well at all. It turns out I’m not a haircutter. Other crazy shit that’s happened…. Oh, we made our guitar players mum crowd surf! It was one of the funniest things I ever saw in my entire life - it was the fucken best!
MD - How did she go with that?
JR - She was very resistant at first and then we created a monster. She loves it now.
More crazy shit, for whatever reason, this year people want to get engaged during our song ‘Spin Me Around’ that I wrote about my wife. It’s like an acoustic ballad.
Oh and this other couple wanted to get engaged during a different song. The guy came up to me and said ‘This is our song’ and I said ‘This is your song?’ He was like ‘No but that’s what I sing to her coz she’s a psycho!’ The song’s called ‘Psycho In Love. So imagine somebody declaring their eternal love to someone during that song! That was a really weird and bizarre moment but it was really cool.
MD - That would be adorable (laughs) what are 3 things you are looking forward to doing in Australia?
JR - I imagine everyone says koala bears and kangaroos, is that correct?
MD - Yes (laughs).
JR - I want to somehow meet Chris Lilley very badly! I want to try figure out how to make that happen. I want to try and convince as many people as I can that I’m Australian by saying ‘Serse’ (serious) a lot. I’m looking forward to all the flying coz I think your shows are really far away from each other so we get to fly to every show? Is that right? I love being on an aeroplane coz I’m not responsible for anything.
MD - We can put a call out to Chris Lilley and see what happens if you like?
JR - My dear sweet Jesus Christ. If anything of the sort can happen I would just lose my fucking mind. If this is at all true, this would be the greatest thing that ever happened to me.
MD - We will put the call out then!