Things have just been piling on the plate of the Long Island pop punk band, Patent Pending. So much so that vocalist Joe Ragosta sometimes can’t remember everything the group has coming up. They’ve been together for a little over 10 years, but things almost unraveled when last year’s full-length, Second Family, was in peril of not being recorded due to a lack of funds. Troops were called via Kickstarter and within a day’s time, Patent Pending was ready to start recording the album whose title was inspired by their fans.
Ragosta, drummer Anthony Mingoia, guitarists Rob Felicetti and Marc Kantor and bassist Travis McGee are preparing for yet another battle. They are one of six finalists in the Battle Of The Bands, where the winner will play at the Billboard Music Awards. There’s only one side effect of winning that Patent Pending will face that concerns The Bamboozle.
I was able to speak with Ragosta about all that’s been going on while the band was en route to the last couple days on tour with Bowling For Soup in Texas. He was in high spirits and full of energy even with their van near death and refusing to let the air conditioning work even in the Southern heat. The conversation is below.
How are you guys?
We’re great! We recently were asked by our buddies in Bowling For Soup to go on this U.S. tour and every night is better than the night before. After this tour, they invited us to come to the UK with them in October. Then on top of that, we got asked to do this thing with Billboard and to tell you the honest truth, they sent an email to me and I thought it was spam because that’s too good to be true. Then they called me and were like, “Hey man, did you delete an email from us? That was real.” So then we won the first round and when we get home from this tour, we set out in a tiny little Chevy Cruze from Long Island, New York, to Las Vegas. So we tour our way out there and then on the 18th we play at the Hard Rock Casino right there in Las Vegas and if we win, we play the Billboard Music Awards!
In my mind, all I can see is you guys traveling in your car and doing those little American Idol vignettes along your trip across the country.
(Laughs) You get me. I want so badly to get out of the Chevy Cruze at like, a mall, and sing “Sunshine Day” and like the American Idol thing where they like, solve a mystery in each town. That would be awesome, but I think they set up things for us—like they’ll book us a show, but they won’t tell us until the day of and then we’ll need to go around town and get people to go to the show. It just sounds like a lot of fun and we’re really excited.
Well here’s the big question. When you win this—and you have to—are you able to play Bamboozle?
We actually worked it out with Bamboozle’s head, John D, that if we win, we have his blessing to stay there and play. It’s a big opportunity for us and the band that was like, raised by Bamboozle. So if we win, we’ll stay and play Billboard Music Awards and if we lose, we’ll be there on Sunday to rock out with Bon Jovi in Asbury Park.
You weren’t able to have a hologram Patent Pending developed to play Bamboozle if you’re at the Billboard Music Awards like they did with Tupac at Coachella?
(Laughs) We have so many members that play with our band throughout the years because all of us have had different things. So at any given point, you could be seeing three completely different guys every time. So we were making the joke that if we could get one hologram of me and we could just have our fill-ins play, no one would notice.
I think people would notice.
I agree with you. So we have forgone the hologram idea for now, but I’m not saying a hologram is out of our future forever.
What will you miss about the Bowling For Soup Tour?
Somebody asked me the other day, “What’s your dream tour?” and I realistically answered it by saying “We’re on our dream tour right now.” Bowling For Soup has always been a band that we idolized as kids. We will miss every day waking up and playing with our favorite band. But luckily, we’re going to spend a lot of time with them over a couple months.
And you haven’t been to the UK? It’s hard to imagine that.
We’ve never been there. It’s difficult to get people to care about us here, so we never went there. But apparently, we’re bigger there now than we’ve ever been here. We have a song called “Douchebag” that hit the top 10 on their video station—apparently they still play music videos there. We’re just so excited and curious to see what it’s going to be like when we finally get there.
What’s the reaction to going from having to set up a Kickstarter to fund your current full-length to now being so close to playing at the Billboard Music Awards?
It has been a fairy tale year for us. The people who do love our band are sick. Like there’s no liking Patent Pending I guess, they love Patent Pending and that’s something we don’t take for granted. I think that they understand that and they cherish us back enough to help us and make sure that we don’t have to stop making music. With this Kickstarter, we set it up and were like, “This is a last-ditch effort and if this goes badly, we’re done.” Our fans are insane, we can’t stress that enough. They were a huge rally behind us and 24 hours later, we had the money in the account and we could make the CD. It was so overwhelming that I couldn’t even make a video response because I was crying tears of joy. That kind of led to the name of the album, which is Second Family, and to the song on the album called “Second Family,” and that’s about how amazing our fanbase is and the mutual respect that we share together. It’s an amazing community that we’ve created over here and to know that we can expand that to an international level is just an incredible privilege. We’re very grateful and this year has been from the bottom of the barrel to what we like to consider the top of the world, so it’s a very exciting time.
What other misconceptions do you feel fans have other than that bands make all this money?
Well a lot of times with our band, we always have different members play and we actually just had a meeting about this two minutes ago. When we alternate members, it’s so we can survive. Like, Marc spends 60 percent of the year overseas working for another band. Rob plays drums in The Ataris as well as guitar in our band. At one point, it was me, Anthony and then six different people throughout three days were playing with us. It’s not [like] we’re not getting along or this person doesn’t want to be here—it’s we’re up there with those people so we can continue playing. That’s a pretty common misconception with our band.
Are you working on new material for future releases?
We have a new song on this compilation called Have A Crappy Summer on Crappy Records and it comes out June 5th. It’s us, Madina Lake, Allstar Weekend, Bowling For Soup, MC Lars, Dollyrots and a bunch of awesome bands. At the same time, we’re releasing another video and then we’re going to be shooting another video for a song off of Second Family while we’re recording new music. We’re all over the place, as usual.
Has the rumored cover album, Spring Break ‘99, been released? If not, when can fans expect to get that?
That’s coming out too! Holy shit, there’s so much stuff. Okay, we have the compilation coming out and we have Spring Break ‘99 coming out when the lawyer of one of the artists that we covered clears the song—that’s a very big issue right now. That album has been done since Second Family has been done. Then the split album we’re doing is that we’re going to cover a Bowling For Soup song and a Dollyrots song and then we’re going to release an original song and vice versa.
Can you make a prediction for what the rest of the year will hold for you guys?
Well, we’re going to win the Billboard contest and play at the Billboard Music Awards, which is the biggest thing we’ve ever done, or we’re going play at the greatest festival of all time—The Bamboozle. It’s a win-win situation. We have Warped Tour coming up and after I’m getting married! We go on our honeymoon and then the band is going to the UK. After, we’re going to do our annual Christmas Tour and that’ll bring us back to where it all began, here in Long Island.
Patent Pending will be playing day three of The Bamboozle Festival, which takes place May 20 in Asbury Park. For more information, check out patentpendingmusic.com.