Interview: Joe Ragosta (Patent Pending)

Myself and Junior Writer Mya had a chat with Patent Pending’s frontman before their recent Glasgow show. Joe Ragosta is one of the nicest blokes in music. Honestly. He’s the kind of guy who’ll let you interrupt his dinner backstage, put his fork down on the stairs to give you a huge hug, then realise that was his only fork so ends up eating his chilli with a knife. Yes, that just happened. Mind you, it was a good chilli…

I thought you’d have eaten on the bus today – wasn’t it an eight hour drive or so?

I slept right through that. I slept so late. Usually I get up early when I get to Glasgow because I super love this place, but I missed the whole day. I slept until 1:30. Awful. But this chilli… this is so damn good. I genuinely dislike UK food, but this is so damn good.

What makes American food so much better?

Well we’re really fat over there because our food tastes so damn good. You guys have way more regulations than we have, so we have more sweeteners and bullshit in ours that makes it taste so good. Our FDA doesn’t do shit, it turns out. Let me explain… we have Taco Bell. I think you have one or two over here. We have Taco Bell three times a day when we’re on tour in the US. We came here and they have one in Manchester and we were throwing up. It was so gross. I can’t explain it. Different regulations – which probably makes it bad for us back home – makes it worse tasting.

Spicy here is super mild over there. Our spicy would kill you. If someone from here went to the US and tried, like, En Fuego sauce… they would die. It makes you combust from the inside. Mind you, we found some stuff over here that we love. I could eat Waga Mama all day. It’s just opened in the States – New York and Boston.

Anyway, haven’t seen you in a year. What’s new?

I passed my Krav Maga P3 grading, the web site is now a business and we’re running a festival stage over the summer. So it’s been busy.

Man, that’s so cool! You did it! That’s amazing!

Another thing we’re doing is running a competition for 13-18 year olds to write album and gig reviews. You’ll love this one we were sent from someone whose first show was yourselves opening for Bowling For Soup. [You may well get to read this review in full soon… ;) – Mosh]

That is absolutely amazing! Can you send me that?

Do you have a daughter with four fully-functioning limbs now? Last time we spoke you were in the process of hearing about her leg.

I’m back with you and I am just finding out that she was sent home from school early, I think it’s an ear infection. You’re jinxed, man! I need to update you on this. Last year when we were here, I found out my daughter had broken her leg. Two days later I get a video from my wife of the little girl. She has a sock on one leg and a huge “can’t bend her leg” cast on the other. And my wife in the video says “Everly, what’s on your leg?” and she points at the sock and goes “Sock! Sockie!”. My wife asks her “Anything else?”, to which she replies “No” and then scoots across the floor on her butt to catch a toy. It was the cutest thing I ever saw. I believe she gets her blind optimism from me!

So she’s fine, thank you, but I just found out she has an ear infection because apparently every time I see you something has to happen to my kid.

I feel bad. Next time, Mya can run the interview and we’ll see if that helps! Onto music now, and you have a new album…

Yes! On May 26th we’ll be releasing Other People’s Greatest Hits. Other people have done all the hard work for us and if they don’t like it then it’s their problem, I guess. The only place you can get it right now is at shows. We have already released a song called “Spice Up Your Life” by the Spice Girls.

I had to look them up as I’d never heard of them before.

That’s… amazing…  Actually, I wonder which Spice Girl I am? Baby Spice? Sport Spice. Spicy Spice? That one makes sense to me. Anyway, yeah, we think people are going to love it. It’s more of a return to rock form. I personally think it’s hilarious and awesome.

How did you pick the songs you were going to to?

A very complicated process, actually. I wrote out 173 choices. We chipped away at that and it was the hardest part of the whole damn thing. That took longer than any other part of the recording process. It all started as we thought we should cover some songs on the tour and it just went from there. “We got to do this one… and this one… and we have to do this one…”. It became a load of songs and we decided we needed to do a whole album.

There was a lot of back and forth and debate cutting it down from the 173. Some of the reasons for why we did or didn’t do certain songs are so funny. We actually figured out that Beyoncé doesn’t have any music in her songs. I know I’m doing an interview with Moshville Times so I don’t know if your readers will relate! I personally think that Beyoncé is amazing. She’s unlike other pop stars as truly she doesn’t give a shit. She’s basically the punk of pop music. She releases songs without warning because she’s Queen B.

So we decided to do “Single Ladies” and we can redo the video… it’ll be amazing. But we realised that in all of her songs, she’s so good at singing… there’s no music in them. It’s just “bum bumbum bum-bum bumbum” with every so often someone goes “WAH!” and that’s it! So we sat back and wondered how we’d replicate that, we did it and it just wasn’t as good. Checkmate, Beyoncé. You win.

I did have the final say sometimes on the songs that went into the album, but I love all of the originals. All of them. We’ve got enough left over to revisit this again. We did a covers EP called Spring Break 99 before, too. People talked about it at the time and liked it so this just made sense.

Even the cover of the album is a cover, of Sgt Pepper’s. It’s loads of people who are involved with the band. The whole thing’s very silly.

