As we waited for headliners Patent Pending to head downstairs and hit the stage, I managed to drag Joe Harbulak of support act and “throwback pop punk specialists” Eternal Boy into a quiet corner and have a few discreet words. And that sounded far more dark and violent than it was meant to. Thankfully, he’s a nice guy and we enjoyed a pleasant chinwag about the band rather than engaging in fisticuffs.
You’re the second Joe I’ve interviewed today so I won’t make a mistake with your name. But you’re not the one who sends love letters to your singer?
No, no! That’s Joe Ragosta, definitely!
I gather you changed your band name recently?
Yeah, this past July. We kind of grew out of the old one. It was a little immature. It was kind of an accident that the name was used at all. The band was in a hurry to come up with a name for the battle of the bands competition they were playing in – this was in 2002 – so they jokingly submitted the name The SpacePimps. They ended up winning the battle of the bands and the name stuck. We just rode it out until we couldn’t ride it out any more.
Joe Ragosta was saying he’s known you guys for a long time?
I remember playing shows with Patent Pending as long ago as… 2003, 2004? We used to play this very small venue called Club Angels. It was an all ages club where all the kids would go to hang out and Patent Pending would play it as well. We’ve toured with them before, but nothing like this. We trade off all the time. Our singer, Rishi, does a festival called the Four Chord Music Festival…
I’ve been there, it’s awesome! Hey, this is Joe from Patent Pending, ruining the interview!
We always ask Patent Pending to come and play. Rishi is a Professor of Marketing so he organises everything including talking to bands and convincing them to come and play. We’ve had a lot of cool bands – Hawthorne Heights, Against the Current, Mayday Parade… We ask Patent Pending to play every year and then we go to New York and play shows with them, too. So we trade shows back and forth.
So you have a Professor on vocals/guitars, you yourself play bass and are a maths teacher… what does your drummer Andy do?
He works in a shop! From what I understand they do machine inventory – it’s what he’s responsible for. They take control of a warehouse, check inventory, send things out…
I notice that you guys pretty much do everything band-related yourselves. Booking, publicity, merch… even writing some of the songs! Why keep it all in-house?
Partly it’s Rishi who does a ton of it because marketing is just what he does. We’re there for support, but he’s been in the game for a really long time and he uses his knowledge of marketing and business to do things for the band that I wouldn’t be capable of doing. We all have our own roles. Andy and I can provide a good practice space and help out with other things, but Rishi is pretty much the brains of the operation.
Is this your first trip outside of the US on tour?
No, we’ve been to China in 2013, Japan, Canada… but the first time in the UK for me personally.
How come you’re only doing half of the tour with Patent Pending?
Rishi has an obligation back home. It’s finals week all next week and he has to be there for it. It’s in his contract, he can’t get out of it! We were asked to do the whole tour but we simply couldn’t because of that. It’s very disappointing, but we’re really grateful to have this first half that we can do.
How was the first night of the tour in Bristol?
Bristol was amazing! The people were really nice. I was a nervous wreck, though! I’ve never been so nervous for a show! Something about being jetlagged and… I don’t know. But the people were beyond friendly which was a huge help.
You’re covering a lot of miles on the six dates you’re doing. What do you get up to on the tour bus to while away the hours?
Well, I’m on the tour bus with Patent Pending while Rishi and Andy follow behind in a car. There’s not enough room on the tour bus for everybody. Last night was my first on the bus, so we just hung out, told stories, laughed, had a couple of beverages… Just enjoyed each other’s company. It was a great time. And I got my ass kicked by Marc [Kantor, Patent Pending’s guitarist – Mosh] on FIFA.