From Long Island, New York, Patent Pending brings a new genre to the music world with their catchy hooks and infectious melodies. With Joe Ragosta (vocals), Mark Kantor (guitar), Anthony Mingoia (drums), Rob Felicetti (guitasr/vocals), Corey Devincenzo (bass), and Joshua Dicker (mystery/danger) they feature music from all genres….past and present. There are no rules and no signature sound for this band. The lyrics from the song “All-Star Hipster” use inventive ways of rhyming to poke fun at our own image of what is cool. The words, “And a Brooklyn boy with a crew-neck and fanny pack/You’re too hardcore/you’re too pop-punk/Play some dub-step baby so I can shake my junk” had me laughing, but also challenging my own attitudes about other music genres. I have determined that there is no current genre that adequately describes Patent Pending, because they encompass more than just a category.
Artists should do what they do best. Sticking to the tried-and-true or what is commercially successful is not what music is all about for Patent Pending. Ragosta says, “In this time of such great creativity, where YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and all this media puts you in someone’s living room at all hours of the day, why would you just give them something they already saw? The problem is no one is willing to take a chance. What we need to do as musicians is be creative.” Ragosta believes that artists can learn a valuable lesson from YouTubers who use their collective creativity to make videos on a wide range of subjects. The fact is that many YouTube users are selling out venues that bands are getting locked out of. Musicians who pursue innovations in music will always be more successful than those who do not.
Being a musician is hard work. Gone are the days of being discovered in a neighborhood drugstore and catapulting to super-stardom. The truth is that today’s artists must do most of the jobs that record companies did in the past. The music industry is changing, struggling to keep afloat when technology provides new ways to experience music every day. Record labels search social media statistics before they will even listen to a new band. They expect the artists to bring a ready-made fan base with them. The push to sell records is arbitrary, when mainstream consumers can download individual songs or see music videos for free. Ragosta believes the key lies in attendance at the live performances. He explains, “It’s about getting people to come to your show. The venue still gives you money and you do well. There’s the problem of ticket sales, where kids have to sell tickets to open shows now. Essentially you have to be a door-to-door salesman to be in a band.” A band will only be signed to a record label if they have a proven track record in ticket sales and a solid fan base, jobs they must do for themselves.
Good music will always evoke an emotional response. Still, I did not expect to feel such a myriad of moods during their show. Ragosta and bandmates are consummate showmen. Simply put, the stage show is amazing. In 45 minutes there was comedy, choreographed dancing (with instruments), call-and-response, and a tutorial on the proper way to curtsy! By far, the audience favorite was “The Whiskey. The Liar. The Thief” which extolls the pitfalls of falling in love under the influence. The lyrics are relatable, “He never made it on a spoke/She only borrowed from the truth/They were the greatest match that Hell had ever seen” as well as a cautionary tale about relationships forged from drunken stupors. However, it was the chorus, “You never think you’ll find love drowning sorrows at the pub/With Whiskey, and Liars, and Thieves!” which was sung by the audience that shook the floor and rattled the windows. The most touching moment was when Ragosta explained to the audience that his very pregnant wife had been experiencing a difficult day, picked up his cellphone, and had the entire crowd say ‘Hello’ to her before an acoustic rendition of “Classic You”.
Patent Pending is currently finishing a new music video that promises exciting and surprising elements by portraying The Mario Brothers as a fledgling band of musicians on their way up. Their newest release, Brighter, is a full-length collection that I have had on replay since the show. From the first note to the last, I am instantly reminded of the live performance and how much fun it was to be a part of the Patent Pending stage show, with Ragosta as the director. But what genre best describes Patent Pending? None, so I will just call them one of my favorites.