So is the next project going to be the video game thing we talked about last time?

That thing just keeps coming back to me and it’s not even my fault! I need to do more songs about games.

You should do a side project with Falling in Reverse’s Ronnie Radke. One of their best songs is based on video games as well.

Yeah, “Game Over”. We’ve met them once – that was a weird day…

Do you have any more original material lined up or have all your efforts been focussed on the covers album?

This year is going to be very, very awesome for Patent Pending. It’s. Gonna be. Awesome. I hope people like this cover album. If they don’t… fine. We didn’t write it. There are so many things this year that I forget some of them. I got into some big trouble over this cover album because of a contract, and I said something I shouldn’t have said, and people found out about it.

So, I can’t talk about anything… but this year is going to be awesome!

We are going on tour in the US with Simple Plan, though. I can tell you that.

You started off in Bristol last night. Who won the crowd surfing?

We didn’t do it! We ran out of time! I jumped off the balcony, though. That should count as a win. Last night was chaos. Normally the first night of any tour is a mess. You book a smaller city so you can work through the garbage, and the equipment not working. Yesterday was the best first day of a tour ever. The crowd was insane, we played the Spice Girls song and it was hilarious. To see people start circle pits and go mental for a Spice Girls song… that was worth it.

So what are you doing on the long trips? Is Mark still beating people at FIFA?

Well this time, we’ve got a full bus when usually it’s not that full. One extra body on the bus is a lot and we have three this time. It’s very crowded and it seems that we’re just streaming the movie Armageddon rather than playing video games. There was a Tiger Woods night. But last night we got a load of candy from fans so I don’t know what everyone else was doing – I was blacking out eating candy.

There are some long drives on this tour as we had days off and there were cities we weren’t going to. So I just said “Guys, no days off. And here are some places we’re not playing yet.” So we booked them and I didn’t realise that this made things hard. But when I’m away from home I want to be playing, because then it’s like being at home just without my family.

You’re finishing off with a festival appearance…

Yeah, this thing called Teddy Rocks. It’s organised by this band called The Bottom Line. Their guitarist Tom Newton lost his brother when he was only ten years old to a rare form of bone cancer. Tom and his family started a beautiful foundation to fight children’s cancer. All the proceeds – all of it – from the festival goes to that charity. It’s amazing to see this family have this horrible thing happen to them and take it in their stride. I think this is their third year. It keeps getting bigger and it it’s so cool to be a part of it. We wanted to do it last year, but the timing didn’t work out with our touring.

Any advice for upcoming bands or musicians?

I have a bunch of advice them! One – make sure you like the people you’re in the band with. All the time you see kids starting a band with Billy because Billy owns a guitar, and he’s really good at it. But also, Billy’s a dick. So that band’s not going to work. No matter how good that kid is, if you don’t like him then don’t be in a band with him, because if things go well then you’ll have to see him forever. And you’ll hate each other. And the band will break up. And you’ll have a miserable life. Or worse, the band doesn’t break up and you hate every single day of your life.

The chances of making money doing music are so slim you probably have more chance of winning the lottery than of having a hit single. So if you’re not having fun doing this, there’s literally no point. We’re just a band who has fun doing this because we’re clearly broke!

The second thing is to learn how to do it. We spent the first four years not knowing how to do it. We refused to take lessons because “that’s not punk”. You know what would be punk? Being able to play music that people liked that would make a difference to the punk scene. So play, play, play, play, play!

Patent Pending (c) Ellissa Avart

A final question from Mya – of the two support acts, which do you prefer?

That’s incredible! Nobody’s made us start a fight on tour before! I’ll answer the question – challenge accepted! But there’s a reason for it.

Sweet Little Machine is opening the tour. They’re awesome. They opened the show in Sheffield last year and they reminded me so much of us when we were young. Awesome, awesome band. The other band on the tour are called Eternal Boy. They used to be called the Space Pimps and we’ve been playing shows together since 2003. We’ve been talking about bringing them here for five years. I like Eternal Boy better, and it’s only because I know them!

Both bands are amazing and Sweet Machine are the sweetest people, it’s not just a clever name, but we go so far back with Eternal Boy. There’s a wildcard, though. Halfway through the tour Eternal Boy have to head home and will be replaced by Boy Jumps Ship and we fucking love Boy Jumps Ship.

These two weeks? This is the best. The best.

And one final question from me. Three words to describe yourself and three words for the band?

OK, it’s going to be more than three words… “MeansWell”. Can we call that a compound word? Secondly… I want to say “forgetful”, but I’m going with “I’mSorry” – another compound! And the next one – “Happy”. I’m very, very happy. Every day. I wake up every day and I’m thankful. Everything is amazing. I don’t know when this will run out and I’m sure it will, but the last two years have been the best of my life. If I had to pick one of those words – “Happy”.

Fourth word – “Asshole”!

For the band… First word – “What?!” Second word – “Insanity!”. Third word… “MeansWell”!

Other People’s Greatest Hits is out on May 26th

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